The lift was installed in 1948, and at the time it was the longest single span lift in the United States. It was also the first to combine T-bars and chairs on one lift. Following the 1948-1949 ski season the chairs were only used for summer sightseers. Summer lift operation continued until 1956. While the terrain off the top of Emerald Mountain was very steep, (and very thick with trees) it was also very flat in places. Skiers had a hard time getting up the backside of Howelsen Hill. For this reason, the Emerald Mountain chair was discontinued and the T-bar lift was used to take skiers to the top of Howelsen Hill.