Whether you are new to the slopes or you’re an old hand, chances are good that at some point you will want and need to use the ski lift. At first glance, that might not seem like much of a challenge. After all, all you do is drop your rear end on a bench and let it carry you up the mountain, right? Well, sort of. The truth is that people get hurt using ski lifts. Because of this, it’s important for you to know how to correctly use a ski lift. Knowing what to do and how to do it helps reduce the chance of user error that could potentially get you hurt on your vacation.
Most beginning skiers look at lifts with a great deal of trepidation. After all, who hasn’t heard a story or two—or more—about those who have either been hurt or ended up with bruised (not to mention cold and wet) rear-ends after using the lifts? It doesn’t have to be this way. To easily prevent problems like this, all you need is to pay attention to what you are doing and respond accordingly.
Choosing the Right Lift
The first thing you need to do is to catch the right lift for the part of the mountain you want to be on. This starts inside the lodge, where you can get plenty of information about what you want to do. Most resorts have multiple lifts that take skiers and snowboarders to different points on the mountain, so you need to know which one goes where you also want to go. Resorts often help by clearly identifying their runs, often by number or color to help. For example, if you are headed to the beginner slopes, identified as “blue,” don’t take the ski lift that is marked “red” unless you have your travel health insurance paid up.
Getting On the Ski Lift
When you approach the lift you want on, make sure your ski bindings or snowboard bindings are secured to your boots, but do not put your hands through the straps of your poles. Next, get in line to use the ski lift. If you are there on a busy day, chances are good that you will be there for a while, but you will probably have plenty of people to talk to. Next, when it’s your turn, glide your way to the lifting area, keeping your poles close to you.
Once you get to the staging area, there will be a clearly marked spot at which you need to do one thing: stop. Before the chair arrives, you should clearly identify who you will be riding with. You also need to determine which position on the lift you will be riding in, whether on the left, the right, or in the middle. If you will be on the left, put both of your poles in your right hand, and look over your right shoulder, and do the opposite if you’ll be sitting on the right. If you will be in the middle, do it either way. Before the lift arrives, you will want to bend your knees slightly because the lift will hit you at your knees.
Riding the Lift
When your lift arrives, you will want to reach out to it with your free hand, steady yourself, then sit down. Pull down the metal bar to secure yourself just like a seat belt. You are on your way. On your way up to the top, watch for the signs. These will keep you posted on how far you are from the top as well as things to watch for while you are on the slopes.
Getting Off the Ski Lift
When you have gotten to the top, you will see signs that will tell you when you get off. Unlatch the metal bar across you and push it up to the side. Make sure that you gather all of your skiing gear or snowboarding gear and anything loose, such as scarves, are free of the equipment.
Now point the tips of your skis upward and scoot forward to get off The lift will give you a slight push to start you on your way. Do not stop at the beginning because you will probably cause those behind you to collide with you. If you need to stop to get everything together, get out of the way, then stop.
Now that you know how to ride a ski lift, you’re ready to go. Have fun on the slopes!