Whether you’re a skier or snowboarder, a seasoned shredder or just getting into the sport, lift safety is an important part of the ski resort experience. Today we’re going to tackle some tips on using the chairlifts.
Riding a chairlift is just one of the amazing parts of visiting a ski area, but it is essential to know about loading and unloading safely. Here are some tips:

• Take a moment to look and watch the flow and routine of each lift you use.
• Don’t be afraid to ask the lift operator for assistance or to slow the chair down, if needed.
• Put your cellphone down while loading the lift.
• Pause at the “Wait Here” sign until a chair swings by.
• Follow the chair out.
• Stop with your feet over the “Load Here” sign.
• Look over your shoulder to spot the chair as it comes around.
• Once everyone is loaded, let people know you are lowering the bar and do it slowly.

While on the Lift
• No horseplay, no throwing snowballs, and no clicking skis together to drop snow off them. It’s important for your safety and the safety of other guests.
• Keep your back against the back of the chair and remind small children to do the same.
• If you drop something, let it fall. Any dropped item can be picked up later. If you are not confident to ski the terrain below the lift to retrieve the item or if the terrain is not open, ask the lift operator at the top to call Ski Patrol for assistance or call 970-871-5911.
• Sit back, relax and enjoy the view!

• Let others know when you are raising the bar.
• Check for loose clothing or anything that might get snagged.
• As you approach the unload ramp, raise the front of your skis or board.
• Stand up at the “Unload Here” sign.
• Ski/ride in a straight line to clear the unloading area and ramp. The terrain will naturally slow you down once away from the lift.

Ski-Specific Tips
• Take your hands out of the pole straps before getting to the front of the lift line.
• When unloading, hold your poles in one hand. Place your free hand on the seat to help you stand up and push away from the lift.
• When unloading, ski straight ahead will parallel skis. Don’t snow plow, or the tails of your skis might get caught on the person next to you.

Snowboard-Specific Tips
• Before entering the lift line, unstrap your back foot.
• Fold your straps and binding highback down toward the board before you get to the front of the line.
• Keep sitting slightly sideways with your snowboard pointing uphill until the lift takes off.
• At the top of the lift, turn sideways and point your board straight toward the ramp as you approach the unload area.

As with many things in life, they don’t always go as planned. Just ask me about the time I tried to ride a lift! Here are some helpful tips for when things don’t go according to plan:

Falling when loading or unloading
• When you fall down, stay down until the lift stops and the attendant comes to help you. This can be embarrassing, but safety is the most important thing here. It can take some distance for the lift to stop completely, so keep your head down until the lift operator instructs you to move.
• When unloading, it is also important that you don’t stay seated on the chair past the “Unload Here” sign. The ground quickly drops away, and the chair will bring you back into the air. If you find yourself not ready to get off or for some reason can’t, stay on the chair and the safety gate will be tripped by your feet and stop the lift. The chairlifts do not reverse, so wait until the lift operator comes over to help you.
• Again, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance when loading a chairlift. Requesting a slowdown is also a welcomed request.

The Steamboat SnowSports School is a great option for those skiers and riders who might need a little extra help with riding lifts, some tips on improving skiing and snowboarding skills, or some guidance around the resort. For information on booking a lesson, call 800-299-5017 or email snowsportsschool@steamboat.com.

Keep it safe, and we’ll see you on the slopes!



Bear, Steamboat Resort’s safety dog

Bear’s Sniffin’ Out Safety blog archive

Find more tips at Steamboat.com/safety

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