Ski Lift Tips and Etiquette for Beginners

chairlift mammoth

You rent your ski or snowboard gear. You ride the magic carpet and t-bar lift on the bunny hill while taking lessons until you’re confident that you can ride down the bigger slopes. You decide that you’re ready for the real deal and slide over to the nearest ski lift.

Then, you realize that you have no idea how to ride a ski lift.

This is a scenario many beginners have found themselves in, and if they’ve already wrapped up their lessons then they could end up winging their first ski lift ride. The team here at ASO Mammoth doesn’t want that to happen to anyone, so we’ve listed the important things to know about riding a ski lift below. Even if you’re an experienced skier or snowboarder, we’ve included etiquette tips that everyone on the mountain should already be following. Check it out!

 Pay Attention in Line

 The lift line is a great place to send out a text, have a snack, or chat with friends, but that doesn’t mean you can forget that you’re on a ski mountain. For example, a rider who is too focused on their phone may move forward in line but not notice that their board is about to clip someone’s new set of skis until it is too late, or a skier may get to the front of the line and decide to wait for a friend at the back and cause a traffic jam as skiers and snowboarders try to get around them in the confined space.

Pay attention in line so you don’t make the wait any longer than it needs to be.

 Put Beginners on the Outside of the Chair

 Once you’re getting on the lift, make sure anyone who is nervous about getting off is on the far side, or opposite of the lift and its poles, of the chair.

One of the biggest dangers when unloading the chair is getting pushed over or hit by the chair as it swings around. If you’re on the far side of the lift, then you have more time to get away from the chair before it arcs back around down the mountain. People on the outside of the chair also have more room to ride away and less chance of bumping into other riders as they dismount.

 Ask Before You Lower the Bar

 Once you’re on the lift and rising higher off the ground, you may immediately want to lower the safety bar to secure yourself in the chair. However, if you don’t check with everyone else on the chair beforehand you could hit their head with the bar, knock their board with a footrest, or bring the bar down on their arm or hand.

Always make everyone on the lift aware before you lower the safety bar.

 Be Considerate on the Lift

 Even though you’re riding through open air on a ski lift, you should treat it as if you’re riding inside an elevator since the other people on the lift are stuck in a small space next to you. For example, always ask the other riders if it’s ok for you to smoke on the chair before you do.

 Communicate When Exiting

 When it comes time to leave the chair, make sure everyone knows which direction they are going in to avoid collisions. If you feel like you’re going to fall while disembarking, fight the temptation to grab onto or push off of the other riders to avoid pileups. If you do fall, get away from the lift ramp as quickly as possible so you do not get hit by other riders leaving the chair behind you.

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