Every lift in Summit County that I can think of has a bar on it (though I'm not as familiar with Copper) - I'm pretty sure there's even a bar on the pali chair at A-Basin (I know there is on the 6 and E at breck). I much prefer a ride with the bar up - and, believe it or not, I'm actually pretty scared of heights. For some reason (probably growing up riding chairs), lifts don't scare me - every other height on God's green earth does.
But yeah, it is definitely a collision of cultures. I'm generally suprised when folks put the bar down - ESPECIALLY if there's no foot rest on the thing. Why in the world would you lower the bar except to gain the benefit of the foot rest? Of course, even with a foot rest, I prefer the bar up, and every other person I know who grew up skiing out here feels the same way. Heck, growing up, we thought the reason they installed long triple chairs was so that we could ride them singly, & lie down and nap for a few.
Besides, do you all know how much more a pain the rear it is to shove your poles under your leg so that you have both hands free to eat your sandwich when some dork is putting down the bar? Putting the bar down (especially if it has foot rests on it) nearly makes it impossible to stow your poles in such a way as to free both hands so you can eat your lunch. Of course, since so few easterners would even consider eating on the lift to get more turns in, I guess this objection is a non-issue.
Ok, I'm going to run away from that comment now