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T-Bar Tales

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
This weekend we skied two beautiful, sunny days at Breckenridge. I had a no-falls weekend going and then.....

For those of you who don't know, the top of Peak 8 at Breck is all black-diamond and double-black terrain, with only one blue run. To keep away the riff-raff, that terrain is served only by an old 2-person T-bar. Beginning skiers and even advanced snow-boarders fall off regularly, providing considerable amusement to those waiting in the queue. Standing in line, I told my son and wife to ride together, and I'd ride with the middle-aged skier in line alone ahead of me. Talking with him, as we shuffled forward, he enthusiastically told me he'd just taken his first run (cue mental alarm bells). "First run of the day, or first run of your life," I asked? "Oh, first run here," he said, "this part of the mountain," meaning the T-bar, explaining that he's from Maryland, and this is much more impressive skiing than they have back home. Knowing that, if he fell off, he'd take me with him, I quickly considered sending him on his own. (Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!) But then, against my better judgment, I decided to be nice to a visitor and ride with him anyway. Why do I do these things? Anyway, just ahead of us, two boarders got onto the T-bar, and within ten feet one of them fell off, rolling out of our path. The other boarder stayed on his feet, and continued on up, but hanging onto the bar by his arms, rather than riding leaning against it. My new ski-buddy did fine as we got the bar organized and took off, and I commented to him that boarders falling off was pretty typical, and I complimented him that (as we were now lurching forwards and up) that already successfully passed the first big hurdle, but I warned him that the boarder hanging on ahead of us was pretty precarious, and to watch out as he was likely to fall off. So far, so good, but over the next few hundred feet, my buddy's skis began to wander, to the left, to the right, crossing mine, and I became increasingly concerned. Trying to steady his nerves, I pointed ahead to a steep left dog-leg of the lift, noting that a lot of boarders fell off there (I didn't mention that he might, too), suggesting that he be ready to avoid them if that happened. And of course, a boarder about five bars ahead of us did fall off. Then, to my amazement, that boarder popped back to his feet and grabbed the empty left half of the bar ahead of us, almost pulling off the boarder who occupied the other side. I've never seen anything like that before, in over 40 years of skiing, and the two of them then rode, well dragged, really, for the next 750 feet or so, hanging onto the T-bar at arms' length, struggling to keep their feet. I again warned my new buddy to be alert, as one or the other (or both) boarder was almost sure to fall off eventually. My friend didn't seem too happy about this, as he was focusing (unsuccessfully) on trying to keep his own skis in line, and his abilities in obstacle avoidance seemed highly suspect. Anyway, about 100 feet from the top, the mountain steepens again, and it was there that disaster finally struck. The boarder to the left, the one who'd fallen and then grabbed the passing T-bar, fell off again, this time rolling right into the track ahead of us. At that point, my lift-buddy got totally flustered. His skis flew left, right, up, and finally landed crosswise across the track, and he went down, grabbing me and taking me down with him. Now, I haven't fallen off a ski lift in four decades (maybe never; I'm not really sure), and here I go, down on my ass! A passing ski patroller, one bar back, has seen the whole thing and asks if I'm OK, as I'm standing dusting myself off grumbling obscenities. My wife and son glide past, laughing hysterically, as my buddy and the boarder are picking themselves, apologizing for knocking me down. (How does a snowboarder say hello? "Sorry, dude.") So, what can I say? They didn't mean to knock me down. They both wanted to get to the top (p.s. there was now no way for any of us to get to the top). And at least they gave me a good story, right?
post #2 of 14
LOL! Great story! I'm amazed you guys made it that far. I was expecting a tale about him trying to "sit" on the bar and taking you both out during the loading process.
post #3 of 14
LOL! I was doing the same thing last week, just amazed at how many people fell off. This was my first time riding a T-bar, and while a little unnerving at first it was not that hard, except for when it got a little windy up there and couldn't see 2 feet in front of me.
post #4 of 14
And this guy, who couldn't keep his skis straight on a T-Bar, expected to be able to ski down Peak 8!!! RIGHT....
post #5 of 14
I have been skiing a long time too. Many of the areas I grew up skiing at had T-bars. I can feel your pain. I don't think I have ever seen a boarder ride one though, but have seen many a skier fall off.

I got wacked across the bridge of the nose by a errantly swinging bar at the dismount area once.

BTW how was the skiing?
post #6 of 14
Awesome story. and I bet there are a few more. Last March This loner was loading in front of us, and the lifty was trying to explain simething to him. But it didn,t look like he was understanding it . I believe that he was european by his accent. Anyways about 20ft outta the gate, starting up the hill. He swings that big bar aroud and tries to stick it between his legs. (maybe he thought he could do it like the disc's). Well he made it about 5 feet after that point and lost it.

It is true too about that last 100' especially on a windy day. You encounter total blindness, plus your face being sand-blasted when you hit that last lip.
post #7 of 14
Ok, here's may best Tbar tale. About 15 years ago my wife and I do a trip to NZ to ski. On the first day we are at Mt Hutt which I've come to learn is also called Mt Shut for it's bad weather. Well, it's open but visibility is about 30 feet. We are together on a tbar and are near the top. It's hard to see much but I can make out the last tower and I'm figuring someplace just short of the tower is the the place to get off. Now for some reason the ski area has decided they want people to get off about 100 feet earlier than what I'm thinking. To get their point across they've piled up a huge mound of snow right in the track. I'm talking a 15 foot/side cube of snow. Which, of course, in the conditions at the time is completely invisible. So we're merrily going along and then bang, our skis go vertical up the side of the snow mound. I pull hard on the bar and actually make it up to the top of the mound where I quickly dump the bar. After that we just sort of crash over each other down the steep backside into a pile at the bottom. Style points zero.
post #8 of 14
A thread like this ought to have a photo...

You can see the turn to the left off in the distance.

I got so used to being on the right side, that the one time I was on the other side, I still looked over the wrong shoulder as we were loading. Realized what was wrong as we started to move...

The places where blow-ups happen seem to be either a) right away (or as long as the rider can hold on) or b) the last steep bit. Surprisingly few get thrown by the left turn.
post #9 of 14

T Bar

Good/bad story.

All little T bar people should go ride the 5 person/expert hill/no easy way down lift at Portillo chile. Rokka Jac listed in Ski Mag this year as one of the Must Do thing you should do before you die.

Picture. 5 skiers (boarders are forbidden to even try) in line and each has there own platter on the same bar. The lift starts up and you proceed away from the loading area at T bar speed (slow) as you clear the level area the lift guy shifts gears and you are launched up an expert hill at about 22 MPH (lst time feels like 40), first you better have your skis in track and under control and 2nd you better no infringe on the person or persons beside you or you'll take all 5 down.

So youre up on the top and ready to unload (almost) in the unloading area. Whoops there is no unloading area so you stop on the side of the hill, pretty damn steep and then ................. Well if you know-and thats the trick- the two outside people peel off to the side and backward simultaeously, then the next 2. That leave the lone, middle guy/gal holding the 5 person bar and his/her correct unloading is to: throw the damn thing up and uphill and go backwards into a 180 and down the hill.

Raspritz - Somehow I don't think your friend on the T bar would have made this. It would have been funny to watch however.

Oh year a couple year ago Skiing Mag listed the Rokka Jack as the most DARING/FUN/THRILLING Rides in surface lifts worldwide. I concur. Almost more fun riding up than skiing down.:
post #10 of 14
I am looking forward to many rides up that T-Bar this Saturday and Sunday.

As a kid we used to ski at Quadna, a small resort in Minnesota. They had T-bars that had metal telescoping poles rather than a cable to the bar. Even with two of us riding, we wouldn't weigh enough to keep the bar on the ground. Imagine the t-bar lifting you off the ground and you just hope that it sets you back down somewhat straight.
post #11 of 14
I was riding up the t-bar on Sunday when I saw the T-bar pile up. Not sure how it happened but there were about 5 skiers piled up in the middle of the t-bar path. One of the skiers' skis slid most of the way down.

There was a boarder whining at the top about how he fell off and no one would let him back in line. I think that is one of the t-bar rules. If you fall off, you go to the back of the line.
post #12 of 14
The tail of my jacket got caught on one of the horizontal bars and almost ripped off when I got to the top. It picked me up off the ground. Could have been real bad.
post #13 of 14
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post
There was a boarder whining at the top about how he fell off and no one would let him back in line. I think that is one of the t-bar rules. If you fall off, you go to the back of the line.
Usually on that T-bar, if someone bites it right off the bat they get a second chance without waiting through the line. A second screw-up gets you a ticket to the back of the line
post #14 of 14
Good story! Glad that you didn't get hurt. The few times that I've been on that T-bar I too have enjoyed the cheap entertainment.

For you fortunate people who ski a lot it's just another one of things that keeps you from getting bored!

Any day on skis is a good day!
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