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How NOT to Get off a Chairlift

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
While many people are afraid of injuries on the slopes, some of the most common injuries happen while loading and unloading the chairlift. So here's an article with advice about loading a lift, with a video about how NOT to do it!

How NOT to get off a lift!

post #2 of 23
What you also need to mention is to move away from that area.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Phil! I added that in as an edit!
post #4 of 23
I miss the montages of chair lift incidents that used to be in every Warren Miller movie.
post #5 of 23
It moves slower than a turtle, and it holds SIX people, for goodness sakes!
Quoted from your article. I'm not sure if this chairlift is regularly loaded to capacity (i.e., do they really put six people on a beginner chairlift?), but if they do, it seems like a recipe for disaster. During my brief teaching career, I'd never put more then 3 beginners on a quad, or 2 people on a triple. i.e., give them some maneuvering room when they get off.

Also, I find the really slow moving chairs to be harder to get off of then the moderate-speed ones. I like that little push you get from the chair.
post #6 of 23
I have as much trouble getting out of a gondola or tram.
post #7 of 23
This reminds me of another thread... oh yeah!

Kirkwood Presidents Day Madness (pics)
Saturday February 17 at Kirkwood yielded blue skies, mild temperatures and nice snow conditions. People on this board often ask, what does it really mean to be a "gaper". Well, I thought I would post myself for a few minutes, camera in hand at the top of Lift 11 to try to give this term meaning...

It starts slowly

And gradually gets more interesting

It eventually turns into full scale flailing

And as the last of the casualties pick themselves up, a new batch quickly arrives to take their place.

After the morning entertainment, we proceeded to the back-side lifts and enjoyed some high-speed fun runs on the groomers. Conditions were fast, especially with our fresh wax courtesy of Maplus (Alpinord). I'm pretty casual about tuning, and have never felt such glide as we had from the liquid wax applied before we left the car. Easy to use and just amazing results.
post #8 of 23
A tribute to and a big hats off to:

All of the instructors who delete this section from the intro lesson ... you know who you are ..

And, of course the idiots who fail to take a lesson.
post #9 of 23
Lesson 2: How to ride a T-Bar and Poma.
post #10 of 23
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
What you also need to mention is to move away from that area.
That's the cell phone area. You stop there to make a call.
post #11 of 23
I can't remember ever having any trouble getting off a chair lift, but I've made some pretty klutzy moves getting on the chair.
post #12 of 23
Only time I've had trouble is other people getting caught on me or running into me.
post #13 of 23
Newbies don't know what to do with their poles, suggestions there could help too.
post #14 of 23
I strongly recommend that instructors make sure the newbies are on the outside end of the chair as it turns getting on so they will also be outside at the top. It is harder to get on from the inside cause you have to get in to position quicker as the chair swings around. It is also harder to exit from the inside cause you kind of have to let the others get off first and you have less time to make your move.

Make sense?
post #15 of 23
Inexperienced snowboarders almost always fall toward their unattached foot/ leg. If you are a skier, and loading with a boarder, try to be on their stance leg side. This isn't always possible as the natural tendency of a new boarder is to choose the outside seating position, which is why it seems they usually take out everyone on the chair when they go down.
post #16 of 23
Brilliant video.

I've wiped out like that a few times... as a boarder I find chair lifts very tricky. But I can see how the advice here would be helpful.
post #17 of 23
This reminds me of a couple stories:

The first time I rode a chair lift was when I was nine years old. It was the final lesson of my never-ever session, so it was my sixth time on skis, I guess. The instructor got adults to ride with all of the other kids, and i was going to ride with him, but as the chair came around, and I scuttled out into position, he stepped out of his ski somehow, and I ended up getting on the outside seat of the chair by myself.

At Ski Bowl, the lower lift off loads onto a ramp that is probably twenty feet high, and has a pretty steep pitch as off ramps go, and there was no one to explain to me how to get off of the thing; I didn't think to just stand up when my skis were on the snow, and suddenly the snow dropped away again, and was getting further and further below me. Coincidentally my parents my brother older sister waiting/talking near the top of the lift as my brother was in my lesson and had to wait for the instructor anyway/ When they saw me lifting off the ground, they all started shouting directions at the same time. I decided, about the time my skis weref ive or six feet off of the snow, that I didn't want to go around the bullwheel, as I saw the chairs crashing against the track, and figured I'd get throw off, so I jumped off from about eight feet up, and landed on a heap. My folks commended me on how quickly I scrambled out of the way before the people two chairs behind me came down the ramp. My brother, who had ridden the lift without incident proceeded to fall and break his leg half way down the run. What a day!


Last season, on one of the many great powder days we had, I had ridden the first chair of the day, only to find that they hadn't opened the upper lift, due to the Patrol still bombing the cliffs for avy control. So myself and a couple others decided to do our own bombing, as in bombing down Grizzly at high speed to try to get back up before they opened the upper chair.

When we got back up, we found that the upper chair was opened, and in the typical powder day frenzy prepared to race over to the top lift to get to the goods but quick. I was riding the chair with a guy who is a friendly acquaintance, who I mostly know from the competition for the first chair on powder days. He is a sort of humorless sort, kind of aggressive, and has the sort of sense of entitlement that goes with having had a season pass for forty years or so.

What we found when we hit the ramp was a family of five snowboarders with their boards end to end forming a semicircular wall across the ramp about fifteen feet from the unload point. I was able to swing wide around the right side of them, and if he'd stopped, and made a right angle turn, he could have done the same on the other side, though it was further around that way.

I knew he wouldn't want to be held up and fall behind me on this powder day, as he's very competitive. There was a gap of about 15" between two of the boards, and I could feel his anger as he charged for it, grumbling some half curse about snowboarders (which he has more than a little contempt for snowborarders, as many of the old guard here do), with an "I'm gonna show them and bust their blockade" attitude.

As I was beginning to skate to get my speed up for the road across to the other lift I heard the sound of his boot getting hooked on one of the boards, and turned to see him go down, grunting and cursing, in a heap. I skated away laughing. Sorry bout the bad luck, no friends on a powder day.
post #18 of 23
I was reading this thread, and wondered if resorts had done away with the 'catch nets' underneath the lift exit ramps.

I haven't seen the nets recently.

I still remember my first lift ride at Winterplace....two novice skiers had fallen into the netting and were wriggling around like fish.

Welcome to WV...
post #19 of 23
My first time out was just a few days ago and i watched a bunch of youtube instructional vids (youtube can teach you anything..lol) and one of them was on the lifts so i was alright initially when i moved up to the more difficult section 3/4 ways up the mtn the chair lift unload point was a little low so when you go across it your skiis are not on the ground so you have to kinda jump for it. i realized this a little bit late and instead of jumping off and having a 6 inch drop i kinda had a 16" drop or so. you all know whats next trevor face plants all the way down the hill. Valuable lesson, But every time after that you can bet your ass i was sitting on the very edge of the seat waiting for the right moment.
post #20 of 23
I tell my first-time students

1--stand all the way up at the get-off marker
2--always, always, always, always press against the front of your boots
3--get out of the unload area. If you fall, scoot out of the way, then stand up.
post #21 of 23
If you're riding a snowboard, don't side-slip down the exit ramp, you'll take everyone out with you.
post #22 of 23
You've never really "experienced" a chairlift until you have to get on and off of it with a Mono-ski! And I'm not talking about just one ski on one leg standing, I'm talking about a sit-ski with one ski!

It's one thing to just have to sit when the chair approaches and stand when you get off, but when you have to push yourself up and back with your arms so that your sit-ski goes in the chair properly, it's really tough... and you better hope you can get back up if you fall (not always possible!)

I teach these guys and they're either fearless of the chair or mortified of them (I'd say I can't blame the ones who are!)
post #23 of 23
The aerial ropeway standard sets maximum speeds for chairlifts that get lower as the number of seats increases.

As someone who has gotten hit in the head by a chair coming around the bullwheel, I wonder if that change in speed by number of seats has something to do with how fast the outer part of the chair is moving when it rounds the bullwheel.
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