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post #1 of 75
Thread Starter 
Now that I have everyones attention, the post is not exactly as advertised in the subject line.

I'm refering to the swingdown safety bars on chairlifts with the footrest attached. Almost every chair is equiped with one and in some states they are mandated by law.

My question (a little survey) is how many of you use them? I'll save my comments and observations for later.
post #2 of 75
Always. at my age my knees need all the rest they can get. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #3 of 75
I was always used to putting the bar down in Europe, but the first time I did it in North America, people looked at me like I was crazy.
My preference is to put the bar down, but I can live with it up. I would ask when I get on the lift now.

BTW, as I said, people looked at me like I was crazy. Those that know me, know that I am.

post #4 of 75
I always use the bar.
I like to lean over it to adjust my boots and rest my feet on the footrest.
post #5 of 75
sure I use the bar, figure it was put there for a very good reason...our safety, and its nice to rest on too.
post #6 of 75
If there is one, which is not often in CA, I use it. It's nice to rest your feet and adjust your boots.
post #7 of 75
No. I never think about them, except when some person grabs it and yanks it down right after everyone loads onto the chair and WHAM I get conked on my head. This is why I wear a helmet.

Note: if you use them let people know you are lowering it before you crack their skulls.
post #8 of 75
I use the bar, especially when I am skiing with a day pack, since that puts you farther forward on the chair- it is nice to have something to lean on. I also prefer not having the weight of my skis and boots hanging down on a long chair ride (and on a long day!). I don't understand why people would object to it- why DON'T people like to use the bar/ footrest?
post #9 of 75
I always use the bar if I can't see the unloading point at the end of the lift by the time I get settled in. They sure do save a lot of energy, and the rest on the legs makes the ride something that I look forward to!! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #10 of 75
we ain't got none at my two reg'lar places, becuzn we dont see need for'm on our hosses neither

sissybars, thets whut they iz
post #11 of 75
I use the bar if there is a leg rest, otherwise no.
post #12 of 75
Last year two things happened.....

MAJOR wind gust from behind that would have knocked us off that slippery plastic.

Two FAT BOYS, very heavy duty types started bouncing and caused the whole line to osccilate ..... up and down ....

But I NEVER put my edges on a footrest ..... I can hear my skis scream any time I get the urge......... :
post #13 of 75
I'm with Astrochimp, I always get hit in the head by people bringing down the bar and not warning me. It may have to do with being 6'3" but if I did not wear a helmet I think I would have been knocked out cold a couple of times. I usually do not use the bar when I ride the lift unless some one else brings it down.
post #14 of 75
From my experience (only in Europe) everybody always puts the bar down. I lower it slowly and look to see if all are ready before lowering it below head height.

I'm amazed that this is not done over the pond. I thought you were more safety conscious and somebody would make sure it is done if only not to get sued. Haven't people been thrown off chair lifts that have stopped abruptly?

post #15 of 75
My favorite ski area does not have any bars on the lifts that I ride, something about modern stuff kind of freaks them out. I kind of dig it that way.

When it comes to the idiot bar, whatever, if they are there, and the people want to use them, I don't care, but rarely am I the one to reach for it. I do like the areas that I have never skied that put trail maps on the bars, but I wish that they would mount them upside down. Please people, warn me when you are about to bring it down.

I like to lean forward on the lift, and the bar kind of keeps me in my place. I'd never sit on the edge of a 5 story building and lean over, but something about a chairlift...

I had a friend that thought it would be a good idea to stand on the foot rest and lean against the bar one afternoon after a few beers to relieve himself off the lift. Of course, we all dared him, thought it would be funny. Well, it was funny because the wind didn't agree, and it was really funny watching him ski the rest of the day soaked in his own urine! He almost started a chain reaction of people peeing themselves laughing at him.

Speaking of bars, I really like the Mangy Moose for apres ski beverages and nachos! The tram deck at Snowbird is great as well!
post #16 of 75
It is a law in New York, that if the chair has them, you must use them, and is enforced at our area. Not using them following a warning can end up in forfeiture of your skiing priviliges.

Now, the biggest reason for using them is so your children and family members don't fall out and seriously injure themselves or others, which has happened quite a few times. It's not a pretty sight taking care of a 10 year old that has fallen 40 feet to a hard packed icy slope.

I know a lot of chairs out West don't have "lift Restraint bars" and a lot of people don't use them anyway, but I do when they are there. Why? I've seen the down side of not using them.

My philosiphy, why take the chance? If you want to fall out and break your fool kneck? So be it. If you are riding with children, protect them and pull the bar down. Thanks.
post #17 of 75
If the bar has leg rest, YES love to give those knees an unloaded rest. But I usually am proactive. I announce "Bar Down" before waiting a second or two and pulling it down. And about two towers before the top "Clear Bar" and let everyone get their skis clear before lifting. I also try and do this with skiiers/boarders. Something I learned from cycling. If I am passing, I usually announce on what side.
post #18 of 75
Most lifts I've been on do not have bars with foot rests - if they did I'd definitley use them.
Yes, people here do tend not to use the bars - although I can think of no good reason not to.
post #19 of 75
I was just wondering about this. I always remembered the chairs having bars with foot rests, I usually used them (the bar and the rest), but never really cared one way or the other. However, all the lifts I've been on this season have have had a bar, but no foot rest, as I get older, having my skis and boots dangling puts uncomfortable pressure on my knees, I'm definitely missing the foot rest, don't really care much about the bar.
post #20 of 75
I never use 'em. I've skied in some nasty weather all along the west coast (i.e. conditions that lead to bouncy chairs) and have always felt safe. Hell, I like it! I wonder whether or not the lift chairs are made wider these days. Can any of you "old timers" comment on this?
post #21 of 75
i generally use them to rest my knees and i always warn those on the chair "bar down". the only exception was last friday i got on a quad with three teenage punk boarder rats who seem to have replaced every noun, adjective and verb with "FU&%ING", and clouded my clean air with cheap cigarette smoke. i didn't put the bar down in hopes one of them would fall off.
post #22 of 75
Thread Starter 
Looks like the majority either use the bar or would use it if available. Now my reasons for asking.

First of all, as I grew up skiing in Colorado in the 50s and 60s there were not any chairs with safety bars. When they began to show up we tended not to use them for no particular reason. When skiing in Quebec back in the early 80s I refused to put the bar down and a French Canadian on the chair told me I could break my own neck if I wanted to but the bar was coming down. He was right.

My main reason is that a chairlift is a big piece of mechanical equipment and, as such, is prone to failure and accidents. I could quote several incidents over the years of people being thrown out of chairs that were well documented or I witnessed myself but I'll not bore you. Lars obviously is in a position to give meaningful data. And most of those incidents were on older slow lifts. With todays high speed lifts the failures may be less frequent but probably catastrophic when they occure. I prefer to take the risks I take while skiing instead of while sitting on a lift.

One of my pet-peeves is to see instructors with small children NOT using the bars. If one of their small charges were to accidentally fall out of the chair would the instructor be liable or the ski area?

If an individual is injured in a lift accident (say the bullwheel breaks loose causing 75 foot oscillations in the cable throwing people out of the chairs at the TOP of the oscillation as happened at Keystone in the late '70s) and a safety bar was on the chair but not being used, how much liability rests with the ski area? How much with the individuals who ignored the availability of safety equipment?

Obviously there is also a lot of "bar etiquette" also being discussed. It's downright stupid to hit someone with the bar going either down or up. Although I almost always insist on putting the bar down it is for the bar not the footrest. I bagan resting a foot on the footrest a couple of years ago when someone decided to slam the bar up and hit me in the chin.

As far as bars go I always liked the sun deck at Donavans in the spring, followed closely by ANY bar with a sun deck in the spring.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 14, 2002 01:39 PM: Message edited 1 time, by PowderJunkie ]</font>
post #23 of 75
If I can, I try to line up for the chair so I sit on one side or the other. Where there is a bar, I try to hold it up until everyone says they're ready for it to come down. There's only one ski area around here with bars on most of its lifts, and the instructors there are required to lower the bar during lessons. But they may leave the bar up if they're free skiing.

I really don't like the bars except when the chairs are icy, but I'll never forget the time I was riding a lift at Alpine Valley, CA, that had a huge distance between towers and when the lift stopped, the chair rose up about 20-30 feet and dropped about 50 feet and then oscillated between the two range limits. Nearly threw me out. That's one chair that SHOULD have had a bar and a sign requiring the bar's use.
post #24 of 75
Sometimes I like to rest my legs on the footrest, and sometimes I don't. But it's nice to have the option.

And I still remember taking the Sugarloaf lift at Alta in early December -- directly into a 40-mph wind. The chair was bouncing up and down and was actually pointed down at times! I had to hold on to the back of the chair to prevent me from sliding out! At that moment, I was praying to be magically transported to a chair, ANY chair back east with a proper safety bar, powder be damned.

I think people who claim that they can't stand putting the bar down are engaging in faux-machismo.
post #25 of 75
as an instructor, we are now being asked to set the example. I usually used them in the past but now will every time I can. However, I do always warn the other riders before lowering the bar.
post #26 of 75
I rarely use the bar (Peak Chair at Whistler is an exception) but I always ask first if anyone minds.
post #27 of 75
I usually don't use the bars unless someone else wants to put the thing down, or I'm riding up with a young child who for some reason or another is skiing by themselves without adult supervision(I was on a chairlift this weekend with a 5 year old skiing by himself).

I do wish people would warn me about the bar though. Being 6 ft. 2 I have a tendancy to get hit on the head with them. It probably does not help that I am lazy and don't take my pack off when I'm wearing it, so I can't sit all the way back. Speaking of lazy, another reason I don't use it is because I hate lifting the thing up at mid-lift stations. If I remember correctly, there are 4 places to lift up the bar on the yellow lift at Sugar Mtn in NC.

As far as bars go, my vote would be for the Mangy Moose or the Avalanche Bar.
post #28 of 75
The foot rests are nice but I am not too fussed either way with an ordinary bar. Having paranoid people lower the bar before your feet leave the ground or hit you on the head with it is a major annoyance.

A couple of interesting things I heard, feel free to confirm or deny.

I heard that in some states they cannot be called "safety bars" because that implies that if you use them you are safe, so if someone is injured while riding the lift the ski area can be held legally responsible. This is also why many lifts do not have bars.

I have also seen a kid fall 40 feet off a lift, under the bar and between his parents about twenty seconds after the lift had stopped. The kid had nothing but a few bruises but the parents were a nervous wreck.

Lastly, if a chair you are on rolls backwards more than 10 yards, JUMP. I have seen a video of a destructuve test on a chair with concrete blocks simulating people and all the braking mechanisms disabled. With all the weight on one side the lift rapidly went into reverse and at the bottom wheel the blocks were thrown a hundred feet and smashed against the mechanics and frame of the loading station. :
post #29 of 75
Am I the only one who sees the irony of this post. You want good bindings that release to avoid leg injuries, you want helmets to avoid head injuries, you want people to follow the Skier Safety Code, you want good avalanche management policy, etc, etc, etc. But when it comes to safety in the chair, where a fall can mean serious injury or death, you want to be a hero? :

I believe that in Ontario it is mandatory to lower the bar and many areas enforce it. People definitely should give a warning or lower the bar very slowly. But if you expect the bar to come down (as I do), you will rarely, if ever, get hit in the head.
post #30 of 75
I thought all lifts had safety bars? They do here in New Zealand. I always use them, I frequently sit forward and lean on them. One day I might do it and it's not there. I dont' feel safe on a six seater without the bar down. Maybe its because you don't have any side support to hold onto.

They had an earthquuke once while I was skiing at Treble Cone. They still had the old double chair and it got a really good bounce going. You can leave the bar up if you think the weathers okay, but you cannot predict earthquakes.

I can understand why Lucky uses the bar on the Peak chair at Whistler, I only ever rode it to the top once, that was enough.
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