In the midst of ski season, there is a lot of fun to be had. Shredding down a mountain with buddies, taking warm-up breaks at the lodge and ending the day with a well-deserved pizza sounds like the perfect day to me. But before you step foot back on the mountain, it’s important to learn or re-learn a few important tips for chairlift safety and good manners. With the influx of tourists every season, ski resorts quickly become filled with an endless array of ski bums, crowding the chairlifts. This can cause a bit of chaos and increase the wait time from group to group. And even if it’s not a busy day, you should always bring your best ski etiquette with you. There are certain dos and don’ts while getting on and off a chairlift, so follow our recommendations below to ensure you stay on everyone’s good side.

1. Go Slow

When you get down the mountain, your endorphin’s are flying and all you want to do is get back up as fast as you can. But while we all wish we could fly, unfortunately that’s not the case. You are a human, and as such, you must take the chairlift like every other human. And to keep good manners out on the slopes, be sure to go slow while approaching and getting into the line for a chairlift. If you’ve ever had someone ski over the back of your skis, you’d know it’s not fun. Go slow, be polite, and keep your skis to yourself.

2. Wait Your Turn

If there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s that no one likes a cutter. It’s agreeably pretty annoying when you spend time waiting your turn, only to have your wait time pushed back even further by someone who disregards common etiquette. If you’re skiing with buddies, wait for them at the bottom instead of having them cut everyone else who have been waiting. The beauty of the mountain is all around you! Take a couple deep breaths of that fresh, crisp air and take a panoramic view around you. Enjoy those few moments waiting and take in your surroundings.

3. Watch the Lift Speed

Once you slowly approach the line, wait your turn and reach the front, you are ready to get on the lift. But before you do so, spend your first time in line observing the speed of the chair lift. Every ski resort is equipped with different lifts and each lift on the mountain may have different speeds. Look closely at the chair lift coming around the corner to meet the row of people waiting to get on. Is it approaching slow or fast? Gauge your best guess and take a peek at others to see how long their wait time is once across the gate.

chairlift safety and manners

4. Sit All the Way Back

As you get on the lift, make sure to plop your tush all the way back in the seat. You want to make sure your entire bottom is on the seat safe and sound. Do not get on the lift and sit on the edge of the seat. This is a motorized chair bringing you up a mountain multiple feet off the ground. Sitting on the edge doesn’t make you look cool, so stop fooling yourself.

5. Safety Bar

Every state and country has different rules about using the safety bar. But even in an area that doesn’t require it down, some people may feel more comfortable with the idea of extra security. On a windy day, I personally feel better with it down, ensuring I can have a relaxing ride up. But no matter your preference, you must always check with others on the lift before you put the bar down. Never, and I mean never, put the bar down without letting others know. If someone isn’t expecting it, it could lead to an accident.

6. Get off When Lift Slows

Getting off a chairlift can be the most intimidating part of the entire process – it sure was for me. But after practice and helpful tips, it really comes natural. So first, always remember to be patient. Don’t go jumping off the lift before the chair is over the exit ramp. Notice when the lift slows down as it glides over the platform and take that as your queue to get off.

7. Tips Up

This one’s important, so listen closely. As you approach the top of the lift, you’re probably filled with excitement, ready to take another plunge down the slopes. But before you let your adrenaline kick in, slow it down and stay focused. After the lift slows down, make sure to keep the tips of your skis up. Then, you can safety and smoothly reach land to take another epic run down the mountain.

2 Comments on Chairlift Safety and Good Manners

  1. Daniel Killourhy
    March 16, 2019 at 10:24 pm (4 years ago)

    I was badly injured recently when in loading a lift, the individual next to me dropped his pole as the lift was approaching us. Instead of sitting down and waiting for the lift operator to retrieve the pole, he turned and bent over trying to pick up the pole. In doing so, he bumped me causing me to lose my balance and fall and getting hit by the lift. Lets restate the rule here: If you drop your pole, gloves, hat, etc. when loading leave it for the lift operator to retrieve and give to the next chair.

  2. Lewis
    October 18, 2019 at 1:49 pm (3 years ago)

    In reading several of the chair lift etiquette guides, nothing is mentioned about using ski poles when getting out of the chair. Too many people get knocked down by poles stuck into the snow where there are 8 skies trying to move forward in a narrow area. I hold my poles in one hand and push off the chair seat with the other – works every time and hinders no one.

    Also, didn’t see anything about unstrapping ski poles to get into the chair.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *