Skiing is a perfect winter sport for anyone who enjoys the outdoors — from beginning skiers to long time experienced lovers of the sport. Massachusetts ski resorts as well as resorts around the world attract droves of avid skiing enthusiasts from the moment the first snow flake falls in the late Fall until the snows begin melting in the spring.
One of the challenges for beginning skiers is getting on and off the ski lift correctly — and safely. There are a few basics that skiers, regardless of experience level, need to understand. First of all, remember that while ski lifts can be stopped, the idea is to keep the lift moving at a constant speed. Skiers have to mentally prepare to board the lift chair before getting to the lift. Ski lifts also move at different speeds, depending on the height if the mountain. The general rule of thumb is that the higher the mountain is, the faster the lift moves.
Getting on and off a ski lift takes practice. The more times a skier uses the lift, the easier it becomes – to the point that it becomes second nature. The steps for getting on a lift are about anticipating and timing:
Choose a ski slope that matches skill level. All ski slopes are clearly color marked indicating the level of difficulty and experience level. It is important for skiers to understand their level and stick to the appropriate runs.
Before getting line for the lift, skis should be put on. Pole straps, on the other hand, need to be off the skier’s hands.
Once in line to get on the lift, pay attention to the lift’s speed and how other skiers get on. There is a rhythm to the process.
At the loading area, move up to the mark and place the ski poles in one hand. Note that skiers sitting on the right side of the lift hold their poles in their left hand, while skiers sitting on the left side hold the poles in their right hand.
Standing at the lift mark, knees should be bent while watching the lift chair approach. Some skiers reach for the chair, others simply allow the chair to catch the legs at the knee bend and lift them.
Pull the metal bar down — it acts as a seat belt. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Once at the top of the mountain, it is time to get off the ski lift. As the chair approaches the top there will be signs instructing skiers what to do. Getting off the chair is as simple as getting on:
Lift the metal bar off and behind the chair. Pay attention to the chair ahead — it is a cue that it is time to dismount.
Slide forward in the chair and make sure that the skis tips are pointed up.
Lean forward over the skis. As the skis touch the ground, the chair will nudge the body forward. Once balanced, move out of the lift area quickly.
The process is simple and practice makes perfect.