How to Get on and off a Ski Lift

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Getting on a ski lift as a beginner can be a frightening thing with a giant chair zooming by scooping people up. But with a little practice, skills and these easy steps you will be able to get on and off a ski lift like a pro. Although this article does not teach you how to actually ski, it does help you get to the slopes.


Getting On

  1. Pick a suitable mountain for your ski level, and a suitable lift on that mountain. Most lifts have signs indicating what levels (green/blue/black/red) of trails that lift services.
  2. Put your skis on. Grab your poles, but dont put your hands into the straps.
  3. Get in line for the lift; the higher up the mountain the lift goes, the faster the chair lift may move.
  4. Glide your way to the lifting area and keep your poles close to you.
  5. Stop on the marked line.
  6. If youll be sitting on the left, put both poles in your right hand, and look over your left shoulder. If youll be sitting on the right, do the opposite. If youll be sitting in the middle, do it either way.
  7. Bend your knees slightly because the chair (lift) will hit them, but this is normal.
  8. As the chair approaches, you may want to reach for it with your free hand.
  9. Sit down when the lift touches the backs of your knees.
  10. Pull the metal bar down over you as a seatbelt and you are on your way to the trail.
  11. Sit back in your chair and do not rock the chair.

Getting Off

  1. Watch the big towers for signs because they may give you information when you are close to the top.
  2. Lift the metal bar off of you when the de-loading area sign on the towers says to.
  3. Double check to make sure you have all your belongings and nothing is caught on the chair.
  4. Make sure your scarf is not loose.
  5. Slide forward in the chair and point the tips of your skis upward.
  6. When you reach the unload area and your skis are touching the ground completely , lean forward slightly over your skis and stand up once you have balance on both skis, the lift will give you a little push.
  7. Glide your way off the de-loading area quickly. Do not attempt to stop with a snowplough in the unload area - your skis will cross the persons next to you and you will probably both fall. Ski away from the other people, then stop if you want to.
  8. Choose the right trail because sometimes there are many to choose from, with different skill levels (colours).


  • Go slowly when approaching the loading area.
  • Make sure it is the right lift you need to get where you would like to go. Often there are many lifts.
  • Remove the pole wrist straps from around your wrist.
  • Dont use your poles getting on or off much because they may get stuck.
  • If you cant move quickly when getting on you can ask the attendant to slow down or even stop the lift.
  • If you have trouble getting off you can wave to the attendant in the booth and they may stop the lift for you.
  • Try to get out of the way of people getting off of the lifts behind you, especially if you fall. Its hard for skiers, especially snowboarders, and especially beginners to avoid someone directly in their path close to the chairlift, as the other people on their chair will be next to them.
  • On the way up sometimes the lift stops for people to get on or off and may rock a little bit but dont worry - it will start moving again soon.
  • If there is bad weather, some of the lifts and trails will be closed, so pay close attention to the signs.
  • If a trail is getting new snow put on it or the trail is icy, the trails are sometimes closed.


  • Do not wear scarves that are outside of your clothing, these can get caught on the lift machinery or the chair at the top, this can be very dangerous.
  • The chairs seem to come around a lot faster when you are standing there, than they look when you are standing in line.
  • Make sure there are no loose articles: for example hats, gloves, goggles or scarves.
  • If there is horseplay occurring on your chair, you could fall off. Sit all the way back on the chair; its a long way down. If you are horsing around and you do fall - just wait for help.
  • Every once in a while your pole will slip out of your hand. You usually have to ski down and get it yourself or go back to the lodge and talk to the manger. If you dont want to go down, someone may bring it back up for you if you ask them and wait at the top for them to come back
  • Dont hop off too early. There should be a line indicating where to get off.
  • If you can only ski green trails, do not get on a lift that only goes to black trails.

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