How to Get on and off a Chairlift

Getting on and off a chairlift takes a little bit of finesse and a lot of awareness. Before you get on the chairlift, make sure that you have all your equipment – poles, gloves, goggles, and hat. Make sure your lift ticket is visible. 

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Getting on a Chairlift

Getting on the Chairlift
Mike Doyle

Wait in the loading area until it's your turn to board the chairlift. Hold both poles in one hand. Watch over your shoulder for the next chairlift to come. Sit on the chairlift just like you were sitting in a chair, use your free hand, if necessary, for balance and to hold on.

Keep your ski tips pointed up as the chairlift moves up.

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While You're Riding the Chairlift

Riding the Chairlift
Mike Doyle

When you're on the chairlift, make sure that you keep the safety bar down, keep your ski tips up, hold on to your poles, and enjoy the ride! Many ski resorts have signs that tell you when to raise the safety bar, but if not, don't raise the bar until the chairlift is nearing the unloading station. However, make sure the bar is completely raised by the time you are at the unloading station.

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Getting off a Chairlift

Ski - Near the chairlift
Mike Doyle

Make sure you are holding your poles, and any other loose items, securely. Make sure that your safety bar is raised. As you are approaching the unloading station, raise your ski tips slightly so you can glide off the lift.

Many ski resorts have markers that will tell you when to stand up, but if not, stand up when you feel your skis flat on the snow. Once you have got off the chairlift, ski to the side so you are out of the way of the upcoming chairlifts.

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Using a Rope Tow

Pommel Tow
Mike Doyle

Rope tows are often used on beginner ski slopes. When you use a ski rope tow, you will be pulled up the slope by your arms while standing on your skis. You will stand in a line, and when it is your turn, grab the knot as it approaches you. Lean back slightly as you grab the rope. Hold on to the rope, and let it pull you up the hill.

A variation of the ski tow is the pommel tow. A pommel tow has a plastic plate that you put between your legs to drag you uphill on the snow.

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Riding a Ski Gondola

Riding the Gondola
Mike Doyle

Many of the bigger ski resorts use gondolas to transport skiers up the mountain. A gondola is an enclosed carriage (like a cable car). You will need to remove your skis to ride on the gondola. Depending on the gondola, you will bring your skis inside with you, or place them on an outside rack. You will bring your poles inside the gondola with you.

When it is time to exit the gondola, the doors will open and you step out. Remove your skis from the rack (or, if you're carrying your skis, carry them out of the gondola) and leave the gondola unloading area.