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Chairlift tips for snowboarders

Continuing our Top Tips for Beginner Snowboarders' blog series, here we bring you a few essential tips on “Getting off a Chairlift”. Failure to manage this could mean a) failure to ever go higher than the nursery slopes b) abject embarrassment c) injury d) injury of a chairlift friend or partner. This is not to say that the first time you try to board a chairlift you won’t be a little jittery. Whether you’re on skis or a snowboard, negotiating a chairlift can be a tricky business but it’s especially the case for snowboard riders.

Snowboarder guide to tackling a chairlift

Before you reach the chairlift prepare to board by taking your back foot from the snowboard binding. You’ll need to skate along with your front foot still on the board and the other pushing you, like riding a skateboard.  Use the stomp board for your back foot on the board. Next you’ll push through the barriers to the chairlift. As soon as you’re allowed through, “skate” towards the red line where you should stop. It’s easier to stick to the outside seats if possible. Once you reach the line, look back to watch for the chair coming towards you and as the chair comes to the back of your legs, sit down. To ensure that your free leg doesn’t get trapped between the chair and the ground when you sit down, stick your free foot out in front of you. Reach to pull the handrail guard over your head and make sure that your hand and leg are clear. Once you’re on the chairlift you can relax, let your foot in the board relax and hang below the chair, while you look around at the scenery.

How a snowboarder gets off a chairlift

Be warned: This is a little trickier. When you see the “Prepare to Get Off” sign, start manoeuvring yourself so that you are sitting sideways in the chair and in the same direction as your would normally ride. As the chairlift approaches the ramp, point your board forward, but your free foot on your stomp pad and hang one side of your butt off the chair. (This isn’t comfortable but it’s vital for a smooth off-load.) When you re at the ramp, and you have lifted the chairlift handrail, let your board slide along the snow and then stand up with your weight forward allowing the chair to give you a small push. Be careful not to hold on to the chair but it’s fine to let the chair give you a bit of momentum (although not so much that you lose control and go careering into your fellow passengers). You should be able to glide smoothly to a safe place before stopping to strap your back foot into your board. Make sure you’re clear of other people coming off the chairlift behind you. This all sounds very simple but it does take concentration and control and a fair bit of confidence!

Top tip for chairlift negotiation for snowboarders

The chances are you'll be taking lessons, so make sure that your instructor shows you some of the easier chairlifts (for practice) and tells you about the chairlifts to look out for. There will always be chairlifts in each resort that offer their own kind of challenges, such as a fast and ferocious approach, a steep landing or a tight descent.