TIPS UP! 10 safety tips to know before riding a chairlift


This article was last updated on Dec. 6, 2021

If you are hitting the slopes this winter, keep in mind that making unsafe decisions while loading, riding, or unloading the chair can have serious consequences for you and your children. The following 10 tips are suggestions to help make everyone's experience riding a chairlift as safe as possible:

  1. When loading the chair be ready to go, i.e., remove your pole straps from your wrists and ensure the group you are with is organized and ready to move forward. If there are load gates, wait for them to open. Never try and force them open or get past them as they are closing.
  2. Move promptly from the “Wait Here” sign to the load line after the chair in front passes. If you are late, do not rush in and risk getting hit by the chair -- wait for the next chair.
  3. Small children should load next to the operator. If you think you need the chairlift slowed for loading, let the operator know.
  4. At the loading area, look back and keep an eye out for the next chair and grab the part of the chair that will help keep you stable when loading.
  5. Once seated and as the chair leaves the station, lower the restraining bar (it’s good manners to announce this beforehand). Sit right back on the seat and avoid bouncing, turning around, reaching out, or trying to make equipment adjustments while riding chairlifts.
  6. If the lift slows or stops, do not turn around, bounce, or otherwise move on the chair.
  7. Raise your restraining bar once you are at the sign instructing you to do so. It is important to be organized and prepared to unload before the restraining bar is raised. Remember to keep your ski tips or board up as you approach the unload point.
  8. At the “Unload Here” sign, stand up and go straight down the ramp. Most incidents at the unload area are caused by passengers trying to get off too early, too late, or getting tangled up with the person next to them.
  9. After you unload, move away from the unloading ramp to avoid obstructing others.
  10. If you fail to unload at the unload area, remain seated and wait for the chairlift to stop. Do not lift your feet over the safety gate, it is there to stop the ropeway when you fail to unload at the designated point. Once the chairlift is stopped, wait for the operator to provide assistance.

Passenger ropeways and conveyors cannot immediately stop running. The normal high speed chairlift or gondola may take between 5 to 10 seconds to stop depending on the speed it is running and the type of stop applied, be it a service or emergency stop. This gradual stop must occur because if the gondola or chair was to suddenly halt, it could causes the chairs or gondolas to bounce severely and possibly de-rope. So please be patient, be aware, and be respectful of others when you are in line, loading the chair, riding the chair, and unloading the chair.

For more information on steps you can take for a safe chairlift ride, check out our articles on Ski lift safety and Think safety over selfie.



Share article on