Learn How To Ride Ski Lifts Safely And Learn To Ski - Ski Mag

Riding the Lifts Safely

To ski safely at the resort, make sure you know how to load and un-load a chair lift safely.
Publish date:

There are a few different types of lifts on the mountain, the most common being gondolas, chairlifts, “magic carpets” and T-bars. We’ll focus on chairlifts for the sake of this article, the most recognizable feature of any ski mountain.

Riding the chairlift for the first time can be a pretty intimidating experience. The mount, the heights, the dismount… it all seems like a little extra risk to slide down a mountain on two slabs of wood. The good news is chairlifts are designed to be just as easy for the novice skier as the experienced, with a little basic instruction on how to maneuver them.

Learn How To Ride Chairlifts Safely

It's usually a good idea to wait until the lift attendant gives you a go-ahead.

Before hopping on the lift, it’s helpful to watch the more experienced skiers getting on. Shuffling at the same speed as your lift mates will get you in position, as the chair comes behind you. It is possible to have the lift operator slow the chair down for you as it comes, if you’re still getting used to getting on and off the chairlift. Then, it’s as easy as popping a squat when you feel the chair touch the back of your legs. This quickly becomes second-nature, and a rich part of the ski experience. Riding the chairlift is a perfect time to take a breather, take in the views and appreciate the friendly company of other skiers.

Once you take your seat, pulling the bar down from above your head adds an extra layer of protection and comfort from the heights below. Lifts often incorporate a footrest on the bar to give your feet a break from your boots and skis.

Learn How To Ride Chairlifts Safely

Commit to the unload.

Unloading is where it gets a little trickier for the first timer. Whatever type of lift you’re riding, when you disembark at the top, move immediately away from the unloading zone so that skiers offloading behind don’t crash into you. The gentle slope that awaits you on the chairlift provides enough space to ski to the side, without getting too technical.

AIM Adventure U’s Intro to Skiing course is designed to take you through the basics of skiing, without actually having to step foot on the hill. The six-week online course can be completed from wherever you are, on your own time. Through interactive lessons, which include photo and video instruction, you’ll be prepared to navigate everything from the rental shop to your first turns on the slopes.

Register Now



Looking Out for Yourself—and Others

Keep your head up to stay safe on the ski slopes.


Get Ready to Succeed

Learning to ski is as much about preparation as it is about making great turns. AIM Adventure U’s Intro to Skiing online course is a great place to start.

Learn How To Fit Boots With AIM Adventure U

All About Gear

Learn how choose the best boots for skiing with the help of AIM Adventure U.


Choosing the Right Skis

Learning to ski is as much about preparation as it is about making great turns, start by selecting the right skis for your day on the slopes.


Athlete Profile: Daron Rahlves

The decorated ski racer-turned-freeskier on sunny Tahoe days, charging steeps, and co-teaching SKI's new online education course, "Find Your Line: How to Ski Trees."

mike rogan skiing aim adventure u ski course how to break through

SKI Online Course: How to Break Through

Get ready to take your skills to the next level with our AIM Adventure U course on how to bust through your ski performance plateaus.

Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month tout

Newbies Score Gear, Lift Deals During January

It's National Learn To Ski and Snowboard Month, and Vermont resorts lead the way with enticing discounts for newbies.


Why You Should Never Ski into Shape

Skiing off the couch is always a bad idea.