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How To Get On and Off a Chairlift While Snowboarding

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How To Get On and Off a Chairlift While Snowboarding

Image courtesy Doppelmayr

Riding the chairlift is essential to snowboarding, but it seems terrifying for someone who's never done it before. Follow these steps, and you'll be transported to the next level of snowboarding in no time.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Indefinite

Here's How:

  1. Practice skating with one foot unbuckled: Snowboarders are required to get on and off the chairlift with the back foot free, so being comfortable with maneuvering around with one foot free is important. Find a flat area at the bottom of the hill and practice skating by pushing with the back foot. The back foot can push in front of or behind the board depending on personal preference.

  2. Practice gliding with one foot unbuckled: Still at the bottom of the hill, find a gentle slope that's ten or fifteen feet long. With only your front foot buckled in to the bindings, practice riding straight down the slope. Maintain a balanced stance and keep your knees bent in an athletic position. Focus on keeping your back (free) foot in the middle of the board.

  3. Educate yourself: At the base of every chairlift is information regarding the capacity (how many people does the chair seat?), loading instructions, and safety information. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with this information.

  4. Prepare to load the chairlift: Skate up to the "staging area." The staging area may be denoted by a simple line in the snow, a flag or post, or a wooden or metal corral with slots for each rider. While you wait for the riders in front of you to load, watch how they get on the chair.

  5. Load the chair: When the chairlift in front of you has been loaded, the lift operator will wave you down to the loading line. Skate/slide to the line, positioning your front foot over the line. Look over your outside shoulder to spot the chair as it comes around the bullwheel, then sit down, keeping your board straight until it is off the ground.

  6. Get ready to unload: When the time comes to exit the chairlift, raise the safety bar. Signs are usually posted one or two towers before the top, giving you notice to prepare to exit.

  7. Get off the chairlift: Again keeping the tip of your board up, wait for the board to contact the exit ramp. Once the board hits the snow, stand up and place your back (free) foot in the middle of the board as practiced earlier. Keep your weight distributed evenly between your front and back feet, and glide straight down the ramp.

  8. Come to a stop: Execute a slight turn by pressing down on your toes (for a toe-side turn) or pulling up on your front foot (for a heel-side turn). Once you've stopped, make sure you're out of the way of the riders unloading behind you, then strap in.

  9. Shred: Pat yourself on the back, and go make some turns!

Tips:

  1. Equipping your board with a stomp pad will keep your free foot from slipping off the board. Stomp pads are inexpensive and can be found in any snowboard shop.

  2. Many riders also find it helpful to brace their free foot against the back binding for added support.

  3. For your first chairlift ride, try to avoid riding with the maximum number of riders possible - at first, it's easier when everyone has a little room to move around.

  4. Try to avoid resting your board against your free foot while on the chairlift. The edges of a snowboard are sharp, and can easily slice through the laces of snowboard boots.

Related Video
Use a Chairlift when Snowboarding
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