January 10, 2012 Teach your children
Before you let your skiing and riding kids take the chairlift without you, make sure you teach them the fundamentals of loading, riding and exiting the lift.
You may think they will ride the chair with their friends as safely as when you are with them but chances are, they won’t. It is important for them to know that their safety while riding any lift, is their responsibility.
Queuing-good lift line habits are right up there with proper hand washing so make sure your kids pay attention to the liftie who is working to keep the lift lines flowing smoothing so chairs get loaded most efficiently. If a liftie is not present, be a responsible skier/rider and encourage people to pair up and load to capacity. It is wasteful to skip chairs or load one person on a quad just so someone can talk on their phone. Think of it as yet another green initiative.
Pay attention-Ok, I’ve done it. Spaced out and miscounted, tried to load five people on a quad and the result is always ugly. Pay attention when loading ANY lift from chairlift to surface lift. It only takes a second of distraction and you fall, the lift has to stop, maybe you break a ski pole…just pay attention and load the lift properly the first time.
Lower the Bar-lead by example and always lower the safety bar when riding the chairlift. Children should know that seconds after sitting on the chair, the bar is lowered with an announcement, as in “bar down” if others are on the chair. Getting clunked on the head by a premature lowering of the bar can ruin a great day. There really is no reason to ride with the safety bar in the up position so lower it and enjoy the ride.
Sit Back-kids are small and like to sit forward in the chairlift resting their arms on the bar. This is the prime position for slipping off the chair especially if they turn around to yell to their buddies on the next chair. Add slippery ski pants and this is a recipe for a potential fall off the lift which can lead to significant injury. At the very least, it is really upsetting to see a child take a dive off a chairlift…I know, I have seen it. Teach your kids to sit back and stay that way until it is time to unload.
Prepare to unload-Teach kids to notice the sign and to keep the bar down until it is genuinely time to get ready to unload the chairlift. Teach them to pay attention to the unload surface so they can make any last minute adjustments for ice or heavy snow. Everyone has seen groups of people wipe out while unloading because of one person’s mistake. Let’s minimize this as we are all sick of watching this blooper. It holds no more appeal. Get out of the unload areas quickly as this is another guaranteed set up for collisions. Be respectful of the next chairlift load and move on out.
Riding lifts to access skiable terrain should be thought of as a convenience and a privilege. Do your part to minimize mistakes which can lead to accidents as these always make the news. This is not what we want the public to see about skiing and riding.
Although lift mishaps can sometimes be humorous, they can lead to injury or even death and that is no joke. VBancroft 2012