Ski lifts can be pretty challenging, especially if you’re an inexperienced rider. These ski lifts are primarily designed for skiers who get off the lift directly onto their snowboards. This situation can seem more intimidating, especially when you’re surrounded by professional skiers and snowboarders on a crowded lift.
Even though your gut might be telling you to turn around as soon as possible, learning how to get off a ski lift just takes some practice. If you’ve been on a ski lift before, going through these steps and pointers will help you get off a ski lift more smoothly next time.
What to Do Before You Board the Ski Lift
There are a few steps you should practice before trying out a ski lift. This will ensure safety and a smooth experience.
One Foot In, One Foot Out
When you get on and off a ski lift, as a rider, you have to take only one foot out of the snowboard straps While the other foot remains tucked in the snowboard.
Therefore, if you practice riding with one foot out and one foot in, your getting off the ski lift experience will go super smooth.
In order to practice, you can:
- Try out a short, less steep slope with your snowboard
- Bind your foot in the straps. Typically, people leave the right one free as it is generally a dominant foot for most of us
- Move down the gentle slope in a slow manner while placing your back foot between the bindings of your snowboard for support
- Wriggling your hips may help you create momentum to get going down the slope
- Once you ride down the slope, move your free foot off the snowboard and gently, with the tip of your toe, dig into the snow to stop yourself
- Don’t stop yourself with a sudden halt; take it slow so that you stop naturally on the snow and not topple over
- Once you get comfortable, try doing some curves instead of straight rides down the slope
This particular exercise will help you gain confidence in using the one foot in one foot out method of landing on your snowboard while getting off a ski lift. For many, a snowboard can seem like an additional burden, especially when they are not confident handling their body.
Skating On a Flat Surface
If you don’t have access to a short slope, you can always try practicing skating on a flat surface. Even though this isn’t the same thing, it will still help you become familiar with riding with the one-foot concept.
You can practice flat surface skating by following the same strapping method as highlighted above. Once your foot is strapped in, gently try to get yourself moving with your free foot so you can create momentum to slide forward.
As soon as you get yourself going, place the free foot back on the board and ride the board till it lasts. Repeat this till you feel like you’ve got the hang of it. Skating on a flat surface is similar to snowboarding in terms of form, however, with the obvious absence of wheels.
Time To Tackle the Ski Lift
With the right amount of practice, you will soon feel more comfortable riding a gentle slope with one foot. Once this happens, you know it’s time to hit the ski lift!
Getting on the ski lift is a pretty easy task. All you have to do is sit down as the ski lift hits your legs from behind and lower the safety bar for your protection.
How To Get Off a Ski Lift
Although this is the most challenging part of riding a ski lift, it can be pretty smooth only if you follow the basic rules.
Get Your Snowboard Ready
As you approach the end of the ride, turn to your side, and get your snowboard in a position that will allow you to face the direction in which you want to descend.
Do Not Jump Off the Lift
The ski lift starts to slow down as it reaches the end giving you enough time to place your snowboard on the ground. You can use this moment to place your free foot on the board before you stand up from the lift.
Disembark As Soon As Possible
Try to be ready as soon as possible because there is a chance of your boards and skis getting tangled. This is the last thing you want just when you’re about to get off a ski lift.
Watch Where You’re Going
While you’re in the process of unloading from the ski lift, you must have a full view of where you’re planning to go. If you only keep looking at your feet or bend over instead of viewing your path, it is possible for you to bump into other riders doing the same thing. This can be pretty unpleasant, so it’s better to keep an eye on where you are going at all times.
Don’t Crowd the Clearing
Once you descend from the ski lift, try to ride your snowboard as far out as possible. Generally, a ski lift exit will be placed in an area with a gentle slope to help you slow down. However, if you do not ride ahead and slow yourself down right in the beginning, you will bump into other people trying to get off the lift. Hence, it is important for you to clear the area for other people to get off after you.
Our Final Thoughts
If this entire process seems a bit daunting, you should know that practicing beforehand will make a huge difference. Even if you aren’t as smooth in understanding how to get off a ski lift on your first attempt, it is absolutely OK. This will only build your confidence for future attempts and help you enjoy your time on the slopes.