There have been several serious incidents on chairlifts this season that have made the news. Recently, a woman and her children fell from a lift at Ski Granby Ranch in Colorado. In another incident a boy at Sundance Mountain in Utah was left dangling from a lift after his backpack got caught in the chair. Finally, just yesterday at Arapahoe Basin a man was rescued by a professional slackliner after his backpack left him dangling from a lift. Chairlifts are generally safe to ride, but its probably a good time to review some lift safety.
Fortunately this incident turned out alright:
Man hanging unconscious by backpack on Arapahoe Basin chairlift is cut down by friend in harrowing rescue
Here’s the link to video of incident at Sundance:
The skier responsibility code generally puts the duty to safely ride a lift on the user. Most codes require the rider to know how to use the lift and ride it safely. Most also required the user to ask for assistance or instruction if unsure how to ride the lift.
Washington State’s Skier Responsibility Code, RCW 79A.45.030, actually devotes a lot of attention to riding lifts:
(5) Any person who boards a rope tow, wire rope tow, j-bar, t-bar, ski lift, or other similar device shall be presumed to have sufficient abilities to use the device. No liability shall attach to any operator or attendant for failure to instruct the person on the use of the device, but a person shall follow any written or verbal instructions that are given regarding the use.
(9) A person embarking on a lift or tow without authority shall be considered to be a trespasser.
Here’s a link to the full code: http://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=79A.45&full=true#79A.45.010
The NSAA offers these tips on how to ride safely:
As a chair passes you at the “Wait Here” sign, move ahead quickly to the “Load Here” sign and line up evenly. When the next chair comes behind you, sit on the seat, and slide back as far as you can – to keep from falling off the chair.
SIT BACK, SIT STILL, HOLD ON
Sit way back to keep from falling from the chair and enjoy the ride to the top! No horsing around, it’s dangerous when you are riding up in the air.
AT THE TOP, PLAN AHEAD TO UNLOAD
At the “Unload Here” sign it is time to get off. Stand up, and ski down the ramp. Watch for others ahead and ski around them. Move out of the way quickly, so others can unload too.
My home mountain, Crystal Mountain, Washington offers these tips:
here’s a link: https://crystalmountainresort.com/safety/chairlift-safety/
Here’s a video on lift safety for kids – that’s probably good advice for anyone:
In light of the recent chairlift incidents around the country, take a few minutes to review some lift safety, especially with kids. See you on the slopes!
For more information on lift safety, the ski industry has made its study available here: https://www.nsaa.org/media/68048/NSAA-Ski-Lift-Safety-Fact-Sheet-10-1-2012.pdf