How to Get Off a Chair Lift with a Snowboard

by Anthony Schwabe | Updated On: May 11th, 2022
Snowboard Ski Lift

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You want to take your snowboarding to the next level, but there is just one thing standing in your way – the dreaded disembarking from the ski lift. Fortunately, we are going to go through some tips to help you join the elite who have conquered the ski lift before you. 

When getting off a ski lift with a snowboard, you will want to focus on a few key points to make sure you disembark safely and smoothly. How you get on the ski lift will also set you up to a successful dismount. All you need to do to get off is place your free foot in between the bindings in the middle of the snowboard, get a stable footing, and commit to standing up when the time is right. The momentum of the lift should comfortably send you on your way, meaning all you need to focus on is foot placement and staying calm. 

Before you get off, you’ll need to know how to get on properly – see below.

Before You Get On the Ski Lift

Ski-lift-Snowboarder
Photo by Chiara Coetzee licensed under CC0 1.0

How you get onto the ski lift, especially with a snowboard, will play a huge role in how successfully you dismount at the top of the slopes. It’s incredibly important that you have your leading boot buckled into the board.

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1. The Easy Part: Getting Onto the Ski Lift

When it’s your turn to board an incoming ski lift, position yourself by pushing with your free foot, relax, and sit when the chair pushes firmly on the back of your legs. You just accomplished your first step to the ski lift. Make sure to close the bar on your lift!

2. Now It’s Time to Get Off: The Set-Up

Onto the somewhat more challenging part. Let’s go over a few simple things to remember when you come to the end of the ski lift and are ready to disembark.

The first thing you want to do is get your board pointing forward. Remember: you are going whichever direction your board is pointed, so if it’s pointing left or right you’re probably not going to have a smooth transition. 

Final Checks Before You Jump

As you get closer to the destination, raise the safety bar. To stay as safe as possible, it’s best to only raise the bar when you wouldn’t risk injury if you happened to fall off the ski chair. 

Now you’re almost ready to get off the lift. There will typically be an instructor or signs indicating where you should aim to hop off. 

Commit – It’s Only Snow

When you’re in this area, start by placing your board on the snow directly below you. Just like when snowboarding, do not let the front end of your board dip into the snow as this can cause a pile-up.

After that, you want to get your footing with your rear foot. The best way to do this is to place it just in front of your rear binding, directly onto the board.  

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The video above is a great demonstration of how you want to aim to ride with one foot. 

Now it’s time to stand up by confidently standing up and letting the chair push you forward. Be sure to keep your feet inside your hips when standing up to keep your center of balance sturdy.

Again, the chair will do most of the work when propelling you forward, so all you need to do is keep your balance and direct your guide out of the way of the lifts. It’s a good idea to steer fairly hard left or right to make sure that if you do happen to fall, you won’t be in the path of the lift anymore. 

Important Cues to Remember When Getting off the Ski Lift 

  • Keep calm. There is no reason to be nervous or feel pressured as this is something every single ski lift user has had to overcome. 
  • Point your board in the direction you want to go.
  • Let the momentum of the lift carry you forward as you stand. 
  • Commit to disembarking when you get off. Plant your free foot in between the bindings on your board and stand up confidently.
  • Don’t be put off if you don’t nail it the first time. Don’t be afraid to fall either – it’s all part of the experience. 

Mastering the ski lift will reap huge rewards. Almost the entire mountain can become your new playground, so it is extremely worth it to stay patient when learning to use the ski lift

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Some Additional Tips for Your First Time

Another great tip is to try this all when the slopes aren’t jam-packed. It’s natural to feel pressured if you know there might be other skiers or snowboarders coming up the ski lift.

This pressure won’t help your confidence levels though, so knowing you won’t be holding anyone up if you fall can help massively to soothe your nerves. In any case, falling is nothing to be worried over as everyone falls at some point on the slopes. 

A final tip, go with a friend who knows what they are doing. Snowboarding with friends elevates the experience phenomenally.

Having a friend waiting for you at the top of the ski lift to help you disembark will not only calm any nerves you might have but will give you hands-on teaching in real-time. Another plus is that if you happen to fall, who better to laugh with than a friendly face? 

To Wrap Up

Snowboarder

Getting off the ski lift when snowboarding can be daunting, but with the right tips anyone can manage. Patience and a cool head will always prevail in this kind of situation, and they will be greatly rewarded when you get it down.

The most important things to remember:

Only your leading foot strapped to your board, have the board facing forward when it’s time to get off, place your rear foot near the middle of the board, and commit in a relaxed manner when you stand up. Let the chair do most of the work through its momentum. 

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Again, because this is a guide for relatively new snowboarders, we think these other guides will help you greatly on your journey to conquering the slopes. Be sure to check them out and take your skiing or snowboarding experience to the next level.

P.S If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide on the types of ski lifts and how to use them with skis, check out this guide.

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