How To Ride The Button or Drag Lift (Skiers & Snowboarders)

by Simon Naylor | Posted On: May 15th, 2020
ski button lift

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How To Ride The Button

Equally terrifying and hilarious, the button lift or Poma is an intrinsic part of the ski and snowboard experience. Here we will give you a few hard-earned tips on overcoming this scary aspect of the ski resort. The button lift is here to mess with our lives. Of all the scary, dangerous, and downright terrifying things we do on slopes and off-piste, you would think that most of us would have the button lift figured out. It’s not true.

If you fancy some excellent entertainment, go to a button lift with your camera and wait. It won’t take long before you have something hilarious to film. People do not get the skill quickly. Once you have it, you have it for life, but it is a challenge at first.

For Both Snowboarders and Skiers

There are two reasons why resorts use button lifts.

1. Button lifts are a smaller outlay to ski resorts than installing a chair lift.

2. You can’t install a chair lift over a glacier if your slopes run over a glacier, and the button is the only option.

The Basics

1. Don’t fear the button; be the button.

2. Once you are ready and in position to receive the button, relax and loosen up and be prepared for it to jerk forward. If you’re tense, you’re more likely to be pulled off your feet.

3. It’s okay to let a couple of lifts go, as you prepare yourself for the challenge

4. Don’t use the button as a seat as it does not remain steady. Imagine it as a hook that is wrapped around your leg and dragging you, while your weight is flat and center on your skis or board.

For Snowboarders:

How To Ride A Button Lift - Beginner Snowboard Tutorial

1. Watch as many people as you need to beforehand. Watch for 10 minutes. The longer you watch and study the process, the less chance of a crash.

2. Your back needs to be upright.

3. Your knees should be slightly bent.

4. Your shoulders should be in line with your snowboard.

5. Your weight must remain on your front foot to make sure that you can still steer.

6. Now that you’re confident with your one foot out, you must pick a button lift for practice purposes.

There’s a massive difference in drag-lift speed. Some can be steep, while others can jerk you so hard, and at other times you may even get ahead of the button. So, start at the bottom and slowly move up. It’s best to spend some time on a beginner slope button lift to get some courage. They tend to have a reasonably shallow angle with few surprises.


button lift

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For Skiing:

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Simon Naylor, the founder of New To Ski, started skiing in 2005. He has continued to practice his skills and wanted to share his journey and knowledge with other new skiers. He launched New To Ski in 2018 to help first-time skiers have more fun on the slopes and get out and explore the mountains safely.