How To Ride Old Chairlifts on a Snowboard

How To Ride Old Chairlifts on a Snowboard

In this video by SnowboardProCamp, Kevin shares some valuable advice on how to ride old chairlifts on a snowboard. He starts by highlighting the importance of being aware that these chairlifts do not detach at the bottom and come around quickly. Kevin suggests watching where people line up to sit on the chair so that you know where to walk to, and being ready to sit down as soon as the chair comes around. He also mentions that the lift operator will guide the chair into you, so it doesn’t hit the back of your legs. To make the ride smoother, he advises sitting on the chair with not a full group, if possible, and making a plan with your friends on which direction to go when getting off the chair.

As you approach the top, Kevin recommends sitting a bit sideways on the chair with your board straight and lifting the safety bar, anticipating a quick dismount. Once you get off the chair, it’s important to quickly get out of the way as more people are coming. If you accidentally stay on the chair, you can use the little bar to shut it down by kicking it. At certain resorts, you can ask the lift attendant to slow down the chair if you’re a beginner. Kevin wraps up the video by encouraging viewers to subscribe to SnowboardProCamp and thanking them for watching.

How To Ride Old Chairlifts on a Snowboard

Preparing to Ride

Observing the Chairlift

Before getting on the chairlift, it is important to take a moment to observe how it operates. This is especially crucial when riding on older, fixed-grip chairlifts, as they tend to move more quickly than detachable chairlifts. By watching where people line up and how the chairs come around, riders can get a better understanding of the timing and positioning required to get on safely.

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Positioning Yourself

Once the rider has observed the chairlift and has a sense of its movement, it is time to position themselves in the line. Being lined up and ready to sit down as soon as the chair comes around is key to a smooth and efficient boarding process. It is recommended to stand in a spot where the lift operator can guide the chair into position, reducing the risk of getting hit by the chair as it swings around.

Assistance from Lift Operator

The lift operator is there to help ensure a safe and smooth ride on the chairlift. They will guide the chair into position, helping riders to sit down quickly and avoid any potential accidents. Riders should follow the instructions of the lift operator and ask for assistance if needed. The lift operator’s expertise and guidance can make a big difference in the overall experience of riding the chairlift.

Getting On the Chairlift

Being Ready to Sit Down

As the chair comes around, riders should be prepared to sit down promptly. By being mentally and physically ready, riders can avoid any fumbling or hesitation that could lead to a missed opportunity to board the chair. It is important to stay alert and focused during this moment to ensure a successful entry onto the chair.

Taking Advantage of Partial Chairs

If given the option, riders should try to sit on the chairlift with fewer people. This means sharing the chair with one or two others instead of a full chair. By doing this, it becomes much easier to get on and off the chairlift, as there is more space available. Riders should be aware of their surroundings and considerate of others when deciding whether to share a chair or wait for the next one.

Riding Up the Mountain

Using the Safety Bar

Once seated on the chairlift, it is important to pull down the safety bar. The safety bar provides an additional level of security and stability during the ride up the mountain. Riders should ensure that the bar is securely in place, keeping them safely inside the chair and preventing any accidental falls or slips.

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Finding a Comfortable Position

While riding up the mountain, it is important to find a comfortable position on the chairlift. Some riders may prefer to rest their board on their foot, while others may opt to hold it in their lap. It is essential to find a position that feels secure and comfortable for the duration of the ride.

Preparing to Disembark

Planning with Friends

Before reaching the top of the chairlift, riders should coordinate with their friends on which direction they plan to go. The chairlift can cause riders to be thrown off quickly, so having a plan in place ensures a smooth and efficient exit. By communicating and deciding who will go left and who will go right, riders can avoid any mishaps or collisions when disembarking.

Positioning Yourself on the Chair

As the top of the chairlift approaches, riders should start to shift their position on the chair to be slightly sideways, facing the direction they plan to go once they get off. This positioning will help riders to smoothly transition from the chair to the slope. By preparing in advance, riders can make the disembarkment process more seamless.

Lifting the Safety Bar

Just before it’s time to get off the chairlift, riders should lift the safety bar. This ensures that the bar is out of the way and doesn’t obstruct the exit. It is important to do this smoothly and efficiently, as the dismount will happen quickly.

Getting Off the Chairlift

Executing a Quick and Controlled Disembarkment

When it’s time to get off the chairlift, riders should execute a quick and controlled disembarkment. This involves putting the board down, giving a little push off, and then dragging the toe to stop. It is important to maintain balance and control during this process to prevent any falls or collisions.

Clearing the Way

Once off the chairlift, it is essential to quickly clear the way for others. As the chairlift continues to move, more people will be getting off behind the rider. By promptly moving away from the unloading area, riders can help prevent any congestion or accidents.

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Using the Emergency Bar

In the event that a rider accidentally stays on the chairlift, there is an emergency bar that can be kicked to shut down the chair. This feature ensures the safety of riders and prevents any potential hazards. It is important to be aware of this emergency bar and how to use it if needed.

Adjusting the Chairlift Speed

Slowing Down for Beginners

For beginners or those who are new to snowboarding, it can be beneficial to ask the lift attendant to slow down the chairlift at the top. This allows riders to have more time to mentally prepare for the dismount and ensures a smoother experience. Lift attendants are often willing to accommodate such requests, especially for first-time snowboarders.

Communicating with Lift Attendants

Lift attendants are there to ensure the safety and comfort of all riders. If there are any concerns or questions, riders should feel free to communicate with the lift attendants. They can provide valuable information, assistance, and even adjust the speed of the chairlift if necessary.

Tips for First-Time Snowboarders

Taking it Slow and Steady

For first-time snowboarders, it is important to take it slow and steady when riding the chairlift. Beginners should focus on maintaining their balance and staying relaxed during the ride. By not rushing or feeling pressured, riders can build their confidence and enjoy the experience to the fullest.

Practicing on Easier Chairlifts

To gain more experience and confidence, first-time snowboarders can start by practicing on easier chairlifts. These chairlifts may not be as fast or challenging, allowing beginners to become more comfortable before moving on to more advanced lifts. By gradually working their way up, riders can develop their skills and feel more prepared to tackle older, faster chairlifts.


Riding old school chairlifts on a snowboard can be a thrilling and enjoyable experience. By observing the chairlift, positioning oneself correctly, utilizing the assistance of lift operators, and following the proper procedures for getting on and off the chair, riders can ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. Additionally, the tips provided for adjusting the chairlift speed and advice for first-time snowboarders can help make the experience even better. With practice and patience, riders can confidently navigate old chairlifts and fully enjoy their snowboarding adventures.

Hi there, I'm Jesse Hull, the author behind AK Fresh Pow. "Shred The Knar There Bud" is not only our tagline, but also our way of life. As a Husband and Father, I embrace the thrill of conquering the slopes. Being a retired Infantry Paratrooper has taught me discipline and a love for adventure. Now, as a new snowboarder/skier, I'm embracing the freedom and adrenaline rush that comes with it. Alongside these passions, I am a full-time student at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska, continuously expanding my knowledge and skills. Join me on this exciting journey as we explore the beauty of the snowy mountains together.