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When it comes to skiing, safety and good manners go together like skis and bindings. You can’t really have one, without the other.

But here’s the catch. Good manners and on-mountain safety often don’t come intuitively to anyone.

Especially with children (of all ages), safety needs to be taught.

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On Mountain Safety and Manners

Skiing and riding safety starts with the Skier/Snowboarder Responsibility Code. You’ve seen in on chairlift towers, on the back of trail maps and when you sign your kids up for lessons.

But have you ever read the Code and discussed it with your children? If not, here’s your chance.  Read it. Discuss it. Dream up specific scenarios and ask your children to critique them.

Then, they next time you’re riding together, ask them to point out mistakes they see people making and suggest how these mistakes can be corrected.

Lift Line Safety and Manners

1. Watch and Learn. If you’re about to get on a new type of lift with your child, take five minutes to watch others safely loading. Explain to your child what you’re going to do when it’s your turn. This works especially well with magic carpets, surface lifts and rope tows.

2.  Be Ticket Wise. RF tickets and passes work best when they are in a pocket by themselves. If you’re using lift tickets attached to your jacket or pants, make sure they are easy to see so that they can be quickly scanned.

3. Easy in the Maze. Teach your kids to slow down before entering the lift line maze. Better yet, teach them to wait for you and their friends outside the maze so that they don’t block the line.

Also, let your young children enter the lift line in front of you. This way, you can give them a push if necessary and easily position them on the load line when waiting for the chair.

4. Don’t Step on Skis. No one likes having someone ski onto or step onto their snowboard or skis. Teach your kids to give everyone plenty of room and to respect personal space and expensive equipment.

5. Take Your Turn. Raise your hand if drives you crazy when people refuse to alternate in the lift line?

Yep. It’s unanimous. Nobody likes this.

Teach your kids to pay attention and respect the merge points. When it’s your turn, move quickly to keep the line moving. This may mean holding hands and pulling a small child forward.

6. Be Respectful. On most ski days, everyone in line is burning endorphins and having a great time. And this is a great thing — long as everyone respects those around them.

Help your children learn to give people space in the line. Teach them to avoid bumping into others and to think before they speak or yell. The same goes for adults, especially when young children are present. You don’t really want to teach the little rippers in front of you any new words.

Chairlift Safety and Manners

1. Don’t Be Shy. Speak up and ask the lifties if you have questions about loading the lift. They can help you by slowing the lift, pulling your child back into the seat as she or he gets on or retrieving and sending up any gear that drops.

2. The #*$! Bar. When you get on the lift don’t bring down the bar too quickly, lest you bash someone in the head, smash someone in the leg or trap their ski poles. Teach your children to make sure everyone is seated. Then, they can ask, “May I bring the bar down?”

3. Chill in the Chair. Teach your kids this simple rule: back to back, seat to seat. This means your child’s back is against the back of the chair and their seat stays on the seat for the entire ride. Chairlifts are not a good place for bouncing, wiggling, leaning way out over the bar or turning around to wave at friends.

4. Keep It on the Lift. Testing gravity by dropping anything off the lift is dangerous, rude and wasteful. Remind you kids that whatever they drop will likely fall onto someone (and they’ll get into trouble) or into closed terrain and they’ll never see it again.

5. Off You Go! Before getting off the lift, teach your kids to ask others on the chairlift which way they are going. Also teach them to ask before raising the bar so that everyone can get their boards and skis off the footrest.

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What are your thoughts on skiing and chairlift etiquette?

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4 responses to “A Parent’s Guide to Skiing and Chairlift Etiquette”

  1. Helen R says:

    One more point: as you ski off the lift, keep going until you are out of the way of every chair coming up behind you! Nothing more annoying than people stopping to chat too close and having to dodge them while getting off!

  2. That is a great tip! Thanks for helping make this more complete!

  3. MNIllini says:

    Remind children not to cross in front of other skiers when exiting the lift chair.

  4. Bethany says:

    Watch backpacks. I won’t let us use them if possible, but if necessary always take great diligence to be sure it isn’t caught on the chair while preparing to exit the lift. So dangerous if you get stuck and are dangling by your pack!

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