Getting off the lift

While lifts simplify our snowboarding lives by taking us up the mountain, using them can be a challenge. Talk about chair lifts, t-bars, and other lifts in this forum.

Re: Getting off the lift

Postby Rob2 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:46 am

Everyone agrees that you should stand up straight and tall as you ride down the unloading ramp. But no one really defines this term.

Should you stand straight up in the gravitational field or "straight" up perpendicular to your board?

I'm thinking the answer should be perpendicular to the board because this will weight your front foot while standing straight in the gravitational field will weight your back foot and leave you with no control.

What do you think?
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Re: Getting off the lift

Postby John » Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:57 am

Short answer: Perpendicular to your board.

Longer answer: This is most obvious when you're talking about a severe downslope on the ramp--or, say, out on the hill. It's like you said--you'll have too much weight on your back foot. You'll be unbalanced and not centered. When I read your post I thought of a halfpipe clinic I was in once. I kept trying to be straight in what you call the "gravitational field.

By the way, don't stand up so straight that you lock your knees. That could cause you to fall.
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Re: Getting off the lift

Postby SteveH » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:20 pm

The idea of being perpendicular to the board rather than to gravity has application even after you get off the lift. As we get onto steeper terrain the difference between the slope of the hill and horizontal increases and the effect of staying horizontal is amplified. The result is just as Rob suggests: the weight goes to the back foot and we lose control. The mantra is keep the shoulders parallel to the ground underfoot.

Something else that I find helpful in riding off the lift is to consciously square the shoulders parallel to the board. There is a tendency to look forward and twist the shoulders "open". This puts turning pressure on the board--not what you want when sliding in close quarters with two or three other riders.

You can also improve your unloading skills by not strapping up immediately after you get off the lift. There is often a very shallow pitch for 20 or 30 yards around the lift terminus. Put your back foot on the board and ride unstrapped for a while. You will quickly discover that you can control the board quite well with the back foot loose. I've seen instructors do entire runs unstrapped while helping novices off the snow. Once you feel more confident in riding unstrapped, getting off the lift becomes much simpler.
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Re: Getting off the lift

Postby wyorider » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:26 pm

Rob2, It is very important to place your rear foot as close to the back binding on a stomp pad as you can and then bend your knees to lower your center of gravity. Steve has a good point about riding as much as you feel comfortable without your foot in the binding to get used to directional control. Another very important thing is never look at your board as it will cause a fall. I like to slide my foot to the edge of the board and either push my toe or heel into the snow while it is still on the board by my back binding to slow or stop.
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Re: Getting off the lift

Postby EasternSierraEd » Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:49 am

Stand up straight but be relaxed. I ride a carving board so I have a very forward stance. Carving boards tend to go in a straight line easier than freestyle boards. I put a little more pressure on my front foot but also put slight pressure on both heels or toes as needed. Also, try to position yourself on the chair so you can ride toeside to the outside and away from your chairmates when getting off. Most people turn on toeside easier. It all gets easier with practice. Ed
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Re: Getting off the lift

Postby leftcoast larry » Fri Mar 12, 2010 7:40 pm

There is no scarier part of a good day on the mountain (Day 4 completed Thursday, Mt. Baldy) than the "time to get off the lift moment" you know it's coming, there is no way to avoid it, here it is, here it is, oh ****! I was a consistent sprawler. Out of the chair and SPLAT! Needless to say I've received some great advice from the many lift operators on the receiving end of the cable. I've distilled these many nuggets of wisdom into my current dismount.

When getting off the lift it doesn't hurt to keep a bit of a Bob Marley lyric in mind "Get up, stand up." Or to paraphrase Nike, "Just do it." A tentative effort will most likely lead to one form of splat or another. So here's what I do.

When approaching the "landing zone" I make sure I'm ready, seriously, I simply make sure that I'm ready (clothing dealt with, seat mate informed of my "intended" actions, etc) to get out of the chair, off the lift, and out of the landing zone.

I move to the front of the chair and turn so the nose of my board in pointed in my intended direction of travel.
I place my back foot(right) next to my front foot and place my right hand on the front edge of the chair right next to my right thigh, I lean forward, and LOOK up spotting the area I am going to be sliding to.

As soon as I feel my board on the snow, I STAND UP (no crouching) - still looking up and forward - gently push off the chair and slide my right foot back to the rear binding. My goal is to place the ball of my boot on the stomp pad with my heel hanging off the board. It seems to work for me.

I'm going to incorporate "perpendicular to the board" on Day 5 (may it come sooner rather than later.) And I'm going to Tahoe March 24 - 26. Hoping to ride Sierra at Tahoe and Heavenly (we're staying near Heavenly Village.)

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