(Still) Falling off chairlifts..

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.

(Still) Falling off chairlifts..

Postby PamelaDare » Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:41 pm

I'm much better about getting on them but no matter how much it is slowed down for me, the second I get up I am down.

I do try to maintain a lower profile , plant my foot on the stomp pad beside the binding but I still end up in a heap, usually.


Last edited by PamelaDare on Tue Dec 04, 2007 10:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby MunkySpunk » Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:11 pm

The first time I went boarding, the chair-lift got me all but one time. The second time I went, I only fell getting off once. Now I just fall if I'm slow and the chairlift tags me in the back as I get off of it (Ow).

I've got high-back step-in bindings and I click in on the chair on the way up. I get off the lift, I just turn and go right down the hill without missing a beat, but that's not going to help you here. Do you have a stomp-pad? If not, get one, they're pretty much a necessity.

Practice skating around with your rear foot out of the binding for a bit. Go to the practice hill (sub-bunny), find a short, gentle incline and just let yourself skate down it and glide to a stop. Once you're comfortable with that, you can try and do toe and heelside stops with your foot out of the binding. Keep on practicing skating until you feel you're ready.

First thing to remember about getting of the lift when you're unsure of yourself: Make sure you're the only one in the chair. Don't go up with other people, you'll be worried about crashing into them and looking like a fool - they'll just make you nervous and you won't be able to concentrate. If you explain to them that both they and you will be MUCH better off not going up with you and why, they will most likely e very cooperative. When you're approaching the top of the lift, put your rear foot on the stomp pad and keep it there - you don't want to worry about where your rear foot is while you're trying to do everything else. Turn yourself as sideways as much as you can and get ready as much as you can for your dismount before you're even at the end of the lift. At any rate, once the time comes, don't stay in a seated position. The moment you get your board on level ground, get off the seat and stand up even as you're gliding forward. My biggest mistake was that I tried to skate off the chairlift while I still had a considerable amount of flex in my knees - went down every time. I always grab one of the poles on the chair to help steady myself. Once you're standing up, push yourself forward by pushing against the chair pole you're grabbing onto. Don't panic, don't try to stop, just glide in a straight line and let your momentum carry you as far as it wants to (unless of course, it takes you down a trail with your foot still out of the binding). Voila.
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Postby welshscarry » Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:54 am

Great advice already given,
Plus I would add....

Stand up, torso erect, turn your head to left if you're regular, eyes forward. You want to go straight.
Dont' even think about trying to go left or right, (even a little,) until you get a lot more practice.

ALSO, most guys running the lift at the top will slow the lift for you, if you wave at them, do a thumbs down motion .....to indicate you want to go slow on your exit from the chair.
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Postby PamelaDare » Sun Mar 18, 2007 3:17 pm

Great suggestion(s).
Last edited by PamelaDare on Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SteveH » Wed Nov 28, 2007 6:25 pm

I'm a big believer in breaking difficult tasks down into simpler components, then practicing the individual components.

How is getting off the lift different from riding down the hill? 1) the rear foot is unstrapped, and 2) you start from a sitting position. So practice those components away from the lift.

Find a gentle slope, unstrap the rear foot and ride. Try dragging the rear toe and heel to slow down, change direction and stop. Experiment with placement of the rear foot. Walk back up and repeat.

Then find a chair, stump, rock, etc. you can sit on, then practice standing up and riding away.

As a general observation, most folks I see having trouble off the lift don't get their weight far enough forward. The part of the board that is weighted will always head down the hill. If your weight is back (easy to do coming from a seating position) the board wants to turn to put the rear down the hill, you get sideway and fall. Try pushing off the chair and reaching for the tip of the board to force your balance tipward.

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Postby PamelaDare » Fri Nov 30, 2007 1:13 am

How friendly and aware are the staff at Steamboat? Is it normal for a person to ask the lift to be slowed? I understand (now) that some of the lifts are gondola style conveyance and you carry your gear with you but what about the smaller lifts?

Just wondering.
Last edited by PamelaDare on Sat Dec 01, 2007 1:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby wingman » Fri Nov 30, 2007 6:33 pm

When you go up on the gondola, you just stick your board on the outside. So no problem there! You walk out of the building and can strap on about anywhere you can find a spot. Most of the lifts lines at Steamboat aren't long and getting off for the most part is pretty smooth. If you get a chance to go to Morningside Park on the backside, there are nice some runs back there. Another treat is when you ride the lift back up(morningside lift), the birds will land on your hand and eat granola bars. You can even snap some pics. Overall we had a great time at Steamboat. I'm sure you will enjoy yourself.
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Postby Mouse » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:42 pm

:D Thanks everyone. This has been my nemesis since I started. I had a tough time last year though I was on the hill almost every week. Last night, I got to the hill for the first time this year and remembering the things you said here, I had an awsome night. I can't remember a bad dismount in the 4 hrs. For those of you in or around eastern Iowa, Sundown in Dubuque is 100% open but working on the last few things still in the terrain park. Great base, totally groomed trails. The best I have seen at this time of the year since I started boarding and skiing there 3 yrs ago.

Great fun. Thanks

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Postby PamelaDare » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:50 am

Yes, thanks to all. Your comments here have been helpful; I"m looking forward to my first foray this season...at Steamboat next month.

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A tricky lift situation

Postby Rob » Sun Feb 24, 2008 12:47 am

The other day I was riding a lift I had ridden at least six times earlier in the day. On each of those previous six I easily unloaded and rode down the ramp into my J turn toward the lip of the run.

But on the seventh unload an unusual combination of things surprised me and I tumbled down the ramp. Just as we approached the ramp, the lift slowed down enough to start the chair swinging, then it started to go faster at just the right moment to get the pendulum swinging at an even greater amplitude. So just at the point where we were to unload, the chair was now swung far forward of its usual vertical plane and I basically had to jump down to the ramp where I did land on my board, but definitely not in balance. So I tumbled. It was nothing serious, but it took a heavy dose of mindfulness to ignore the lift attendant who rushed out of his glass booth and blamed me for my fall. It's hard to keep your weight on your front foot when the board is not on the snow! :lol:
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Postby snowd0gg » Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:18 pm

Well, if that's the best the liftie could do - jump out of his booth and start blaming people for falling, well, I have some choice words for him! :x

It doesn't sound like there was much you could do in that situation - it was just one of those things. If anyone was at fault, it was probably the lift operator for wildly changing speeds. That's not cool.
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Postby MunkySpunk » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:02 am

My biggest pet peeve is the people who hang out right off the unloading area. They just stand there in the path of everyone else, just like they think they're the only ones who would ever have to unload from the lift. I crashed into a (I'd guess) 14yr old girl yesterday who just parked herself in the snow to strap in right in everyone's way. This also happened to be one of the more insidious unloading gradient/turns I've ever had the displeasure of being on. It's not really an issue if your path is clear, but throw a few Burton/Roxy punks in the way and it's like trying to pilot an out-of-control zamboni through a china shop. She let out a loud shriek as I landed on top of her and all heads turned. Luckily the lift attendant knew what was going on and chewed her a new one for being stupid.
- Old age and treachery always overcome youth and skill
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Postby John » Sun Mar 02, 2008 11:50 am

I'd agree that some off-ramps are worse than others. I'm thinking in particular of Indianhead, Michigan. The one time I was there, some of the ramps were not only icy but also rather steep. That works if you're on skis, but not so much if you're on a board. That's especially true of novices and intermediates.

And I would agree that some people simply need to buy a clue when it comes to an awareness of where they are on the mountain and the implications of that for other people.
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Postby SteveH » Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:46 pm

My "favorite" hairy unload is chair 2 at Loveland. The offload slope is steep and must run 25 yards before you get to a flat area. It's like doing a mini-run with the back foot unstrapped. Of course, people are falling constantly (even skiers can have trouble). Add the facts that it is not detachable so you come off fast and the cable angle is steep so you can't even see what you are going to run into (often literally) until the last second and it's a real recipe for disaster. I've ridden that chair a lot and still get nervous as I get near the top.

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Postby Snowride » Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:17 am

I remember having been completely comfortable on a board for 2 years or more and still uncomfortable with unloading from a chair. I used to have clickers and actually clicked in my back foot while on the chair before unloading. (Some lift operators had a fit!) In actuality, it's only a safty concern if you fall strapped in (but I have NEVER fallen clicked in when getting off the chair.) I am not saying I recommend it, but I've seen it done. It helps, especially for those hairy long steep offloading ramps.
For one foot get-offs, Steve H's idea of practising riding with one foot unstrapped on a flat hill is a really good one. Here are some additional suggestions I have for getting off or unloading from a chair lift:
1. Look up the whole time you unload, do not look at your board.
2. Put ALL your weight on that forward food (left foot for regular riders, right foot for goofy)
3. Go straight. Don't worry about turning until you reach the flat part.
4. Do NOT lean back (translation: regulars: Do NOT lean to the right side; goofies: do NOT lean to your left side)
5. Try to push your forward hip DOWNHILL (regulars, left hip; goofies, right hip) Imagine an invisible patch you have attached on that hip with a string. Pull the string forward towards downhill as you stand up to unload. (Imaginary!!! )
Hope this helps! Applying this stuff has helped me get to a point of completely comfortable when getting off a chair lift.
I'm a snowboarding grandma approaching 60. Got a place at Bear Valley California and would love to hang with others like me.
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