Tips for Ski Lift Safety

Ski areas across the Vermont are committed to lift safety and helping educate guests about the skills necessary to load and unload lifts safely. 

The Vermont Department of Labor’s Passenger Tramway program seeks to prevent hazards in the construction, operation and maintenance of ski lifts and tramways. The Tramway division inspects the construction, operation and maintenance of ski lifts assuring that skiers and snowboarders have a safe journey up Vermont’s mountains.

For skiers and riders, it is also important to understand the important role you play in the safety of yourself and others. Ski Vermont emphasizes the Your Responsibliity Code, which outlines key points in order to safely enjoy a day at the mountain. Check out more safety information from Ski Vermont through the link below. 

Ski Vermont Additional Resources

Safety Tips for Riding Ski Lifts 

  • Before loading a lift, make sure you know how to safely load, ride and unload. Watch others first and ask questions. Ask for help if you need it or ask the lift attendant to slow the lift down.
  • Remove your pole straps from your wrists and hold them in one hand or take your back foot out of your snowboard binding.
  • Line up and get ready at the “Wait Here” sign or line on the snow.
  • When it’s your turn, move from the “Wait Here” line to the “Load Here” line.
  • At the “Load Here” line, turn and look behind you to locate the chair. When it arrives, sit on the seat. It will keep moving. Make sure your seat and back are all the way to the back of the chair: sit back to back and seat to seat.
Back to Back, Seat to Seat

Sit on the chair seat and put your back against the back of the chair.. Little kids with shorter legs will naturally want to sit on the edge of the seat and bend their knees. This is not a safe position. When you get on the lift with a small child, pull the child all the way back into the seat, or ask a lift operator to help you by pulling them tight against the seat from behind.

Take Your Time

Even if a lift line is long, if you or your child are not ready to move out and get on, let the chair go by. Also, never hesitate to ask the lift operator to slow a fast fixed grip lift, if you need more time. In the end, getting on the lift safely saves time for everyone.

Best Behavior

Chairlifts are fun and exciting. Most kids love them. Chairlifts are a great place to tell stories, laugh at jokes, and sing songs. Don't take risks on the chairlift, or allow your children to do so. Wiggling, bouncing, and turning around to wave at others in the next chair isn’t safe. Neither is rocking the chair or trying to touch the lift poles.

For parents, its important to model good behavior and explain to your kids why leaning way out over the bar (for example) is a bad idea. Chairlifts are always moving, so teach your child to move with the lift, not in some other direction.

The Restraint Bar

Always bring down the restraint bar. Before you lower the bar, make sure your child is safely seated and then ask others if they’re ready for the bar. Teach older kids to do the same.

Getting Off

Raise the bar when prompted by signs, make sure you have all your belongings, stand up by the 'Unload Here' sign, push yourself off the lift and ski away from the lift, clearing the unload area. If your child needs help, hold their arm or hand and ski together, side-by-side. And if someone falls, get the lift operator’s attention. They’ll help you get out of the way, safely.


Additional Resources


Content from this page sourced from Ski Vermont, National Ski Areas Association, Kids on Lifts, High Five Foundation, Colorado Ski Country USA and Ski California. 

Contact Information

COVID-19 Update: Department of Labor regional offices are currently operating with limited times for in-person services due to COVID-19 and staffing limitations. To see when your local office is open for in-person services click here.

Vermont Department of Labor
5 Green Mountain Drive
P.O. Box 488
Montpelier, 05601-0488
(802) 828-4000

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