7 Steps to Chairlift Civility

by Dan Giesin | February 6, 2018

For the past couple of decades, January has been declared snow safety month, and the National Ski Areas Association has done a great job in getting the word out.
Their seven-step Responsibility Code — stay in control, recognize right of way, stop in safe places, observe signs and warnings, etc. — is omnipresent in resorts throughout the United States, and perhaps skiers and snowboarders are heeding the advice. Because it seems to me that snowsports enthusiasts are frolicking on the slopes with a little more awareness of their surroundings than was common in the late 20th century.
However, there is one place at ski resorts where etiquette and courtesy seem to have fallen by the wayside, and that’s the lift line and its extension, the chair ride itself. The most mundane and blasé aspect of any ski resort has become, at times, a simmering pot of bonehead stew.
Whether through ignorance, stupidity or just plain indifference, there’s a subset of skiers and snowboarders who can make getting back up the hill a real challenge.
So, following in the steps of the NSAA, here is my seven-step Chairlift Code:
Don’t be a blockhead
How many times have you come up to the head of the maze and there’s some goofball standing sideways, their skis or board blocking at least three entrances? If you aren’t ready to enter the maze, please move off to the side.
Unstrap early
This pertains to snowboarders who enter the maze with both boots securely attached to their bindings and then stop in mid-maze to unstrap — often with the board sideways — causing the flow of traffic to come to a screeching halt. Please get out your binding well before entering the maze (and don’t be a blockhead either).
Don’t clog the arteries
One of the great joys of skiing and snowboarding is riding with one’s friends and family. But if there’s one slowpoke in your crew, don’t wait for him or her in the lift line — or more egregiously, at the boarding point. Please collect yourselves well before entering the maze.
Silence is golden
You might enjoy listening to your favorite tunes while banging the bumps, shredding the pow or scarfing the gnar — and maybe it even enhances your performance — but not everybody has your taste in music. So please, turn off your backpack stereo system while in the lift line and on the chair.
Watch your tongue
F-bombs and other colorful forms of expression have lost some of their bite in recent years, and have even gained common everyday usage among most facets of society. But they are still crude and vulgar words and phrases, and ugly to the ear. So please, keep your language at the rated PG level.
But me no butts
You rarely see anyone smoking in the lift line any more, but once the seats are on the chair, the butts come out. Whether the smoke of choice is tobacco or weed, vaped or otherwise, it’s no fun being on the same chair — or the one behind — and having to encounter second-hand smoke. So please, light up in designated areas only.
Use the trash can
Ever notice that at the top of most lifts, there’s a plastic trash container? There’s a reason for that: No one wants to see the resort’s pristine slopes littered with detritus casually tossed from the chair. So please, deposit your chewing gum (and/or wrappers), cigarette butts, empty soda bottles and beer cans or whatever at the proper locale.

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