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Here are some tips for staying safe on the chairlift with your family this ski season

Technical Safety BC has recommendations for how you can ensure your kids ride safe on the chairlifts this winter.
Chairlift Safety. Photo: iStock.

Passenger behaviour is the single greatest source of chairlift-related injury in B.C., with approximately 60% of incidents resulting from unsafe behaviour and lack of knowledge.

If you’re planning on heading up to the mountain for your very first family ski trip, knowing how to keep your kids safe when loading onto, riding on, and unloading from a chairlift is paramount.

Here are some key chairlift safety tips for you and your family to know this ski season:


First of all, make sure that your child removes their pole straps from their wrists and remind them to point the ski tips down and forward. Next, check that they have secured any loose items—backpacks can be held on your lap or placed on the seat next to your children once boarded.

When your whole family is ready, move up to the marked load line and watch out for the approaching chairlift. Allow your child to load next to the chairlift operator for added support.

If your child falls down, have them stay down until the operator instructs them to get up—this way, they won’t get struck by the moving lift overhead.

If your family is late in boarding, do not rush in and risk getting hit by the chair— wait for the next chair.

Chairlift Safety. Photo provided by Technical Safety BC.


Once properly boarded, make sure your child is sitting back to back on the chair — this will prevent them from slipping off the edge of their seat. If you have a very young child, make sure they’re also seated close to the middle of the chairlift or in-between adults.

As the chair leaves the station, begin to lower the restraining bar—while letting your family members know before you lower it.

While riding, watch your child carefully and discourage them from swinging, bouncing, leaning forward, turning around, or reaching out of the lift while riding. It’s your responsibility as a parent to ensure that your child rides in a safe and responsible manner.


When preparing to exit the chairlift, raise the restraining bar—and once again inform your family before moving the bar—once you reach the instructional sign.

Make sure that your child keeps the tips of their skis or snowboard up as you approach the unload point. Also at this point, go over the proper unloading steps with your child—which is to stand up, go down the ramp, and clear the unloading zone.

Remind your child that if they miss their chance to unload at the correct point, they should stay seated on the chair. The operator will stop the lift and assist them in unloading safely. Tell your child that at any point of riding a chairlift, they can always ask a lift operator for help.

By following these tips, you and your kids will avoid preventable accidents and enjoy peace of mind on the ski hills all winter long!

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