Lifts On Piste – Different Types of Ski and Snow Resort Lifts


Imagine how unpleasant your Skiing or Snowboarding experience would be if you had to walk up the slope after every run. You would easily get tired and probably quit altogether. This is why Snow Resorts have lifts to help you to the start of a run again. There are Different Types of Lifts for various purposes. In this section, we will look at some of the Most Common Types of Lifts and how they should be used by both Skiers and Snowboarders.

Surface Lifts


Surface Lifts are used for shorter distances and on gentler slopes. They are the first Kind of Lifts that you will encounter when you start learning how to ski or snowboard. Skiers can keep both Skis attached, snowboarders keep their front foot attached and have their back foot lose. There are Different Kinds of Surface Lifts but they all work pretty similarly:

  • Rope Tows
    They are the simplest Surface Lifts and consist of a loop of rope with knots that move around and around. When your turn comes up, move into position and let the rope run through your hands loosely. As a knot approaches grab the rope. Make sure to lean a bit backward so you won’t flip forward as you grab the rope. Now just keep hold of the rope as it moves you up.
  • J- and T-Bars
    This is a Rotating Lift where there are wires running above the slope. Attached to the cable are many bars that you can grab. The bars are called either J- or T-Bars depending on their shape. With J-Bars you can grab the bar and place it behind you. In this way you don’t have to use your hands to hold onto the bar – you can just let the bar push you forward. T-Bars are quite similar to the J-Bars. Only it is designed to hold two people at the same time. Even though J- and T-Bars look a bit like chairs, make sure not to lean on them too much or you will fall.
  • Poma Lifts
    This Type of Surface Lift is similar to J- and T-Bars but they work with a platter wherein skiers can place it between their legs.

You will need to skate into position with your front foot attached. As you grab the rope, bar, or platter, make sure to lean a bit backward so the sudden pull does not flip you over. As opposed to skiers, snowboarders will not automatically be facing the direction they are going. Hold the rope, bar, or platter in a way that keeps the pull coming from your front. Keep your Snowboard pointing in the same direction and put your weight on your front foot. You will notice how longer surface Lift Rides can be very tiring.



Chairlifts are the Most Common Lifts on many Snow Resorts. Skiers can keep both skis attached when riding Chairlifts. Snowboarders, on the other hand, should keep their front foot attached and have their back foot loose.

How to Ride On a Chairlift

  1. To Ride On a Chairlift, stand in line in front of the Chairlift. A simple gate system makes sure that only the designated number of people gets on at a time. This is usually between 2-6 persons per chairlift.
  2. As the gate opens, slide forward and wait for the Chairlift to come from behind while looking back.
  3. You will gently be swooped into the chairs.
  4. Once you’re lift off, you and the other people in the Chairlift should lower a bar that will support your feet and will keep you from falling out.
  5. Now you can rest and enjoy the ride.

How to Get Out of a Chairlift

Getting out of the Chairlift is quite similar to riding on it – only in reverse.

  1. As you approach the exit platform, Lift the top bar together with the others in your Chairlift and get ready to unload the Chairlift.
  2. Put down your Snowboard or Skis and let them glide over the landing platform.
  3. Stand up while keeping your balance and slide away from the landing platform. Always make sure to move a safe distance away from the landing platform. This will keep other people from bumping against you when you exit the Lift.

As with most Lifts, it is usually slightly trickier for Snowboarders to get on and off a Chairlift. When getting on a Chairlift, you will need to skate your way to the take off platform. Make sure you have some skating skills before you try this. Exiting the Chairlift is the hardest part since you have to place your Snowboard on the landing platform with your front foot, place your backfoot next to your Snowboard Binding, and then stand up. Skate away from the landing platform.

It will help if you have a These are the largest, most comfortable Lifts. Both skiers and snowboarders take off their skis or snowboard and either bring it with them inside the cabin or attach them outside the cabin in special brackets.

These Lifts come in many sizes from small cabines to large gondolas that can carry entire crowds up the mountain. Stepping in and out of these is as easy as getting in and out of a normal Lift. Just make sure to know in advance if you are supposed to take your gear with you or leave it outside.

Learning how to get on and off the lifts would be tiresome at first. But soon, you will get used to it. You would look forward to every ride in the lift because that means another run on the slope. Familiarize yourself with the different types of Ski and Snow Resort Lifts to get an idea on how to use them.