To know everything about the use of ski lifts

The Association des stations de ski du Québec has launched the ski resorts safety awareness campaign “Bon skieur, bon joueur.” Several themes will be addressed over the coming weeks, but to kick things off on the mountain, we chose to chat with François Couture, our lift supervisor.

The first thing we wanted to know: what are the instructions most often repeated by lift staff? “There are several…” begins François. “Some instructions may seem obvious, but the staff always repeat to watch the chair coming up so you don’t get caught, to sit well back on the bench and to lower the bar.”

As a rule, all goes well, but it’s when distractions come into play that things get tricky! “We often see customers who stop moving forward, cell phone in hand, after passing through the gate. They’re distracted, and that’s when they get pushed by the chair, get caught and slide into a very tight space between the other skiers,” explains François.

Can you also be surprised when boarding a magic carpet? “For the magic carpets on the Pente-École, we only ask customers to remove their wrist straps and detach their harness, which connects them to the toddlers. But this applies to all lifts,” explains François.”It’s vital to avoid any straps getting caught in the lift, whether on a harness, a piece of clothing or a backpack. That’s why we always ask skiers to remove a shoulder strap from their backpack, so that they can free themselves if they get caught.”

Are there also instructions to ensure the safety of users once they are in the air? Because, as we all know, some chairlift lines are very high! So what do you do if the chairlift is stopped? “Remaining seated in the chair is the safest thing to do!” says François. “If the chair has just left the platform or is about to arrive at the unloading area, the best idea is still to stay seated and keep the bar down. If, unfortunately, the stop is extended, station employees will go around the entire line with a megaphone to inform customers of the next steps. By the way, you have to remain seated in the gondolas too. Too often, people forget that it’s a vehicle, on a cable, that can stop quickly, so no matter whether you’re in a chair or a gondola, the watchword is to stay in your seat!”

In conclusion, if you’re skiing for the first time, get informed before you take the chairlift, or take a ski lesson! You can even try it out on our practice chair near Chalet Soleil.

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