How to Get Off Ski Lift with Snowboard

ski lift snowboard

One of the most intimidating aspects of being a beginner snowboarder is the chair lift. This steady machine comes to pick you up and drop you off, whether you are ready for it or not. And you need to figure it out quickly!

I’m a certified snowboarding instructor who has helped hundreds of students learn the basics of the sport. From basic turning techniques to what gear to wear, I advise whenever and wherever it’s needed. 

This post will address how to get off a ski lift with a snowboard attached to your feet. I have plenty of experience teaching people how to navigate a lift and want to share that here with you. 

Time to get ready to unload!

Initial Considerations

If you have never tried to get off a lift with your snowboard before, you’re most likely going to fall into one of three categories – the process will be easy, you’ll fall your first time, or you’ll pick it up after a bit of practice. 

No matter what happens, the most important thing to keep in mind is that everyone needs to start somewhere. Even the best snowboarders in the world had to learn the basics, and that includes unloading from the lift. 

How to Get Off Ski Lift with Snowboard

The steps below are the process I typically take to help my snowboarding students learn how to get off the ski lift easily. The most important tip I have is that you sometimes just need to go for and figure it out on the fly. 

But follow these steps for a more hands-on approach to the process. 

1. Practice riding with one foot

When you get off the ski lift, you will only have one foot strapped into your board. This allows you to push into the lift line and get on the lift. It also makes it somewhat challenging to get off the lift if you aren’t used to it. 

You can practice your one-foot riding before you get on the lift, which can help you figure out the balance and precision needed to get off of it when you’re ready. Strap your lead foot into the board and leave your back foot loose. 

Find a very slight slope on the snow and practice pushing off to generate a little speed. Place your loose foot in between your bindings and gently ride on your board. Do this a few times to get a feel for it. 

You can also use your loose foot to create drag and slow down your board. This will help you learn how to control the board from the moment you get off the lift until you are ready to sit down and strap in. 

2. Pay Attention and Be Prepared

Once you have practiced a little one-foot riding, you are ready to make your first attempt at getting off the ski lift. The good news is that once you are on the lift, there is only one way to get off of it. 

One of the primary keys to successfully getting off the ski lift is paying attention and being prepared for the moment you need to unload. You don’t want things to sneak up on you because this can cause you to rush or panic. 

When you approach the top of the lift, make sure that you focus on the task at hand. Stop talking to any friends and get yourself prepared. 

3. Get Your Board and Body Ready

Once you are focused on the runway area at the top of the lift, it’s time to get your board and body ready for the maneuver. You’ll want to turn your body slightly so that your board is pointing in the correct direction.

4. Stand Up and Stay Balanced

With your board placed in the right direction and your attention focused on the unloading area, it’s now time to stand up. Most lifts will slow down slightly and have a well-marked line indicating where you should stand up and unload. 

When you cross this point, stand up on your board, and make sure to put your loose foot in between the bindings, so it doesn’t get in the way when you begin to slide down the unloading ramp. 

5. Ride Straight and Get Out of the Way

When you stand up on the board, let the momentum of the ramp and chairlift push you down and out of the way. You want to make sure you are well out of the unloading zone before you stop, slow down, or sit down. 

If you don’t get out of the way, you can cause a log-jam, and other people can fall or have a tough time getting off the lift. Stay balanced on your board, and you can also walk or skate out of the way if you need to. 

6. Don’t Panic if You Fall

If you don’t get the entire process right the first time, don’t worry about it. The lift operators will stop or slow the lift so you can get upright and out of the way. You’ll be going very slowly so you won’t get injured. 

But make sure not to panic or freak out if you fall. Everyone falls at some point trying to get off the lift. If you keep your cool, you’ll be able to get out of the way faster. And you’ll do a better job on your next attempt, guaranteed. 

Final Words

Nearly every student I have ever worked with learns how to get off the ski lift with their snowboard on the first day. They don’t always succeed on the first attempt, but after a few tries, they have it down.

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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