ByKristen Lummis, braveskimom.com
Its an almost universal response: parents get nervous when their little ones begin riding chairlifts.
Yes, the lifts are up in the air, and yes, the kids are little. But that doesnt mean you have to worry about your kids when they take a ski lift.With some common sense, and a few basic tips, its easy to teach your kids basic chairlift safety.
Back to Back, Seat to Seat
A ski instructor favorite, this one is easy for kids to understand. Teach them to put their back against the back of the chair and to their seat in the chairs seat.Little kids have short legs, so they naturally want to sit on the edge of the seat and bend their knees. This is not a safe position. When you get on the lift with a small child, pull the child all the way back into the seat, or ask a lift operator to help you by pulling them tight against the seat from behind.
Take Your Time
Even if a lift line is long, if you or your child are not ready to move out and get on, let the chair go by. Also, never hesitate to ask the lift operator to slow a fast fixed grip lift, if one of you is nervous. In the end, getting on the lift safely saves time for everyone.
Chairlifts are fun and exciting. Most kids love them. Chairlifts are a great place to tell stories, laugh at jokes, and sing songs. You can even eat snacks on them. But you dont want your children taking risks on a chairlift.Wiggling, bouncing, and turning around to wave at the kids in the next chair isnt safe. Neither is rocking the chair or trying to touch the lift poles.
While we parents cant control what our kids do when theyre riding without us, its important to model good behavior and explain to your kids why leaning way out over the bar (for example) is a bad idea.Chairlifts are always moving and you want to teach your child to move with the lift, not in some other direction.
In my opinion, nothing causes quite as much confusion as bringing down the bar, especially if youre trying to help a child get seated when someone else is lowering it.So before you bring down the bar, make sure your child is seated and safe, and then ask everyone else if theyre ready for the bar. Teach your older kids to do the same.
Of all the elements involved in riding a lift, getting off is the easiest. You know the drill: raise the bar when prompted by signs, make sure you have all your belongings, stand up by the Unload Here sign and ski away.If your child needs help, hold their arm or hand and ski together, side-by-side. And if someone falls, get the lift operators attention. Theyll help you get out of the way, safely.