Skiing & Snowboarding in Utah

Pickled Think

Deer Valley

Park City Mountain

The Canyons





Confessions of a Nastar Junkie

Ohhh Nooo - Not More Snow

The Plight of PSIA

Why Skiing Isn't Like Sex

Refresh Your Mountain Etiquette

They're Only Whim'in

How Do You Make A Girl Happy On Valentine's Day?

Orrin Hatch and the Cask of Amontillado

Bow to the Kings and Queens of World Cup


Wild Utah



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Lift line etiquette is pretty easy. The first rule of thumb is BE POLITE. You should take the same tone of manners that you would at a very fancy restaurant. You should be courteous at the mouth of line by making an instant decision: Am I ready to get on the lift, or do I need to wait? If you are ready, take your place at the end of the lift line and move along with it. If you need to wait for someone, find a place out of the way of the lift line. The bottom of the ski run and the entrance to the lift line are all about flow. If you're standing anywhere close to the mouth of the lift line, or in it, (but not moving with the line), you are in the way and disrupting flow. This is impolite. Give the people who are ready to get on the lift a wide berth to enter the line. Allow them to go ahead of you; and definitely don't wait for someone within the corrals of the line.

Once you have made the decision to enter the line, again, be courteous. Whether the line is short or long, be considerate by moving at the pace of the line. Don't try to cut, don't duck under any lines (only occasionally is this acceptable), don't try to move faster than the person in front of you and please, please don't touch your skis to anyone else's skis. The skis are an extension of the body. Touching your skis to someone else's skis is rude. In fact, don't let the tips of your skis pass beyond the tails of the person 's skis in front of you. Be in control of your equipment. If there is no resort employee to militarize the lift lines, use good judgment. Just like in auto traffic, use the zipper technique: this side goes then the other side goes. Alternate. It's better form to be polite than to fight your way onto the lift (like they do in Europe).

If the lines are huge, you'll need to be ready. The key in large lines is to load the maximum number of people on each chair. It's good form to ask singles to join you, and can often result in wonderful conversation. This is especially so when mixing opposite sexes.

Follow the directions of the "lift line Nazi" if there is one present; the resort put him or her there for very good reasons. Move briskly when called for, and don't pull any funny stuff. Many times, the lift line Nazi is under a lot of stress trying to control a bunch people who are spending giant sums of money to have fun. People get anxious in lift lines. Take the stress out for everyone by doing your part. Short, friendly comments to the lift line Nazi will lighten the situation every time. Thank-yous are always good.

If the lines are very small (like no one is waiting in the line), you can try to garner a "private chair." You may just get lucky, but if at the last second someone attempts to ride along, politely ask if you could have the chair to yourselves. Most times people will let you, but it's at their discretion; again, conversation is nice with extra people. On four and six-pack chairlifts, private chairs for the two or three people in your party are a true luxury; but never try to gain a private chair if there are people waiting in line. It's simply rude. The need is to move people up the mountain-not cater to your whims (that's what your ski run is for).

One of the few exceptions to moving through lift lines is if you are a "single." This means you are by yourself-it's bad form to pretend you're by yourself when you're actually skiing with someone else. When you are truly single, you may enter the singles line if there is one, or you may move through the line with everyone else. The best way to do this is to look for someone you would be interested to ride with. Attractive members of the opposite sex (or same sex, if you're into it) are fair game. You can politely ask, "Do you have room for another?" or "Can I ride with you?" If no one rings your bell in the line, you can bend the rules a little bit to get on the lift a little faster. Once you get close to the take-off point and see a party with an open spot, you can say something to the people in front of you like, "I'm a single; would you mind if I slip through here to ride with those people?" If the people are polite, they should let you through; they should also be interested in lift line flow and moving the maximum number of people up the mountain.

Once aboard, don't even consider dropping the safety bar/footrest without first gaining the approval of everyone on the chair (unless you're in Vermont, in which case, it's the law). I personally hate lift bars/foot rests. At Park City Mountain, there are four six-person chairlifts; total strangers assume everyone wants the bar all the time. This is not the rule of thumb.

It's polite to say hello once you're off, although participating in small talk is individual choice. No point reduction if you decide to stay quiet.

When you get off the chairlift, get the hell out of the way. The unloading area should stay clear for at least 50 feet beyond the chair. If you're hanging out in there, you're being impolite and possibly creating hazards. This area should look just like the end of the lift line at the bottom; there are people moving through, but no one is just hanging out or standing in the way.

After you get off the chair and get out of the way, the mountain is your playground. This is your time to appease your whims and enjoy yourself. Skiing can be done in the company of others, but it is not a tandem sport; it's all you, and you get to go pretty much wherever you want.

If you need to buckle your boots, I hate to keep nagging on the politeness of it all, but don't stop in the middle of the run. If you or your group needs to stop, move all the way over to the side (but not below a hill where people can't see you). This should be your safe zone. Get out of everyone's way, and they shouldn't ski too close to you.

On the slope, the Colorado Ski Act of 1976 says THE DOWNHILL SKIER HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY. Most resorts have adopted this, and it is printed on the back of your lift ticket. This is always the case, as we all look downhill to ski. The downhill skier doesn't often look up to see what's coming, so the UPHILL SKIER IS ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE for avoiding a mess. It doesn't matter if someone has stopped, or they are still moving; THE DOWNHILL SKIER HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY. This is the law, and times have changed as you can now be civilly and criminally prosecuted for not adhering to this law (jail time and millions of dollars can be ordered by a court). It's not just polite, it 's the law. Know it and live by it.

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