Tips for a Better Chair Ride

The biggest frustration for any skier or rider is a slow chair ride. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing empty chairs heading uphill while you stand in line, or multiple stops while on the line! There are many things that you can do to help reduce this. First and foremost: Pay attention. Considered “heavy machinery” by labor codes, a chair lift requires everyone to be aware of what is around them and to be prepared to load or unload when it is your time. Common problems we see are: talking on cell phones, adjusting ipods, and just plain inattention – after spending a lot of time in the lift line this is the time when you should be most aware and not distracted.

Correctly using a maze is the best way to get full chairs loaded. You will be required to use a self alternating system and merge into the appropriate sized groups. Last to join are the singles. As a single; ask groups how many they have and join them – as a group; tell the singles when you have space. Lastly – do not wait for friends near the load area or in the main part of the maze – you are in the way, no matter how small you try and make yourself. Instead, wait at the entrance for your friends to catch up before entering the lanes.

The less often a chair stops or slows, the more runs we all get! See you on the hill………….

Editor’s Note: James Grant is the Director of Lift Operations at Heavenly Mountain Resort. Originally from Australia, James first worked at Heavenly in December of 1992 and has worked every winter since (this is his 18th winter) in Lift Operations. He has been at Heavenly and Lake Tahoe year round for 16 years. As the Director of Lift Operations, he oversees the daily operation of all lifts (including the Gondola) and the lift crew that staff them – in peak season this is approximately 170 people.

Although not from a strong skiing family, James gravitated to ski resort work in Australia in the early 90’s and never looked back! James plays Hockey and Soccer in local adult leagues and coaches his daughter’s soccer team. As an avid snowboarder; James says he can ski but “it’s not pretty”.



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