Seasonal cues about queuing —waiting in line for a lift
Every winter right about now, I start to think about our annual March ski trip to the Canadian Rockies. This year, with Vancouver’s Olympics only a heartbeat away, thoughts of “schussing” came a little earlier.
Although I now consider myself a true Torontonian, sadly, the ski locations close to home are less than ideal. Typically, the queue for a chairlift means a minimum 20-minute wait on weekends. And whoosh, the run is so short you’re back in line two minutes later.
But over the years, I’ve realized that skiers everywhere, when forced to move at a snail’s pace as they wait in lift lines, become cold and cranky folks. Sometimes, these skiers rise to the occasion with truly nice behaviour and other times they disappoint; simply put, they’re not so nice. So with skiing on my mind, here’s a shortlist of suggestions to help keep the queue moving, minimize the impatience factor and keep everyone safe. Remember ski instructors with one or more students have priority and always move to the front of the line.
- Pick up the pole — or glove dropped by someone standing in line beside you.
- Offer to help — the parent right in front of you who’s struggling with two kiddies.
- Say hello — acknowledge the single joining you and your group for the ride up.
- Smile — when another skier apologizes for inadvertently knocking your skis.
- Step aside — to let friends ride together BEFORE you reach the loading area.
- No butting in —never cut the line, doesn’t matter how young or old you are.
- Keep the line moving — avoid pile-ups and climb aboard, even when your friend didn’t make the same chair.
- No smoking! Please don’t lineup and light up.
- Swearing and bad language — strictly verboten.
- Keep your skis on snow — don’t step on the tails of your neighbour’s skis.
Ski instructors spend all day “on snow” — or on lifts. I recently caught up with a ski instructor for a chair-side chat and some tips to ensure a safe ride:
- Line bashing or line cutting is an accident waiting to happen. Be patient.
- Respect the lift operator and always do what he asks. Remember, he’s the expert.
- When loading, always hold your poles vertically with the inside hand. At most resorts, regulations prohibit riding with straps on.
- When loading on the outside of a 4 or 6-pack, keep your eyes away from your seatmate — and turned to the outside bar so you’re ready to grab it.
And finally, as the chair starts to climb, keep these rules in mind —
Rule #1: Remain still. Tapping your feet together to remove snow could result in a dropped ski.
Rule #2: Keep your gloves on! It’s a long way back down the mountain with one glove. Or none.
And finally, relax; enjoy the view.
When my husband and I are at Lake Louise, the gondolas and numerous chairs keep the lines moving but when we ski the Laurentians or Camp Fortune near Ottawa, the wait is longer and I keep myself entertained with the passing fashion show. Remember that what works for kids, may be out of place on adults — funky hats come to mind. And please, no jeans on the slopes.
Here’s an article on ski fashion I really enjoyed:
Personally I always wear a helmet and underneath, a lightweight toque —when the weather’s cold. Not great for my hair, so I always have a backup cap for lunch and après-ski. Yes, that’s me at Lake Louise, Alberta.