Safety Bar Etiquette/Usage

edited April 28 in NELSAP Forum Posts: 2,392
After some recent discussion on the thread about what states require safety bars, I thought it was time for a new topic. I'm sure we have discussed something similar before, perhaps on the old SJ. What are your thoughts on safety bar usage and etiquette?

Personally, I think it's always a good idea to use a safety bar and it's just stupid not to use it if you have the option of the added safety. Like what was mentioned on the other thread, I don't understand why people put the safety bar up so early when getting close to the top. I often witness people putting up the bar three or more towers before the top. It only takes a couple seconds to put the bar up, so why not keep it down until just before you reach the unload?
- Sam
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Comments

  • DrJeffDrJeff advanced
    Posts: 400
    It's really a no brainer in my book. Load the chair, make sure that everyone on the chair is situated, then I grab the safety bar and say "coming down".... I've never had anyone say "no" when I take the lead like that....

    Similarly as the chair gets near the top terminal (unless I'm on my beloved Bluebird at Mount Snow where the bar goes up by itself), I will grab the safety bar and asking anyone who may be on the chair with me if they're "ready to lift"?

    It's the rule, it's there for our safety.  Crazy things can, and do happen on a chairlift occasionally, end of story in my book
  • CannonballCannonball advanced
    Posts: 253
    The only time I don't like to use the safety bar is on chairs with tightly packed footrests.  On a snowboard some footrests don't allow enough room to get your board up and on to the footrest.  As result the footrest is pushing down on you the whole ride.  Not comfortable! 
  • mtsnow123mtsnow123 advanced
    Posts: 457

    The only time I don't like to use the safety bar is on chairs with tightly packed footrests.  On a snowboard some footrests don't allow enough room to get your board up and on to the footrest.  As result the footrest is pushing down on you the whole ride.  Not comfortable! 

    I can mildly agree with the odd footrests, but is simply requires angling your board to get it on. It's worth the trouble.

    As for putting the bar down, it's there for a reason, use it! I have never had someone say no, if they did, well I would simply say sorry and mention it's the law... in Vermont at least. I have noticed that the general demographic that doesn't put the bar down is younger, under 30, and typically "park rats". I don't know if it's a belief that everything will end up okay for them, or some level of thinking that they are better than the skiing norm. I have taken multiple lifts near terrain parks, where if you don't put the bar down on your own, they don't put it down. It's a bit odd, but it's also weird that they are not wearing helmets. 

    My etiquette: pull the bar down immediately after loading, once your skis/boards leave the ground. If with a group of strangers say coming down or ready. If with friends, simply do a quick visual look to make sure helmets, poles, etc. are out of the way. I am notorious with my friends to be the first bar puller. It gives me a sense of safety and I can lean forward to see others on the chair or look down from the chair.
  • TreillyTreilly advanced
    Posts: 307
    After living in Michigan since 1984 and very few chair lifts have bars I don’t even think of using them when I am on a chair that has one. But if someone else wants to put it down I have no problem with it.
    When I first moved here I found myself grabbing for the bar out of habit. Now I am in the habit of not using one
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,346
    DrJeff said:

    It's really a no brainer in my book. Load the chair, make sure that everyone on the chair is situated, then I grab the safety bar and say "coming down"....




    I agree with DrJeff and take it one step further -- if somebody starts lowering right out of the chute, I hold it up and say "coming down?" or "bar down?" to make sure there's a consensus. I've had idiots lower the bar on my helmet and I push it back up, then say, "ok to come down, everything out of the way?"

    The only chair I'm hesitant to lower the bar on is the ghastly black contraption at Magic, because of the non-human distance between bar and footrest. I'm also afraid to not lower it.

  • shprideshpride intermediate
    Posts: 85
    I typically ski alone.  If I am am on the chair by myself then I put it down, but if I am the odd man out with another group I let them make the decision.  I am typically on the outside seat and then wrap my arm around the chair for my own safety. 

    In the rare occasion I am skiing with someone else then the bar is always put down.   
  • bmwskierbmwskier expert
    Posts: 558
    About twenty years ago patrolling at Holiday Valley, I brought in a teen-aged girl from Tannenbaum. She had fallen 25' off of the chair and narrowly missed the tower footing. She had a compression fracture of T-7. She and her boyfriend had not put down the bar-- she playfully pushed him in the chair and he playfully pushed back-- right out of the chair. She's lucky she was not paralyzed due to the fall. 

    That was a difficult call to make to her parents. 
    "Making ski films is being irresponsible with other people's money, in a responsible sort of way..." 
    Greg Stump
  • z1000307470z1000307470 advanced
    Posts: 152
    mtsnow123 said:

    The only time I don't like to use the safety bar is on chairs with tightly packed footrests.  On a snowboard some footrests don't allow enough room to get your board up and on to the footrest.  As result the footrest is pushing down on you the whole ride.  Not comfortable! 

    I can mildly agree with the odd footrests, but is simply requires angling your board to get it on. It's worth the trouble.

    As for putting the bar down, it's there for a reason, use it! I have never had someone say no, if they did, well I would simply say sorry and mention it's the law... in Vermont at least. I have noticed that the general demographic that doesn't put the bar down is younger, under 30, and typically "park rats". I don't know if it's a belief that everything will end up okay for them, or some level of thinking that they are better than the skiing norm. I have taken multiple lifts near terrain parks, where if you don't put the bar down on your own, they don't put it down. It's a bit odd, but it's also weird that they are not wearing helmets. 

    My etiquette: pull the bar down immediately after loading, once your skis/boards leave the ground. If with a group of strangers say coming down or ready. If with friends, simply do a quick visual look to make sure helmets, poles, etc. are out of the way. I am notorious with my friends to be the first bar puller. It gives me a sense of safety and I can lean forward to see others on the chair or look down from the chair.
    Early bar pullers are the reason I went to a helmet. I get hit in the head at least once a weekend and I am very aware of early bar pullers.
  • CannonballCannonball advanced
    Posts: 253


    mtsnow123 said:

     

    Early bar pullers are the reason I went to a helmet. I get hit in the head at least once a weekend and I am very aware of early bar pullers.

    In the history of skiing I'm positive that more people have been injured by early-bar-pullers than by falling off of lifts. Granted the falls were probably more severe injuries than the concussions and scalp cuts. But still there has to be a happy medium.
  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    edited April 28 Posts: 324

    In the history of skiing I'm positive that more people have been injured by early-bar-pullers than by falling off of lifts. Granted the falls were probably more severe injuries than the concussions and scalp cuts. But still there has to be a happy medium.

    Yup.

    I am a bar up skier. If someone wants it down, no problem. Just give me a "coming down" and give me at least five full seconds after my skis leave the ground to get situated and to lean back and get my helmet out of the way. I've been bonked off the head way too many times, that is far more dangerous to me than any perceived danger of not having the bar down.

    I've never once felt unsafe with the bar up. If it was that big of a safety issue, you'd think more states would have laws and chairs without bars would be banned if they were not retrofitted. I like to have my feet dangling and some foot rests are really uncomfortable whether my skis are on them or not.

    Always pull the bar sideways on the Single, though. And at Smuggs, they'll stop the lift if you don't.
  • Posts: 2,392
    riverc0il said:

    In the history of skiing I'm positive that more people have been injured by early-bar-pullers than by falling off of lifts. Granted the falls were probably more severe injuries than the concussions and scalp cuts. But still there has to be a happy medium.

    Yup.

    I am a bar up skier. If someone wants it down, no problem. Just give me a "coming down" and give me at least five full seconds after my skis leave the ground to get situated and to lean back and get my helmet out of the way. I've been bonked off the head way too many times, that is far more dangerous to me than any perceived danger of not having the bar down.

    I've never once felt unsafe with the bar up. If it was that big of a safety issue, you'd think more states would have laws and chairs without bars would be banned if they were not retrofitted. I like to have my feet dangling and some foot rests are really uncomfortable whether my skis are on them or not.

    Always pull the bar sideways on the Single, though. And at Smuggs, they'll stop the lift if you don't.

    That's because it's actually a law in VT that the bar has to be used. I wish more states followed suit. I know at many areas, lifties and/or ski patrol will give you a good chewing out for not using the bar if they notice, I know that's often the case at Bradford.
    - Sam
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 2,220
    riverc0il said:

    In the history of skiing I'm positive that more people have been injured by early-bar-pullers than by falling off of lifts. Granted the falls were probably more severe injuries than the concussions and scalp cuts. But still there has to be a happy medium.

    Yup.

    I am a bar up skier. If someone wants it down, no problem. Just give me a "coming down" and give me at least five full seconds after my skis leave the ground to get situated and to lean back and get my helmet out of the way. I've been bonked off the head way too many times, that is far more dangerous to me than any perceived danger of not having the bar down.

    I've never once felt unsafe with the bar up. If it was that big of a safety issue, you'd think more states would have laws and chairs without bars would be banned if they were not retrofitted. I like to have my feet dangling and some foot rests are really uncomfortable whether my skis are on them or not.

    Always pull the bar sideways on the Single, though. And at Smuggs, they'll stop the lift if you don't.
    I'm with riverc0il on this one.  The exceptions:
    1. If I'm wearing a mountain uniform
    2. If there are young people (teenage and under) on a chair with me
    3. If I am in a state (such as VT) where "bar-down" is the law
    4. If it is exceptionally windy
  • NELSBEERNELSBEER advanced
    Posts: 283
    Being a patroller I do a lot of loads in a year & get lots of practice with the bar. 

    I've settled on getting my hands on the bar first and slowly lowering it while asking "Everyone Clear?". By maintaining control of the bar I (& everyone else) don't get hit.

    Maybe the red coat and cross cuts down on comments but I can just smile & say "We have to set a good example." 

    A few good tales of carnage, wind blowing kids off of icy seats and the like can seal the deal if necessary.

    Wind will frequently convince people to keep the bar down near the top, I do like the bar up sooner than the last tower so that I can make sure that my poles are loose & to have time to make sure skis and snowboards are clear of each other.  
  • newmannewman advanced
    Posts: 455
    I remember at Mountain Creek. Boyfriend and girlfriend riding with the bar up. Something happened and she started to fall. As she was slipping, she tried to grab on to him. The both ended up falling.
  • newmannewman advanced
    Posts: 455
    One of my first days skiing I was riding up the chair at the beginner area Craigmuer NJ. The snow in one spot below the lift had a big red spot. I asked a patrol about it. I wondered if someone crashed skiing. She told me the guy fell from the chair. He didn't have his bar down. That got etched into my mind as a new skier. I will be the guy who always says, you ready for me to put the bar down? I do hate it when someone just slams it down and doesn't alert the others!
  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 2,177
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • marcskimarcski advanced
    Posts: 274
    This year a bunch of ski patrollers at Plattekill started saying:  "There is only one rule at Platty, put the bar down!"
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 2,220
    marcski said:

    This year a bunch of ski patrollers at Plattekill started saying:  "There is only one rule at Platty, put the bar down!"

    "put the bar down?" OK.  Hey, the drinks at this bar are too small.  Hey the selection of beers here is limited.  The bar tender is typhoid Mary...  Now that's putting the bar down!
  • Posts: 2,392
    So, if you don't put the bar down while riding alone, what is your reasoning for not doing so? I know a couple have mentioned that footrests are uncomfortable, but what about the rest of you?
    - Sam
  • SullySully intermediate
    Posts: 63
    My opinion on this varies a lot. In Switzerland this winter that bar was going down FAST, those lifts are scary as f@# and the Alps definitely instill much more of a sense of danger all around. Coming back to little Vermont "hills" I'm much less worried about just everything in general. But, it's more comfortable to go without with a board sometimes. I'm a 50/50 guy for putting the bar down alone, but if there's a munchkin getting on the chair or really a kid at all I'm pretty aggressive with getting the bar down just for their safety. If I'm alone and it's windy bar goes down, if it's a long ride like Attitash Summit Triple long bar goes down but maybe only some of the ride. On these new bubble lifts they're much more comfortable so I put it down more I feel like. Overall though if I'm alone and it's a calm gorgeous day I'm fine with the bar up, I'm not pushing myself off now am I...
  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    Posts: 324

    So, if you don't put the bar down while riding alone, what is your reasoning for not doing so? I know a couple have mentioned that footrests are uncomfortable, but what about the rest of you?

    You presume there needs to be a reason. There doesn't need to be a reason to not do something. I guess that makes me a ski bar nihilist. Well, I'm kinda a nihilist in general any ways, so I guess that makes sense!
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 2,220
    riverc0il said:

    So, if you don't put the bar down while riding alone, what is your reasoning for not doing so? I know a couple have mentioned that footrests are uncomfortable, but what about the rest of you?

    You presume there needs to be a reason. There doesn't need to be a reason to not do something. I guess that makes me a ski bar nihilist. Well, I'm kinda a nihilist in general any ways, so I guess that makes sense!
    +1
  • NELSBEERNELSBEER advanced
    edited April 29 Posts: 283
    ..so wear a helmet and pull the safety bar down only on your last run, cuz everyone knows that is when all the accidents happen.

    ... and Joshua, you need to visit the bar more often the draft taps are virtually all craft & good beers.
  • njskibabenjskibabe intermediate
    Posts: 96
    I always pull the safety bar down if no one else does. I also say "watch your head - bar coming down", No one has complained.
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 2,220
    NELSBEER said:

    ...

    ... and Joshua, you need to visit the bar more often the draft taps are virtually all craft & good beers.
    I only did what I was asked to do: "Put the bar down".  Not to drink!
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,346

    NELSBEER said:


    ... and Joshua, you need to visit the bar more often the draft taps are virtually all craft & good beers.
    I only did what I was asked to do: "Put the bar down".  Not to drink!

    I think you did a terrific job of putting the bar down!    although I have to admit it took me a second or two 
    ;)

  • pagamonypagamony advanced
    edited April 30 Posts: 148
    maybe we are just setting the bar low - no barriers to admission to the bar.

    I am going to vote AGAINST foot rests.  My legs are just too long and it is a first world p.i.t.a. to deal with it.  So if I am solo I often don't pull the down the bar.  I love safety bars without foot rests, I can still hook my open hand poles on them.  Like Sully, above, some spans tell me 'put down the bar you fool.


  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 2,220
    pagamony said:

    maybe we are just setting the bar low - no barriers to admission to the bar.


    I am going to vote AGAINST foot rests.  My legs are just too long and it is a first world p.i.t.a. to deal with it.  So if I am solo I often don't pull the down the bar.  I love safety bars without foot rests, I can still hook my open hand poles on them.  Like Sully, above, some spans tell me 'put down the bar you fool.


    Very few new lifts still have footrests.
  • PeterPeter intermediate
    Posts: 74

    pagamony said:

    maybe we are just setting the bar low - no barriers to admission to the bar.


    I am going to vote AGAINST foot rests.  My legs are just too long and it is a first world p.i.t.a. to deal with it.  So if I am solo I often don't pull the down the bar.  I love safety bars without foot rests, I can still hook my open hand poles on them.  Like Sully, above, some spans tell me 'put down the bar you fool.


    Very few new lifts still have footrests.
    It was exacly 50-50 last year.
  • SullySully intermediate
    Posts: 63
    No footrest=useless and frustrating to me with a board. Yeah I can do the back foot under the heel edge to hold it up but that blows. Just make a normal bar like was the case for the last 20 years. It's the real old chairs like Heavy Metal at Snow that have a comfort issue being too small of a bar drop.
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