Surely everyone knows the ins and outs of basic line etiquette. You go to the grocery store, you select the necessary items for that Pinterest dinner you are going to perfectly recreate, and you get in line and wait your turn to check out.

Lift lines and chairlifts, however, are very different. Over the past few months of holiday crowds and Front Range powder rushes, it’s clear that not everyone knows what they are doing when it comes to this ominous procedure. Quite simply there are several ways to do it wrong.

Here are a 7 helpful hints to get chairlift etiquette right:

Feel the Rhythm, Feel the Rhyme

Take it easy – you’re already skiing and winning. Head into the line nice and easy; pay attention to your place in line to figure out the alternation and flow of people. Some resorts will station lifites to guard the gates and help ensure that every lane alternates; others let you fend for yourself. There is high karma at altitude, so play nice.


Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

If you hear someone calling out ‘SINGLE!’ in your general direction, it’s not an observation on your current demeanor, that bloke is simply trying to find a buddy. When heading into a lift line, buddy up. Joining the group of two ahead of you to make a full chair of four is super efficient and gets everyone up the hill faster.

No Butts Please

Yes, it is true, smoking marijuana is legal here in the great state of Colorado, but contrary to popular belief, not everyone smokes. If you do, great and if you don’t, great. Either way, please keep your butts and blunts to yourself and breathe in that fresh mountain air while you are waiting in line and on the chair. Keep it fresh and breezy.

Speak Up

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Photo courtesy of

The bar on the chairlift is a wonderful invention. We all can agree that chairlifts are way up there and it can be scary to a first time skier, a long time veteran or parents with young ones in tow. What is not understandable is hurling the bar down seconds after my ski bum has hit the seat. Slow your roll Jerry; give everyone a few minutes to get his or her bearings. Before you pull down the bar, say something. “Is everyone ready? Bars-a-coming.” “Can I put the bar down?” “Can we all get locked and loaded?” All of these phrases combined with the right amount of eye contact (don’t make it weird) should do the job. No one will get smacked in the back of the head and everyone gets up safe.

Jets or Sharks

Pick a side, left or right. Which way you go doesn’t really matter. If you rode the singles line and your crew is behind you, make an executive decision and unload heading left or right. Stopping smack dab in the middle of the down load ramp will lead to two inevitable things: one, you will get hit in the knees by a ski school kid and they will think it’s funny. Two, the liftie at the top is going to scream at you to get out of the way. Just go with your gut and get going.

Secret Stash

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Photo courtesy of

Having a pocket snack is amazing! Snacks can totally make your day and rejuvenate you for the shred ahead. However, the mountain is ours to protect – stash ALL your trash. There is no excuse to throw your trash on the hill. The majority of resorts have trash bins at the top and bottom of every chairlift.

Beer Here!

If all else fails to stick in that thick helmeted head of yours, just go with the flow and remember that we are all trying to ski a few fresh lines and make it to the hot tub in one piece, hopefully beer in hand.

(Left to right) CRAIG ROBINSON as Nick, ROB CORDDRY as Lou, JOHN CUSACK as Adam, and CLARK DUKE as Jacob in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and United Artists' HOT TUB TIME MACHINE.

Photo courtesy of MGM Pictures and United Artists’ HOT TUB TIME MACHINE.