Share the Ride

riding chairlifts with kids

Tips for riding the chairlift with kids.

The annual ritual of children’s multi-week snowsports classes returns to ski areas everywhere this winter, and we always look forward to helping the next generation of shredders hone their skills. Bridger Bowl’s policy is that children six years old and younger must ride the lifts with an adult who is willing and able to help them ride safely.

Here’s what to expect if you’re asked to share the ride with a child.

You can say no. There is zero obligation to ride with a child and you can decline for any reason—no pressure.

One kid at a time. Only instructors and ambassadors can ride with multiple students. Members of the public only need to wrangle one tyke at a time.

Be attentive while loading. The child should ride on whichever side is closer to the lift operators—lifties are skilled at getting kids on the chair safely. Help settle in young passengers by making sure they are fully seated.

Safety bar down. Even with the bar down, small kids can slip right under and fall off, so it’s wise to keep an eye on them for the whole ride. If that sounds like too much responsibility, no worries, your best bet is to opt out of riding with a child.

Skooch back in the seat. Kids emulate adults, so they tend to sit on the edge of the seat with their legs dangling down. But this position puts them at the edge of the seat, with little purchase on the chair. Ask children to scoot back so they’re more firmly rooted. Their legs will likely be sticking straight off the edge of the seat, which is exactly how you want it.

Don’t knock skis together. With a DIN set on two, it’s surprisingly easy to kick a ski off. Ask kids to keep their skis quiet so they arrive at the top with both of them.

Enjoy the ride. Many youngsters are naturally chatty, inquisitive, and hilarious. To get the conversation rolling, ask about their pets, their siblings, or their favorite secret tree trail. A rousing game of “I spy” is sure to maximize entertainment on your nine minutes together.

Stick the landing. Keep the bar down until you’re quite near the top. While approaching the unload ramp, I like to use a countdown, “3, 2, 1, Go!” to get the timing right. Many kids appreciate a supportive hand for the unload. It will help you, too, as synchronized teamwork can prevent a pileup on the offramp.

Reunite with the instructor. Look for an instructor waving to you, and guide the student back to class. If there were any issues during the ride, let the instructor know.

Thank you! It’s a major team effort to keep kids happy, safe, and learning. We couldn’t do it without the support of the community. We appreciate you.

Karin Kirk has been a ski instructor at Bridger Bowl for 22 years. She never tires of the wisdom imparted by four-year-olds on the chairlift.