Chairlift 221: The T-Bar Technique. Lessons on Skiing’s Crucifix

Chairlift 221: The T-Bar Technique. Lessons on Skiing’s Crucifix


Chairlift 221: The T-Bar Technique. Lessons on Skiing’s Crucifix


Image by:  Dariusz Kantorski

Chairlift 221: The T-Bar Technique. Lessons on Skiing’s Crucifix

By, Barclay Idsal

For some skiers their first turns are the result of riding a T-Bar lift (or rope tow depending on your region’s preferred nomenclature). It’s scary, awkward, and if you’re a snowboarder, the T-Bar can serve as a crucifix that will have you praying for release. But both snowboarders and skiers fall prey to this ancient ascension mechanism that showcases torture in its purest form (See Supplemental Link Below). However, “The T-bar Technique” will save you from a self-inflicted colonoscopy and keep you moving onwards and upwards, however short that distance may be.

Part 1: Betrayal: Notes on Judas

Where are you? What are these pole thingies with seats flying up the hill? And why the fuck did you follow your friend to this part of the ski area? These are all questions you will confront once you realize that you must ride this “surface lift” in order to get back to the high-speed quads you were enjoying so much. But first you need to forgive Judas and focus on your next move… how will you get on?

Part 2: The Ascension: AKA The Stigmata

To access the T-Bar, get in line just like any other life, except now… it’s just you. On this lift you walk the path alone. So follow the leader and get lined up. Here’s the shake. Unlike most lifts, the T-Bar swings from side to side as it comes into view. Positioning yourself in the right spot is key. Get in the “wheelhouse” of where the lift cable is routed. Although the pole is swinging, it will naturally be brought to bear on your backside. Don’t freak out and for god’s sake stay calm. Whatever you do… do not sit on the cable (See Supplemental Link Below). Instead hold onto the pole and maneuver it around your body and place the small circular seat between your legs. Stand up straight and let the jerk of the tow give you speed.

Part 3: Salvation: It’s a Long Slide From The Top

You’ve been riding for two minutes and you already wish you’d sidestepped up to the high-speed quad instead of riding this piece of shit. But you’re slowly getting to the top and before you know it, the rope is starting to pull you over flat terrain and slacken. Be easy, grab the pole, and guide it out from between your legs. Hold the pole directly in front of you as you get to the unloading area. As you let go, allow the pole to swing away as you move in the opposite direction. Looking back, you see an elderly woman wearing a University of Texas beanie getting drug up the hill face first… too afraid to let go. You are very glad that’s not you as a ray of light reflects off your blessed goggles and you slide away back to the high-speed quad—Salvation.

Next Lesson. Chairlift 211: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tram.

[Image credit: Shutterstock]

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