Annual Gentle Reminder for Chairlift Safety

It’s been quite a while since we’ve last posted. Almost 7 years after Keely’s chairlift accident it’s still very hard to enter new seasons anticipating reports of falls from ski lifts.

My goal is to only report positive stories- especially since Keely is so very much living life to the fullest thanks to first responders and blood donors back in 2010.

The unfortunate thing is that these accidents will continue as long as chairs don’t have restraint bars, or even if they do patrons don’t utilize those bars; for as long as users are squirrely or distracted (though a bar would be an awesome deterrent); for as long as one size fits all benches are used where the little ones sit with their heavy equipment dangling off of their feet (which of course, is where the pronged bars are amazing); for as long as riders have dangling strings/straps that get caught on disembarkment… really, we could come up with a lot of what ifs… and yes, most of it is human error because thank God and thanks to those amazing and hardworking ski resort employees mechanical errors rarely occur (thus the oft-repeated phrase you’ll hear that chairlifts are safer than elevators- and then from this we could discuss how you could make numbers say anything).

That human error is going to occur we can predict.

And, here I can hear what we’ve heard over the years: the nature of Darwinism weeding out the stupid; it’s the parents’ fault; the sport is meant to be unrestricted allowing for complete freedom and independence; the sport is inherently dangerous and risky.

But… what if we could prevent the severe consequences of this predicted human error, because it IS going to occur. What if we could prevent that one family from losing their loved one? What if we could save lives? I argue that simple design changes are needed- adding bars to all lifts that effectively prevent slipping off of the bench. I don’t really care if we mandate the use of the bars…. if people want to ride up without using them then best wishes. In addition to design changes, education is key.

So my happy story: The ski industry affirmatively educates patrons on proper chairlift use. I can personally attest how some resorts proactively seek out better ideas/ways to make the chair safe for all ages. I’d like to share today’s Good Morning America ski lift safety video as our annual reminder of how to properly sit on the lift (please look at our past posts for more detail).

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