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Chairlift tragedy

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Get on , sit still, don't fidget

http://www.denverpost.com/2016/12/29/ski-granby-ranch-chairlift-fall/
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How terribly sad Sad
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What I don't get from the comments is this:

Quote:
There is no empirical evidence that bars increase safety of chairlifts. They may provide a feeling of safety but it may also increase poor lift-riding behavior. Which is why some areas continue to build chairlifts without bars.


How does the bar not increase safety?

I've rarely been on one without but hated it.

Always tell my children not to lark about on the lifts. I was always nervous when they were little. As they've got older can relax more.

And don't let me recount the story I left my little girl stranded to go up a lift on her own!


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Fri 30-12-16 15:22; edited 1 time in total
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Just horrible Sad

I totally don't get chairlifts without safety bars, yet across the pond they appear to be fairly common.
There's a thread on Epic debating their use. What shocked me is the sheer number of people who express annoyance at people who want/like to use them! Shocked
Go figure.
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It's quite a culture shock for European skiers when they go to ski in the US and discover that in quite a few places the chairlifts aren't fitted with safety bars. Seems crazy I know. What's even crazier is that even when chairlifts do have safety bars fitted (and as commented on in the link) many Americans (particularly youngsters) choose not to use them as it's not cool.... rolling eyes
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<<shudder>>
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I remember when car seat belts started being fitted there was a reluctance to use them. Now everybody does as a matter of course.
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I've never understood the lack of safety bars on North American chair lifts given their litigious culture. When I've been on a chair that stops suddenly I always think about it. if you are over a long span some of them bounce a fair way.
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Yikes, having only every skied Europe I didn't even realise they didn't have bars. My daughter aged about 6 at the time managed to fall off twice whilst loading in a week, both times unhurt but a long wait for her class to loop back round to pick her up
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Alastair Pink wrote:
It's quite a culture shock for European skiers when they go to ski in the US and discover that in quite a few places the chairlifts aren't fitted with safety bars. Seems crazy I know. What's even crazier is that even when chairlifts do have safety bars fitted (and as commented on in the link) many Americans (particularly youngsters) choose not to use them as it's not cool.... rolling eyes


I think you only see them in the Rockies or California.

Put a safety bar down when I was in Heavenly and the other person in the chair asked if I "was from the East Coast".

No footrests make it uncomfortable on the legs.

Looking at the Twitter photo it looks like the chairlift did have bars.
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Given the compensation culture in US, I am amazed that lifts without a blatant safety device are still installed. Maybe there is some legal get out clause they can use.

In terms of dangerous lifts the single seat Niseko meat hook chair lift is even more extreme.
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There's nothing fundamentally unsafe about not having a safety bar but you do have to stay reasonably alert in case of "hard stops" usually caused by a child failing to load properly ( or mor accurately a parent or instructor failing to lift them sufficiently on to the chair).

Skiing in the US people are polite about putting the bar down. If you get it crashed on your head before you've even sat down properly chances are you've got on a chair with a Euro ( frequently French for some reason).

It's too early to speculate on this event but I doubt the investigation will find a fault in the chairlift as the chair stayed attached.
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A few years back I saw a little girl who couldn't be older than 5 or 6 fall about 25/30 ft from a chair in front of me in Val d'esqui outside Madrid. She landed in a big pile of snow that had been left by a piste basher.lucky and uninjured.
There used to be a lift from park city called the town lift that went from town to near the top of the mountain , two seater with no safety bar and some big drops.
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2 seaters are the only lifts you see in the States with no safety bars now, and that's because they are old. All newish lifts in the US have safety bars now, but it is just generally not part of the culture to put the bars down. To such an extent that it is considered normal and polite here to ask before doing so.
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Yep, here in the US i rarely put the bar down. Last week on a chair someone politely asked if they could do so which is fine (and the norm).
This works for me, your mileage may vary.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Just reading about this gives me vertigo. spoo
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Horrible. When my son was small I'd put one ski pole across his lap, which would hopefully have stopped him sliding out.
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Once had to download in Masella ( Spain) due to zero snow low down, when I was about 7, carrying skis on a chair lift. I got on first, skis across me, mother got on, I turned round to see where my Dad had got to to lever the mother off the chair and see her drop about 20 feet onto some rocks. She danced very well and had no injury! Dad was more worried about how I was going to get off the chair on my own. ( mid 1970's, not much liftie assistance)
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
There's nothing fundamentally unsafe about not having a safety bar but you do have to stay reasonably alert in case of "hard stops" usually caused by a child failing to load properly ( or mor accurately a parent or instructor failing to lift them sufficiently on to the chair).

Skiing in the US people are polite about putting the bar down. If you get it crashed on your head before you've even sat down properly chances are you've got on a chair with a Euro ( frequently French for some reason).

It's too early to speculate on this event but I doubt the investigation will find a fault in the chairlift as the chair stayed attached.


I dig what you're saying Dave. For some reason in European skiing resorts, (I've had it in France and Italy), something which annoys me is peoples' weird tendancy to want to open the bar about 100m before the top lift station. Like, when there is still a 20 metre drop underneath you.

I have never - I repeat, never - been in a situation where that has been of any benefit to anyone. Even where the chair doesn't slow down before the top, it takes about half a second to get the bar up. There's no need to sit over a sheer drop for a full minute before the top lift station.

Whether the bar is safer or not, it's a weird one. It probably isn't safer really... how many times have you ever found yourself leaning on the bar? It's psychological really - but psychology can prevent accidents by making people feel safer this allows them to focus on what they're doing. I worked as a rigger for 4-5 years climbing into the roofs of arenas to hang stuff, I wore a harness throughout that time but never fell off. What does this mean? Well yes it means realistically I could have spent that whole time without the harness and I'd still be here. But having the harness took a worry away, which let me focus on the job, and having that focus made me inherently safer. So my view on the bar would be on the same as harnesses... there is no advantage to not having one, so better have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
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dp wrote:
For some reason in European skiing resorts, (I've had it in France and Italy), something which annoys me is peoples' weird tendancy to want to open the bar about 100m before the top lift station. Like, when there is still a 20 metre drop underneath you.


Just keep your foot on the rest until you are ready to open it. I do this if I'm with my son. Funny to watch them struggle Toofy Grin
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Themasterpiece wrote:
dp wrote:
For some reason in European skiing resorts, (I've had it in France and Italy), something which annoys me is peoples' weird tendancy to want to open the bar about 100m before the top lift station. Like, when there is still a 20 metre drop underneath you.


Just keep your foot on the rest until you are ready to open it. I do this if I'm with my son. Funny to watch them struggle Toofy Grin


It's a nice idea but I guess we've not met.

My legs are sufficiently long that I can seldom, if ever, get them onto the pegs before my knee hits the bar

Once I thought I was on the peg... but it was the peg between my boot and the ski. Which made for some interesting moves getting off
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dp wrote:
Themasterpiece wrote:
dp wrote:
For some reason in European skiing resorts, (I've had it in France and Italy), something which annoys me is peoples' weird tendancy to want to open the bar about 100m before the top lift station. Like, when there is still a 20 metre drop underneath you.


Just keep your foot on the rest until you are ready to open it. I do this if I'm with my son. Funny to watch them struggle Toofy Grin


It's a nice idea but I guess we've not met.

My legs are sufficiently long that I can seldom, if ever, get them onto the pegs before my knee hits the bar

Once I thought I was on the peg... but it was the peg between my boot and the ski. Which made for some interesting moves getting off


Laughing
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At best I rest the back of one boot on the peg which has the advantage of making my skis look even longer (and enables any ladies to roll their eyes about the inverse rule)
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I am always polite about bringing the bar down, usually preceding it with a question "Are we all ready", or something to that effect.

There are people though who just drop the bar down - without any consideration for others, whether they've had a chance to sit properly or not, and I absolutely hate it.

But if I were riding a chairlift in the States and if, after asking whether everyone was ready for the bar to be lowered, someone said that it couldn't (as it would cramp their style), the bar would still come down, I'm afraid.
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Swissie wrote:
How terribly sad Sad

How terribly stupid.

There are people though who just drop the bar down - without any consideration for others, whether they've had a chance to sit properly or not, and I absolutely hate it.
I don't recall anyone ever being rude though. My usual approach is to start to lower the thing and look to make sure it's not causing anyone a problem. If it was, I'd wait until they'd stopped then lower it.

On chairs without a bar I just hook my arm over the back of the seat (you need to be careful you know what you're doing with this). That's easier than wondering what will happen when they hit the emergency brake.

I think kids will never use these - they're pointless if you're immortal.
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Has the been an official investigation report?
Would like to read that first.
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@philwig, Yes stupid I agree, but someone dying is still sad, no one deserves that.
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I loved the lifts at St Anton where red and green lights indicate bar down / bar up and one lift even has an automatic bar which opens at the last moment. I can hear the Yanks screaming in horror that they can't open it half way up.
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If the chair is operating and used in a normal fashion the bar can be superfluous but I do prefer having them. But with kids who will pitch and squirm about looking around them in excitment the bar will not stop them from slipping under it so when our two were younger I would always keep a firm grip on them throughout any chair journey. I also would not like to take 2 young ones at once as hard to keep on eye on two at once and prefer to have 1 adult per child.
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.... the last paragraph of that article..... Toofy Grin Toofy Grin
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The St Anton comment did make me chuckle as we were thrown by the auto lifting bar over christmas. I learn't to ski Stateside and in fact didn't ski in europe till 2011and have to say drop bars were new to me (and no i didn't live over the pond)

I suffer from a fear of heights and my wife has always been surprised i don't have a fear of the no bar chair , to the point i get nervous with the bar down apraching a lift station .

The lack of deaths in the report does show how safe the lifts without bars obviously are , although our trip last year did show that its only old lifts stateside that don't have them . Be interesting to know the european lift death stats (as a percentage of users VS the north american stats
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There were some new lifts in the Porte du Soleil last season where the bar locks as you leave the bottom station, and unlocks as you enter the top station. I think this is the way new lifts will be going in Europe.
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@skiboy91, Yes, the new lifts I've been on have this automatic bar feature. It works well - I'm sure it is the norm now.
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A number of new chairlifts I've been on also have anti submerining 'crotch inserts' attached to the main safety bar. Which are designed to prevent small children sliding underneath, but with the automatic closing can trap poles and legs, if you are not perfectly aligned with the designed seating position.
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@PowderAdict, They can trap more than poles and legs Shocked Last year in La Plagne a mate and I got on a chair lift and he wasn't quick enough to get properly positioned. This resulted in him getting his gentlemen's area trapped........it was bloody painful.....for me..........I couldn't breath for laughing. He sang Bee Gee hits for the remainder of the day Laughing Laughing Laughing
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@gazzaredcruiser, I was trying to be delicate, and leave it implied..... Toofy Grin
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gazzaredcruiser wrote:
@PowderAdict, They can trap more than poles and legs Shocked Last year in La Plagne a mate and I got on a chair lift and he wasn't quick enough to get properly positioned. This resulted in him getting his gentlemen's area trapped........it was bloody painful.....for me..........I couldn't breath for laughing. He sang Bee Gee hits for the remainder of the day Laughing Laughing Laughing


Now that's just bragging Laughing Laughing
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Quote:

He sang Bee Gee hits for the remainder of the day

"How flat is your love"
"How can you mend a broken ****"
"Don't forget to re-member"
"You should be wincing"
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PowderAdict wrote:
A number of new chairlifts I've been on also have anti submerining 'crotch inserts' attached to the main safety bar. Which are designed to prevent small children sliding underneath, but with the automatic closing can trap poles and legs, if you are not perfectly aligned with the designed seating position.


aka "nutcrackers" Toofy Grin
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The premature bar down/bar up thing is control freakery. Some people just like to be first to do everything. The Americans' no-bar riding is good old "Freedom!" I think it's weird. But they are always polite when you ask for it to be lowered.
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