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Beginner skier on Poma drag lift

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I just saw this short video animation made I think by a French college student. It raised a smile for me: https://fb.watch/fxw8jQg-L3/
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Eh oh! Eh oh! Eh oh!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Do they have Pomas in the USA?

Myself and wife were skiing with an American (experienced skier) friend in Courchevel last season. One day on the way home to La Tania we took the Loze Poma up beside the WC course to the top. First me, then my wife, then American friend. We got to the top but the latter failed to appear.

Five minutes later she finally appeared and admitted it was the first time she had ever used a Poma and didn't know what she was supposed to do! Needless to say that video was pretty close to her experience.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 14-09-22 14:49; edited 1 time in total
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I was skiing with sister-in-law a few years ago - on a long double drag which has since been replaced with a chair. She had used draglifts plenty of times, but was (is....) a bit of a drama queen. I went behind her. It was an easy lift serving a long green slope. Not difficult but it was busy and both lines were full. On the slope at the top, where you go up before you go "over the top" and let go she decided that thousands of lemmings an hour were being sent over a cliff. Declining to join them, she bailed before the top, let go on the up slope up, hastily stepped aside and predictably fell in a heap. I had to dismount too, get her back on her feet and get us both across the other line to get onto the piste where we could ski down and start again. It was like trying to cross the M25 in the rush hour. I couldn't risk her skiing over and causing total chaos - she was in a right state by then, and I was just irritated beyond measure. So I took her skis and poles, got her to dash across between the alarmed folk coming up, then threw her skis and poles, one by one, across to her as I didn't trust myself to ski through from a standing start without being able to use my own poles. And to add to the drama the lift was closing and my car was parked at the top - so I had to choose between getting her safely down and up again, or quite a long uphill plod back to the car. Pausing only to reassure her that ski resorts didn't get rich by sending thousands of skiers to their deaths every day I told her to ski behind me and set out at stately pace down the green slope, to try again.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I remember a nasty poma in Tignes iirc (quite a few years ago now)

Comfortably able at the start to lift me well clear of the snow (110+kg before ski kit at the time!)

Initially hilarious, until you realised it might have been running at 50% capacity with a massive queue because even decent skiers (or worse, borders) struggle to cope with a big jump from a standing start onto a hard landing before being yanked again (into a second or third jump in the case of lightest users)... Anyone who got past the first 2m was fine all the way up, but a good chunk had massive issues getting past the first section...
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i never used a Poma drag lift. What so special?
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My young slim daughter on this equals disaster:

https://www.remontees-mecaniques.net/bdd/reportage-tkd-de-la-grevettaz-poma-803.html

I think she managed to stay on at "The line is steep from its first meters, up to pylon P3." but "at pylon P10 the line makes a sharp turn to the left which allows access to the major difficulty of the route: a steep wall at 52 % up to pylon P13." was the killer.

Pisteurs had to take her up on a snowmobile as it's a dead end.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
It's not all about skiers.


http://youtube.com/v/ZQQkuKfMNfY
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Ah the classics... start at about 2:25...


http://youtube.com/v/i97boGmsrPQ
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One of the proudest moment in my brief and not very illustrious career as a snowboarder, was overhearing, on a very gentle draglift in Les Saisies, a French mother telling her little girl, who had already failed to manage the very easy draglift several times, to "watch how that lady does it". There's a famously tough drag lift in Praz sur Arly which is "hors normes" - i.e. they wouldn't be allowed to build it these days, the top is so very steep.
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NoMapNoCompass wrote:
Do they have Pomas in the USA?



Yes - having used at least one over there, interesting to watch new comers to them though Madeye-Smiley
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I once followed someone up a poma and half way up, the button on his poma fell off. Cue startled look on his face as he skied backwards past me before ending in a heap behind.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Aren't the ones in Portillo, Chile, the best?


http://youtube.com/v/H7kBtJ8q0Xo
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Laughing Skullie
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I've been surprised in the last year or three at how many of the people I've skied with, both as an instructor or simply when out with guests, who've never come across T-bars before. They're still quite common over here but I guess they've mostly been replaced in other countries/resorts.

It's expected with beginners that you need to talk them through in detail, then make sure you're there to tell them when to let go, but for reasonably advanced skiers you don't always think about it, so yeah, some hilarious results, particularly on the Derriere Pertuis lift above Champoussin, which while not the worst in the world can be a bot of a challenge.

What I can never quite get my head round is just how many people, like some on the videos up there ^^ are determined to let go too early while they're still pointed uphill. Sure, for beginners it's pretty much expected, but the nimber of advanced skiers who also do this is quite surprising. Then of course you get the odd one who just hangs on for dear life at the top, despite me shouting "Let Go" multiple times, eventually forcing the lift operator to hit the Stop button; it's all a good laugh unless you're wearing Ski School uniform...
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Poster: A snowHead
@James the Last, the commentary on that is ace
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
"This could get ugly" Laughing Laughing Laughing
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Chaletbeauroc wrote:
I've been surprised in the last year or three at how many of the people I've skied with, both as an instructor or simply when out with guests, who've never come across T-bars before. They're still quite common over here but I guess they've mostly been replaced in other countries/resorts.


It's one of my few skills.

I grew up with:

- Button Lifts that you had to catch as they few by; then uncoiled; then suddenly reached the end of their rope and lifted you 1 foot foot upwards and 4 feet forwards.
- Pomas, which were a luxury, as they politely queued up in a line, released one at the appropriate time and had a traffic light system.
- 2 Man Chairs, that didn't stop, had no foot rest and had a solid dividing bar that caught in the lower back if not positioned accurately.
- Bubbles that didn't slow down, so you had to run along side and leap in.
- T Bars I am quite comfortable with, as long as you travel with someone the same height and who doesn't take you out half way up. You could also get a nasty bang on the head if the second person off on the one behind just let the thing go so it became a lethal weapon.
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[quote="Old Fartbag"]
Chaletbeauroc wrote:
I've been surprised in the last year or three at how many of the people I've skied with, both as an instructor or simply when out with guests, who've never come across T-bars before. They're still quite common over here but I guess they've mostly been replaced in other countries/resorts.
- T Bars I am quite comfortable with, as long as you travel with someone the same height and who doesn't take you out half way up. You could also get a nasty bang on the head if the second person off on the one behind just let the thing go so it became a lethal weapon.


I am 185cm, my wife is 157cm. We have our T-bar technique perfected after a few mishaps over the years! Very Happy

If you want to test your T-bar technique Norway is great as there are some incredibly steep ones.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Maybe I missed it, but no mention of rope tows? Not the level, pull you from a to b ones....these are going up, and some of them were steep. People who could ride a rope learned how to drive a stick faster, since you could get them to understand clutching from their experience with grabbing the rope! Good lord, we'd have killed for a poma or a t-bar. The smart kids got their gloves at the hardware store, since ski gloves lasted about two days before shredding. They brought spares since the leather would get wet, cold and weigh a ton.

Has Doppelmayer been knighted? I so move!
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NoMapNoCompass wrote:
Old Fartbag wrote:

- T Bars I am quite comfortable with, as long as you travel with someone the same height and who doesn't take you out half way up.

I am 185cm, my wife is 157cm. We have our T-bar technique perfected after a few mishaps over the years! Very Happy

My wife and I are not quite so disparate, at 167 and 184cm resp. but she will always choose to go alone unless there's absolute hordes of people who will just get on next to her anyway, in which case I usually have to pretend to be going with her until the last second to block them, as it were. This isn't just a height thing, but several severe knee injuries over the years, including one full replacement, mean that even the slightest tweek from someone next to her can be potentially limiting.

I'm usually able to control even the most clumsy of beginners when I'm teaching them, although I recall one time a big galoot of a guy, must have been 6'6" and 20 stone and incredibly unbalanced and inflexible, managed to pull me down on the Gerschnialp drag in Engelberg...

Scooter in Seattle wrote:
Maybe I missed it, but no mention of rope tows? Not the level, pull you from a to b ones....these are going up, and some of them were steep. People who could ride a rope learned how to drive a stick faster, since you could get them to understand clutching from their experience with grabbing the rope! Good lord, we'd have killed for a poma or a t-bar. The smart kids got their gloves at the hardware store, since ski gloves lasted about two days before shredding. They brought spares since the leather would get wet, cold and weigh a ton.


Yeah, there's still a few, bit none left in the PdS that I recall (just a flattish one at SuperChatel, and I think it has the sticky-out buts to put behind your bum). There was one in particular at Engelberg, got quite a lot of use from skiers returning to Truebsee from some of the epic off-piste runs, nicknamed the Glove Eater, for obvious reasons.
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The Harrier poma at the Lecht is fun. Sometimes there was no snow for the first 5m of the track but that didn't matter as you were off the ground for that part, carrying skis or gates on your shoulder was interesting too.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Perhaps this explains the exclusivity of Glacier 3000 there are simply 2 very long t bars across the gletscher. I think one of them is 2.5Km long. Fortunately not steep.
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@Chaletbeauroc, There's one at the bottom of Les Gets, parallel to Bergerie, if you need some practice.
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The animation is amusing and illustrates the mistake many make when unfamiliar with Poma lifts.
The user is supposed to be moving as the Poma bar engages with the moving cable.
That’s different from a tbar or button lift where the reel extends to take up the acceleration and the (lower) line speed. Accelerating from zero to 3.5m per second is going to be dramatic so the design requires that you are moving first to greatly reduce ‘launch’. Unfortunately that is a bit more difficult to do on a snowboard or mono ski.
Look closely at the signs at the base station and you will see that they advise the user to be moving as the Poma is released. On skis it is easy to skate off a little at the start to absorb the force.
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I confess to never having skated up the track of a drag lift. Just stood there on the violent ones, leaning forward a bit, core muscles engaged, ready to be lifted off my feet
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
There was one in Les Gets where the operator put his hand in the middle of your back and pushed at just the right moment. My family christened it the "Ball Ripper".
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Peter S wrote:

Look closely at the signs at the base station and you will see that they advise the user to be moving as the Poma is released. On skis it is easy to skate off a little at the start to absorb the force.


I don't think I've ever seen such signs on the Pomas that I've used! Still it makes sense, I'll try that on the next Poma I use.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I won't. If I'm to be lifted off the ground I prefer to have my weight centred and skis parallel!! Skullie
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pam w wrote:
I confess to never having skated up the track of a drag lift. Just stood there on the violent ones, leaning forward a bit, core muscles engaged, ready to be lifted off my feet

IME Bending forward at the waist prior to launch is the key to handling the more violent ones.

When I was skiing with my parents in La Plagne in the 70s, there was a particularly nasty drag lift (I think near Plagne Village), so we came up with this:

Frappe! Frappe!
Qui est la?
Jer
Jer qui?
Oui, comme le Teleski

Skullie
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I've used many drag lifts over the years, some quite violent, some steep and some like the old ones that took up up to the grand col in les arcs that actually had you airborne for a while, and of course the Portillo "sling shots" shown above, but without doubt the worst is at Snowtax in Christchurch Dorset. Those little metal handles you are meant to grab, swivel around and put under your ar5e are a nightmare. You just cannot get comfortable.

@Scooter in Seattle, our ski club made a couple portable ones for use on those very rare occaisons when we got snow. They consited of a rope loop of about 50m and a pully driven by a Villiers stationary engine. You fixed it to the gound by driving in stakes in a suitable snow covered field of gentle gradient, and spend an enjoyable afternoon telling locals what you were doing. I think they were last used 30+ years ago.
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@Scooter in Seattle, pomas and t bars at a lot of my local hills are the flash lifts.

We have mostly rope tows that need a nutcracker to get up them. Brutal things for beginners but fast and efficient. They also eat expensive gloves and jackets. And hair. And fingers. And knees. And hips. And beer guts


http://youtube.com/v/TRnrNKWmJKM
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
There's always this rope tow technique...

http://youtube.com/v/6-6pQwo_9r4
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johnE wrote:
I've used many drag lifts over the years, some quite violent, some steep and some like the old ones that took up up to the grand col in les arcs that actually had you airborne for a while, and of course the Portillo "sling shots" shown above, but without doubt the worst is at Snowtax in Christchurch Dorset. Those little metal handles you are meant to grab, swivel around and put under your ar5e are a nightmare. You just cannot get comfortable.


Agreed - sadly, it's only about 15 mins away, so I tend to have to put up with it from time to time.

It builds character..... as I tell my kids when they are moaning about it...
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Having run a 1963 poma style (made by Mortaz Mortino) lift all of last winter. I think I've seen most styles of miss use of drag lift. Dispite an "Experts only" and " Teleski difficile" sign, I would regularily get people on their first drag lift experienece - the begginger lift being 300m away and 50m higher up the slope.
The worst being pushy insistant Parisian parents who after 5 failed attemots would get verry upset at my refusal to let them make my que any longer.
A fair number of people (including some instructors)could not understand and got upset that I couldn't make the lift go slower or start softer!.....you could do that , but it needed 2 people who knew what they were doing with contols and circuit breakers and got lucky with co ordination, so we only tried it when a staff member was towing 100kg or more!
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i have to admit that i first manage to use the doppel seated lifts and butteon or T bars and then i learned to board properly...how is that possible? no idea
however during the last winter i managed (only twice) to take the T bar with my son and my daughter (7 and 5 y old)

I take the Tbar from the left side, my son at the right and i placed my daughter front of my front leg with her skis left and right from my board.
Of course there was a T Bar really slow for the ski school however this ride was the attraction of our day.
The second time i took a button lift that the ski scools used to take in order to show the children how the take it etc i mean it was not connected etc....usually they have one near the lift station....
my son left sied from TBAr, i was right, and with my back hand i had to hold the button lift which used my daughter...

unfortunately there was not a prize "dad of the day"...however after that the kids manage to take the T Bar alone ....that made them so proud, that we have to stay at the ski resort till the last ride....they didnt want to go....
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@johnE, you and your crew are to be commended for keeping it real, that's fabulous. Real skiers there (even if 30 yrs ago).

There's a poma at VDI that they label as difficult, and was it ever. And they left out "painful". But the snow on that slope was the best by far as a result. In spite of that, after the second ride I was done!
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