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Safety Rule 8 - Know how to ride lifts...

Categories: Safety Guest Connection Meadows Cares

A parent rides the Buttercup chairlift with his son at Mt. Hood Meadows

Your Responsibility Code # 8

You must know how and be able to load, ride and unload lifts safely.
If you need assistance, ask the lift attendant.

Mt Hood Meadows has 11 chairlifts, 5 fixed grips and 6 express lifts, as well as one conveyor. These big and powerful machines make downhill skiing possible but using them safely requires a small investment of your time and attention. Your Responsibility Code clarifies in rule #8 that using chairlifts safely is the individual duty of each guest. This blog is intended to clarify our guidelines for chairlift use and share resources all guests can use to keep themselves and their loved ones safe on lifts.

Loading the Mt. Hood Express quad chairlift at Mt. Hood MeadowsMost of MHM’s 4-seater (quad) chairlifts are express lifts that move slowly when loading and unloading but move briskly in between. The Buttercup beginner chairlift is a “fixed-grip” quad that uses a conveyor belt for easy loading. The remaining 4 double chairs are fixed-grip lifts that need your full attention for loading. Keep in mind that any chairlift can be slowed for loading or unloading with a “thumbs-down” signal to the operator.

Preparing to ride the Buttercup lift at Mt. Hood MeadowsWith varying chairlift designs across resorts, any new lift should be observed in order to learn about its operation. Learning by watching others load is one of the guidelines we use to teach chairlift use. LIFTSTARS is MHM’s acronym for teaching chairlift use:

L. Learn by watching others load.
I. I remove my pole straps and check for loose clothing.
F. Follow the chair out to the "Load Here" signs.
T. Turn and grab the chair bar.
S. Sit back. Hold on.
T. There's a bar I can lower if I can reach it.
A. Absolutely no fooling around on the ride.
R. Raise the bar at top.
S. Stand up at the "unload here" signs.  
An instructor boards the Buttercup lift with two students at Mt. Hood MeadowsWe encourage you to take a lesson and learn from a pro. Our instructors are the best way to start skiing, snowboarding AND chairlift riding. Other good resources for chairlift safety can be found online at

The Cascade Express lift at Mt. Hood Meadows offers passengers spectacular viewsUsing chairlifts appropriately is critical for personal safety. Unsafe use has the potential of endangering others. Inappropriate behavior on chairlifts includes intentionally bouncing the chair and jumping from the lift. Both actions can cause damage and result in unnecessary, lengthy and hazardous rope-based evacuations. For this reason, Hood River County Ordinance and Oregon Skier Statutes both provide penalties for jumping from chairs.

Guests cued up for first chair at the Mt. Hood Express at Mt. Hood MeadowsLift lines are another matter and deserve brief mention here. We’ll discuss alcohol and drugs more in an upcoming safety blog, but smoking and drinking are not allowed in the lift line nor on the chairlift. When in line, watch your language and be respectful to those around you. On busy days, alternate lanes as you approach the gates. Thank you for obeying the instructions of our lift operators. RFID tickets like ours function best if alone in a left pocket. And finally, ask for help if you drop an item within the closed terrain around the top or bottom of lifts.

Take Responsibility Code #8 to heart, learn a bit about chairlift safety, and have a safe season going up and down.