Disabled Sports USA strongly advises that DSUSA chapters develop written chairlift safety and training guidelines to help ensure the safety of participants, staff and volunteers. Chairlift training for all staff and volunteers should be conducted annually at a minimum.
Examples of guidelines can include, but are not limited to:
Communication with chairlift operators
- Clear communication with lift operators is vital. Since lift operations vary by resort, it is advised that the chapter meet with lift operators prior to each ski season to review verbal cues and hand signals (i.e. how to convey “stop”, “slow down”, “pullback” and “okay”).
- The lift operators should be made aware of any special needs PRIOR to entering the lift loading area.
- There should be sufficient instructors and/or trained volunteers to load the student. DO NOT ask the lift operator to assist with a load if it will interfere with their ability to hit the emergency stop button.
Loading and unloading
- Simulate/practice loading and unloading with new students prior to using the actual lift.
- Explain the lift process in detail and establish commands with the student prior to riding.
- It is the instructors’ responsibility to make sure that ski/snowboard equipment is in good working order, and all retention straps and loose clothing/equipment are secured prior to entering the lift loading area.
Riding the lift
- Students, staff and volunteers should always ride with the lift bar down. If there is no safety bar, retention straps should be used.
- A tether line or safety retention strap is recommended for all inexperienced sit-skiers, as well as for any other conditions/disabilities that have an increased risk of unpredictable movements and/or falling (i.e. seizures or spasticity). This is especially important when there is no safety bar.