If you’re new to skiing, the thought of getting on a T-Bar lift can be daunting because you have a whole line of people watching and waiting for you plus it’s kinda HARD to prepare for.
But don’t worry! This post will go through everything you need to know about T-bar lifts and give you a step by step guide on how to ride a t bar on skis, along with a few personal tips I’ve learned over the years for riding it safely.
If you also want learn how to get off them or any other kind of lift in detail, check out our awesome guide on how to get off a ski lift.
What Is A T-Bar Ski Lift?
A T Bar ski lift is a type of aerial ski lift which is supported by a frame and consists of a series of passenger-carrying bars or ‘t-bars’ which are attached to, and move along a common cable. T bar ski lifts first appeared in North America in the 1940s and quickly became the most popular type of ski lift in the region as they were a significant improvement to “rope tow” lifts.
T-bar ski lifts are typically used on beginner and intermediate slopes, as they are not as fast or as efficient as other types of ski lifts, however they are easier to maintain and are way cheaper than most of the other types of ski lifts and can be found on a lot of ski resorts.
Plus, ski patrols love them since they won’t be needing to do any air rescues which is pretty common with chair lifts.
How Do They Work?
T-bar lifts work just like chair lifts and use a large rotating hub with cables and a “T” bar hanging beneath. These bars are spaced out and picks people up, drags them to the top and goes back down to pick another.
The T-bar is designed to fit between the legs of a skier, and is used to pull the skier up the hill making it a super easy and convenient way for both skiers and snowboarders to reach the top, however it can be tricky to ride and a lot more trickier if there was rain on ski slopes, especially for beginners.
How to Ride a T Bar on Skis
Now that you know what a t bar lift is and how it works, here’s a step-step guide on how to ride a t-bar lift.
Step 1 – Get In Line
First, get in line at the queue and work your work up to the front. Take a look at how other skiers do it and check out the speed of the t-bars that come around so you could decide if you should let one bar pass by or not. The T-Bar will come from behind you, so stand with your skis parallel and facing forward.
Step 2 – Grab The T-Bar
Before the T-Bar reaches you, take both of your ski poles into your hand that’s outside the T-bar lift. Once the t-bar comes, grab it with your inside hand and give yourself a little push.
Step 3 – Position Yourself On The Bar
Right after grabbing the T bar, tuck it behind your legs or butt as this simple move will take a lot of weight off. However if you’re with someone, you both have to just stand on each side of the t-bar without the tucking part.
Step 4 – The Ride
Relax and look ahead during the ride but make sure to hang on to the bar tight and do not cross your skis! Plus don’t try to sit down on the t-bar as it can’t support your weight.
There will probably be a trail from the previous skiers, make sure to stay within these tracks if possible for a smooth ride. If you need to get off the lift for any reason, just let go of the bar and ski off to the side.
If by any chance you fall off, get out of the way fast as you don’t want to collide with the skiers behind you and take them down too. Get up, ski down and grab another bar.
Step 5 – Getting Off The T-bar
Getting off the lift is super easy. Before you reach the offloading area, decide where you will ski to as you don’t want to clog up the line.
Once the lift reaches the top, let go of the t-bar and ski! (You know how to stop on skis right? Just in case you wanted to stop.)
Tips For Riding A T-Bar Safely
Here are a few tips for riding a t-bar safely and some common mistakes I have seen people doing which you should definitely avoid.
Don’t Get Off Too Early
One of the most common mistakes first time skiers do is getting off too early thinking they have made it and then starting to slide backwards which can be dangerous.
You have a lot more time than you think so hold onto the bar until you are on flat ground and then let it go and ski away.
Respect Other Skiers
You might have to let go of the bar and move aside if a skier in front you falls, because there is a chance of colliding no matter what you do. Read more about etiquette here.
And If you are riding with another skier, discuss who gets down first and which way they are gonna go.
Beginners – Ride Alone!
If it’s your first time riding a t-bar, do it alone otherwise there’s a good chance that the both of you will end up on the snow.
When you are getting on to a T-bar, if you feel like it’s coming way too fast, SKIP IT and wait till a bar comes at the right speed. It’s 100 times better than falling and joining the queue again.
After reading this guide, you should be able to ride a T bar on skis with ease! While riding at a t-bar at first may be intimidating, but after a couple of runs you’ll get the hang of it and will be able to ride them like it’s no big deal.
Follow the steps we laid out and you’ll get through it just fine. You know what they say, “practice makes perfect”.