Riding a T-Bar

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A t-bar is a surface lift. It will not carry you up the hill, like a chairlift. You have to stand on your skis or board, and let the T-bar drag you up the hill. It is easier to ride a T with a partner.

To load, get out into the loading area quickly. Look over your inside shoulder so you know when the T is coming. The lifty will pull the T down and put it under your backside. Hang on. Some Ts have a sudden acceleration. Always thank the lifty. Offer them chocolate.


Riding a T-bar on skis is not hard. You should:

  • Stand with knees slightly bent.
  • Keep your skis parallel with tips pointed uphill.
  • Keep weight evenly on both skis.
  • Look uphill - not at your ski tips.
  • Relax.
  • Not sit on the T, or lean against your partner.

If you need to steer the T, because of human detritus, you can steer them by edging. You should not do this unless absolutely necessary.

When you get to the top the person nearest the exit gets off first and the inner person takes the T, and gets off last. It is polite to ask first - "Will you / I will take the T" is usual.

Make sure you do not have a loose jacket or other clothing in which the T-bar can get caught as you try to get off.

You should clear the unloading area as soon as you get off the T. Other riders are coming, and they have little control over where the T flies after they unload. It may hit you.

If you do fall you should roll away from the t-bar track immediately. The riders behind are still coming, and there is not a lot they can do to avoid hitting you if you are lying across the track.

Riding T-bars is easier in a pair. If you are in a lift line alone, or as part of an odd numbered group, shout "Single!!" and someone should find you and pair up. If you do not have a partner grabbing the empty side of the T will make it easier to ride.


As T-bars are designed specifically for skiers, snowboarders need to adopt different techniques for riding these lifts. The most common practice is to place an arm of the T between your legs, pressing against your forward inner thigh. Some snowboarders find it easier to ride T-bars in pairs and some benefit from riding singularly - it's simply personal preference, and either is preferential to falling off the T-bar and delaying those in line behind you.