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To Bar Or Not To Bar? -- Ski Rex Says...


While cruising the internet recently I came across a topic that I found interesting and applies to skiing, snowboarding, and even some summertime activities. It was about more experienced skiers not using the chairlift safety bar. Well, I think I'm going to talk about that a little bit, too.

First, I'll get the most obvious part of this out of the way...yes, I do use the safety bar when riding the lift, as long as one is available. I remember that I was taken a little by surprise on a trip to Seven Springs in Pennsylvania when I reached up to bring the bar down and it wasn't there. My friends were also a little shocked. 

Now, whether or not a chairlift has a bar, it can be ridden safely. We rode those barless lifts all that day and lived to tell the tale. Though there could be something to talk about there, that isn't the point of this piece. The point here is to talk about why experienced skiers or riders don't use the bar as often as others.

To be honest, it has nothing to do with one's experience in either sport or any sport that might utilize a chairlift for that matter. Mountain bikers and hikers are using the lifts during their seasons, too. But, it isn't their experience that dictates whether or not they put the safety bar down. It's all about one's preference and what that preference is based on.

How do I know? Well, when I was a less experienced skier, I found myself riding with the bar up more often than I should have. Simply put, I just didn't care one way or the other about the bar. Maybe it was just poor judgment mixed with a little arrogance. Maybe it was straight male pride. Who knows? I do know that experience had nothing to do with it. 

Can I speak for every other skier and snowboarder on the mountain? Of course not, but I can say that I would put real money on their lack of bar use having nothing to do with their experience. Again, I'd bet it is ego, lack of caring, or just no bar.

Should we all use it? I think so. It's there for a reason, and though I have not researched the statistics that show how much safer a chairlift ride with the bar down is, those who came up with the idea to put them there did. They would not have been put there if they didn't work. But, I'll even take it a step past safety and say the footrests of the bar can be wonderful late in the day. It can suck to have one's legs all dangling off the chair when those same legs are shot out and maybe even a little sore.

In the end, however, I'm not going to tell you whether to use the bar or not. At most, I'm saying if we ride together, I'm probably going to put it down. It's just habit now and I do prefer using one. But again, you don't have to if you don't want to. But, I know that it has nothing to do with how good or bad you are on those skis or that board. I know it's because that's how you roll...or ride, that is. 

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

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