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As the end of the ski season is approaching, I am thinking about visiting our ski resort by bicycle. I would like to do it at the end of the season to avoid the inconvenience of the crowd, and minimize the inconvenience I would make for others.

In the ski resort we have, it is pretty unusual to have bicycles. The chairs don't have any hooks or other appliances to hold bicycles, and the crew might not be able (or willing) to help.

In these circumstances, how can I ensure safe and smooth boarding and disembarking? I will be in a small group (2-4 people), all of us having standard (non-fat) mountain-bikes. I am willing to do basic disassembly (e.g. remove wheels) if it would help.

Our ski-lifts have standard chairs, designed for 2 persons (like in this example picture); they are not of the type that slows down when in the boarding/disembarking area.

  • I ski patrolled and taking the toboggan up the lift we would hold the top edge against our chest and just let it drape over our knees. You want keep your weight back so you don't go out the front of the chair. A bicycle like lighter and does not catch as much wind. – paparazzo Jan 22 '15 at 18:59
  • @Blam Do you lower the safety bar? If yes, is it below or above the toboggan? (sorry, I don't have any intuition for how big it is) – anatolyg Jan 22 '15 at 19:31
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    Have you considered calling them and asking them if this would be permissible? Not much point in doing this if they're going to kick you out to get there. – Batman Jan 22 '15 at 20:27
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    Well, they might get pissed for you ruining the snow mostly. – Batman Jan 22 '15 at 21:03
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    I agree with Batman. I don't see why the ski hill would let people who are carrying bikes get on the lift if the lift wasn't designed to accommodate them. It would be a huge liability. If you drop the bike from the lift you could hurt someone. And I don't see how you could put the safety bar down while still having a good hold on the bike. The ski patrol rescue sleds that I've seen had a harness to allow properly securing the sled to the lift. – Kibbee Jan 22 '15 at 21:08
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I have done this only once, but have observed a lot of people carrying bikes like this.

The lift in question is just as in your picture - 2-person open lift with safety. The chairs slow somewhat while in the station, but mostly hit you in the butt. So there are two things you need to do, and the results are both easy and safe. Furthermore, both seats can be used, by two riders.

First of all, take a t-shirt and wrap it around the top tube of your bike, close to the saddle. This will protect the paint from scratches against the chair frame (I underestimated this and got a large scratch on the side).

Secondly, lower your saddle and turn it 90 degrees to the side.

Now, stand in front of the trolly chair(it's going to hit you in the butt), your bike at your side, outside of the chair's path. Hold it steadily - handlebars and top tube. When the time comes, just sit. Rest the bike on the saddle at the side of the chair. Hold it steadily for the frame. Now you can release the handlebar hand and engage your safety bar or open a beer :)

  • Thanks, this looks so simple! I'll test it when the time comes. – anatolyg Jan 25 '15 at 17:14
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Back in college, I did some downhilll racing at a ski resort with chairs like the ones you're talking about.

One guy carried his bike like this:

Bike across the lap

It had the advantage that when he dismounted, he just set the rear wheel down while still sitting in the chair, stood up, and walked off the lift with the bike next to him. The disadvantage was that it was an awkward ride to the top. If I remember correctly, it was also a little awkward to get onto the lift. He just sort of muscled it all into place.

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture but most of us did it differently. We would straddle our bikes just like we were about to mount them while waiting for the lift. When the ski lift came up behind us, we would pick our bikes up and set the handlebars across our laps with the frame between our legs. As we got lifted up, the bikes would just dangle below the lift chair. Then, to dismount, we would just set the rear wheel down, stand up straddling the bike like when we got on the lift, and take a couple of awkward steps forward, just like you might do if you stop a little short at a stop light or something.

This way had the advantage of being super easy to get yourself and the bike onto the lift, as well as being easy to hang onto your bike on the way up. You could also fit two people on the chair at the same time. On the flip side, it was awkward to get off the lift, but dismounting never felt dangerous at all.

Honestly, the ride to the top was super scary (for me, at least). As you can see from the picture, there's no safety bar on those lifts. You could feel the weight of the bike causing the chair to lean forward a bit. I preferred to lift my bike a little higher than everyone else and rest the seat on the edge of the chair between my legs. This allowed me to pull the handlebars back closer to my face, balancing the whole chair out a bit. It was a little awkward to hold the bike like that, but the lift chair felt more stable. It clearly wasn't necessary since no one else did it and no one fell off the lift, but it made me feel better.

  • It might be possible to rig up something with ropes and caribiners so that you wouldn't have to carry the bike in your arms. Something similar to this could be made quite easily. You could even latch it onto the lift and dangle it below you allowing you to put the bar down. The only thing would be ensuring to give your self enough time to get the bike back up when it's time to get off the lift. – Kibbee Jan 23 '15 at 15:29
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I ski patrolled and carried toboggans up a lift like that all the time.

A toboggan is bigger and heavier than a bike. No you cannot drop the safety bar (on that type of chair). Ideally would haul up with two but I was strong enough to haul alone. If there was tail wind it could be scary even with two.

Sit back and suck the weight (top tube) into your chest to get your weight back so you don't go out the front.

When you disembark I would think run it out rather then try to mount the bike immediately.

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