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How To Ride A Drag Lift

How To Ride A Drag Lift
18 December 2020

Originally taken from The Welcome To Snowboarding Booklet.

Riding any sort of drag lift, whether it's a T-bar or a button, can be one of the most daunting experiences on a snowboard, but fear not! Follow our guide and you'll be conquering drags in no time. First of all don’t panic, everybody has been in your shoes using a drag lift for the first time and it will get easier and easier as you progress.

How to get on a drag lift

Approach the lift queue with your back foot removed from the binding, you can practice scooting along with one foot strapped in on a flat area to get used to it. Becoming more comfortable with this will help when it comes to getting off the lift too.

You can watch the few people in front using the lift for guidance. When it’s your turn move forwards into position and check the distance to the next button coming around. If it’s too close you can let one go by, giving yourself maximum time to get ready for the next one.

As the lift comes around from behind you’ll want to be prepared to grab hold of it. You can choose to stand with your back foot on your snowboard at this point. Place it inside your rear binding or use a stomp pad for some extra grip if required. As you become more comfortable on the lift you’ll start to just lift your back foot as you move away.

Grab hold of the lift and pull the button (or T-bar) down and in between your legs. (slide one side of the T between your legs on the T-bar)

Again, don’t panic here. There’s plenty of time to pull the button into position before you start to move away. Avoid any temptation to lean back or sit down onto the button, just keep your weight towards your front foot and prepare to be pulled away by the lift. Try to keep your shoulders in line with your snowboard as much as possible. Opening up your body will tend to lead you off course. It’s really important to stay relaxed as you move away and while you’re heading up the lift track. Along with keeping your knees bent this will help you to absorb any bumps or ruts in the lift track. Remember not to lean back too much on the way up.

You’ll now be heading comfortably up the lift track.

How to get off a drag lift

Next it’s time to get off the lift. As you approach the top lift station signs will indicate when the get off point is and where you’ll be letting go of the button. Keep an eye out for this as you approach the top to give yourself time to prepare. As you approach the point when you’ll get off the lift the track will flatten out and then normally go slightly down a small ramp. As you get to the signs pull down on the button with both hands but don’t let go, remove it from between your legs and out in front of you. Let go at the point indicated and you’ll be heading off the lift.

This bit is often a little daunting but you’ll now slide down the ramp with just your front foot strapped in. Again a stomp pad will help with grip but it’ll help greatly if you keep that weight forwards rather than on the back foot. You’ll naturally head off the ramp onto a flat area where you’ll come to a stop. In the snow dome this usually involves going round a corner, don’t worry about this, you can put pressure towards you edges like normal using your front foot and remember to keep your upper body in line with where you’re heading.

Avoid the temptation to put your rear foot down in the snow until you’re moving slowly enough or have come to a stop.

Congratulations, you made it up a drag lift, now you’ll be rewarded with the fun part and in next to no time you’ll be feeling totally comfortable on the lift.