Ski Club

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European Lift Lines

In general, European lift lines are a free-for-all. Skiers who pay close attention to gaps, shuffle aggressively, and move quickly are usually the first to reach the lift. Here are some tips to move through quickly:

1. Before you enter the line, observe which way it turns. When a right turn is ahead, proceed to the far left. If the line turns to the left, go to the far right. If you find yourself stuck on the inside of a sharp turn within the barriers, you’re in trouble. There will be no room to swing your skis and few people will move to assist you in your attempt to break free.

2. If the line is relatively straight, head for an outside edge. You’ll soon see the skiers on the edges quickly funneling down the narrow barriers. Those caught in the middle are squeezed from both sides and move about half as fast as those on the outside.

3. Try to follow snowboarders. Their boards cut a wider swath, providing skiers an easier path.

4. The best time to avoid crowds on the mountain is over the noon hour. You’ll find clear slopes, shorter lift lines, and fewer frustrations. In Italy and France, the lines all but disappear as everyone heads in for a big lunch. The noon-hour difference is not as great in Switzerland and Austria.

5. Even though you may often feel like you are in the middle of a herd of cattle, maintain a sense of humor. Smile and remind yourself you’re in Europe skiing the Alps!

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