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Original Issue

QUESTION: As a beginner, I have trouble riding ski lifts. Is there a correct way to get on and stay on the various types of lifts?

Ever since Willy Schaeffler introduced the shortswing technique to America's recreational skiers in these pages a year ago, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has been bombarded with questions not only about the new technique but all phases of skiing. This week and each week, to the end of the season, Coach Schaeffler will answer these questions with a weekly column. Below is his reply to the first question.

SINGLE CHAIR: As chair approaches, look over your shoulder toward side on which the upright bar is attached. Shuffle skis to free them from snow. Grasp upright bar as it nears, delay chair so it tips forward. Go into half-sitting position and let the chair come ahead to pick you up.

DOUBLE CHAIR (with double bar): Turn to face bar on your side. Poles are held in the inside hand, with tips pointed out so they will not catch as riders sit down. Grasp bar with outside hand as shown, bend knees and let chair pick you up. Then switch poles to the outside hand.

DOUBLE CHAIR (with single bar): Each rider faces the bar, ready to grasp it with inside hand. Poles are in outside hand, points out. As soon as you are seated, raise ski tips and keep them up. To get off any chair, stand up quickly at the unloading point and ski out to one side.

T BAR: As in single-bar double chair (above right), both riders turn toward bar and grasp it as it nears. Instead of half sitting, however, stay upright, with slightly bent knees, let crossbar catch you under seat and pull you. Do not try to sit on bar. Pick partner of equal height.

POMALIFT: Get good grip on stationary bar while attendant fastens it to moving cable. Hold bar as it moves ahead and brings you to full speed. Then tuck bar beneath legs and lean back gently against the disc. Keep the knees slightly flexed, poles looped around the left wrist.

ROPE TOW: Loop poles around wrist of the outside hand. Place inside hand gently on rope and tuck outside hand behind small of back, palm upward, with mitten just touching rope. Close both mittens slowly, shuffling skis to free them from snow. Ride with skis a foot apart.

WILLY SCHAEFFLER Ski Coach, Denver University