Learning to love everybody’s least favourite ski lifts

If you were to grade the difficulty of each type of ski lift, the humble magic carpet would be a green. Cable cars and gondolas (with skis inside) would be solid blues, while the chairlift and gondolas (with skis outside) graded red. Chairlifts can be pretty tricky to ski onto and off, occasionally they’ll catch you off guard when not much else does anymore. 

Everybody knows though, when it comes to ski lifts, drag lifts are the very worst. The black diamonds, if you will. Easy to catch an edge, requiring more balance than you’d like, and sometimes with a gauntlet of previously downed skiers to navigate, these are the lifts we all try to avoid.

I mean, let’s face it, the number of times I’ve taken a button lift and been launched up so forcefully I took off probably speak for itself. Add in groin strain from trying to clench around the metal bar, and the unbearable difficulty of sharing a t-bar with someone either much taller or shorter than you are, and you get my gist.

Recently though, I’ve started coming around. Despite the fact that last week I hopped on a defective button, found myself hanging in midair, suddenly hoping I’d land facing forwards (I didn’t), drag lifts are growing on me. After all, it’s not like I’ve got Crown Jewels than can be squashed.

No, last week’s episode was a test of my own balance. One I passed by not falling on my face in spite of landing facing the wrong way, half way up a lift, and having to turn around while also not losing my ride to the top. It was my proudest ski moment.

Beside, Chamonix’s outdated lift system is full of drag lifts; they go to a bunch of the most interesting places. You get used to the endless search for a comfortable position on the drag. If you’re occasionally handed a test of mettle like you accidentally turned left and ended up at the rodeo, that’s part of the fun of it.

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