As none of the Onboard staff possess a steely dislike for people, snowboarding or just life, we all sadly failed to pass the rigorous testing required to become an elite member of the 'Liftwaffe’
Whilst we have met many, many fine lifties in our time (including the massive legend on the chair at Saas Fee, in the 07/08 season that made devil horns at us every time we lapped through) we've also met some that have clearly been spawned in the dark recesses of Hell.
Hence we have assembled a step-by-step list of things that, should you find yourself in the process of doing in or around a lift station, will mean you'll run the very real risk of incurring the full wrath of some of the planet's most fearsome of grumpy bastards.
Scroll on down...
1. Use The Lift
Imagine having to actually do your job? Would huff a big ol’ donkey dick, wouldn’t it? People turning up, actually expecting you to do the thing that you're being paid for.
We’ll never know why when you turn up to a lift you’re often treated to the kind of disdain you'd expect from someone that’s just found out you defecated on their family pet. It's frankly ridiculous that you’d actually want to use the lift that you’ve just spent the best part of a Eurozone bailout on a ticket that allows you to get on it.
The Liftwaffe's distaste for you is normally muttered in a strange mountain dialect, which although is incomprehensible, definitely contains words you wouldn’t want your children to know. You know that you’ve pissed them off, just by existing in their vicinity. Have a pulse, and they’ll hate you for it.
2. Lose the Use of Your Limbs
At Onboard HQ we have around 70 years of combined snowboard experience under our belts. Luckily, we’ve managed to master the art of actually being able to keep all our limbs under control when standing on a snowboard.
Heaven forbid you’d have the cheek to turn up to a lift having never used one before. I mean, shit, it’s not like there are people that didn’t have the opportunity to ride the mountain when they were a child/not made of rubber.
So you might slip, fall and in the process of your embarrassment delay the liftline. In the five or so seconds it takes you to peel yourself from the sheet ice they’ve neglected to remove, the aggression level of the liftie will have risen quicker than a NASA rocket.
In this vein, the next time your child does a drawing of a house that looks shit call them out on it. That’ll teach 'em.
3. Jib on Anything
The mountain is your playground - apart from anything within a 30m radius of the lift station.
The lift station, judging from the reaction of the staff if you try to use a bench for anything other than sitting on, is like the bandsaws and knives in your woodwork lesson. Not to be fucking TOUCHED.
Above is a little something-something our homie Sami Luhtanen pulled at a Finnish hill last season. Ever the misunderstood artiste, young Sami decided to approach some lift-locked mountain furniture with a degree of creativity; a liberal dash of his snowboard to transform the mundane into something full of life and gayety. For celebrating the boundless ability for expression of the human spirit, we gave him a standing ovation – Ok, a double-tap and a fist-of-nuff-respect emoticon – but it turns out the resort folk weren't digging his riff-raffing with the result that he #justlosthisseasonpass. Sadface smiley.
Oh, and wanna layback under that ‘SLOW’ sign? Prepare for a reaction akin to having set someone on fire.
4. Take Your Snowboard Into the Gondola
Oftentimes, taking your stick into the lift is akin to turning up to a first-class Lufthansa flight having rolled around in a compost heap, naked. And being still naked. It doesn’t matter if the gong farmers in front of you have used all the available space in the racks by virtue of their terrible equipment placement, your attempt to keep the queue moving is met with the reaction you'd expect of someone that just farted at a funeral.
Seriously? I mean, the lift isn’t a black tie restaurant, it’s a goddamn lift made of metal, plastic and (for reasons not entirely clear) carpet. If you’re trusting people to hurl themselves down a mountain at speed, we’re pretty sure that you can trust us to get into a lift with people and not gouge their eyes out, or whatever it is that you’re worried about.
5. Don't Take Your Snowboard Into The Gondola
Conversely, we’re equally as confused – if not even more so – when we go to put our snowboards in the rack (mindful of the earful we received the last time when we tried to take our board in the cabin with us), only to be met with the bellowing of an angry Liftwaffe commandant who proceeds to remove our snowboard from the rack with the vigour of a man removing a sword from a stone, before thrusting it at us.
And then they give us this weird yellow condom thing to put on the top. Eh?
6. Touch the Chair In Front For Absolutely Any Reason
Call us remedial if you want, but many times it seems that the easiest way to get on a chairlift is to go through the gate, then grab onto the backbar of the chair in front to tow you/slow you down across the perilous pre-load ice rink to the point where the Chief Wizard of the Lift has decided that’s where you board the chairway to Heaven.
I mean, it's not like these chairlift things are designed to bear the weight of several human beings in the blustery cold of an alpine winter or anything....
Judging by some of the reactions we've gotten from putting so much as a finger on the lift in front, it’s like we turned up at the Louvre and tried to improve the Mona Lisa by finger painting. Remember: fingers are forbidden - it's just your prestine jacksy that's allowed to come into contact with these delicate pieces of heavy machinery.
Otherwise known as cock-blocking, halting for homies or waiting with friends. A particularly neat trick to really rile the Liftwaffe is to perfect what is known as The Innocent Vacationing Dickwad: your friends get in first and as you bring up the rear of your crew, appear to lose all sense of spatial awareness as you attempt to enter the gondola carrying your snowboard like shit mainstream models tend to - vertically, behind your back (you'll be pushing your luck if the liftie is the #4 type, though). When you hear the thunking of your topsheet on the sides of the lift doors, act bemused and try to enter again, and again, until there's no chance of anyone else getting on. They will fear your conversation by then, anyway.
Whether done accidentally, or on purpose in order to snag a lift with the homies or spark one up, failure to react to the ushering commands of the liftie to board with the speed of Usain Bolt is generally met with distain.
Though, to be fair, when you're 50 people back from the lift and a lone rider gets on, you'll be totally backing the liftie on this one.
8. Wear A Backpack
‘JESUS CHRIST! A BACKPACK? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING YOU MENTALIST? YOU COME INTO MY HOUSE WITH A BACKPACK? YOU COME UP IN HERE WITH THIS WEAK SHIT?"
I mean, if the fat dude on skis is able to find within him the capability to sit securely on the lift, I’m pretty sure that we can also sit on the same lift with a backpack and not end up falling off or dropping said backpack on the head of a hapless mountain user.
Photographers and videographers particularly like this one, because it's not like they're heading up to the mountain to, like, work or anything.
To be fair, this is generally only problematic in this day and age when you want to try uploading with the pack still on your back, but still the times we've been berated into removing the most minimal of helipacks to ride a chair with a lady or gentleman three times the combined girth of our human/pack dimensions is a source of confusion to this day.
9. Use A Drag Lift With Both Feet Strapped In
For the novice, we'll hold our hands up and admit that one-footing a drag lift is perhaps less conducive to ending up being dragged uphill chewing snow, but anyone who's actually learned to operate their stand up sledge will find that they are much easier to control when both feet are attached (Bode Merrill excepted).
Given that many alpine drag lift paths resemble a near-vertical frozen moto-x track, with moguls, knee-high ruts and sheet ice competing to ensure you have to make the Ride of Shame, you might have thought it would be wise to give snowboarders a fighting chance of making it to the top. Nope, if you're unfortunate enough to be spotted trying to grab the drag with both feet strapped in, you're usually told in no uncertain terms to take the back one out.
What follows next is often an exercise in battling the Laws of Thermodynamics as you gamely chat with your fellow uphill onefooter playing it cool, but secretly you're using all your physical and mental strength to avoid eating shit in the most ungraceful manner possible.
10. Ask For A Screwdriver
Just don’t bother if you don’t want to cry yourself to sleep. They're over fucking THERE!