Many people feel that the T-Bar is one of the most difficult lifts to ride. The T-Bar lift is fairly different from other lifts in that you are riding it tandem and sort of sitting while being pulled up the hill. For this reason a greater sense of balance and a little experience snowboarding is a good idea.
Unlike a rope tow, it doesn’t matter what side of the lift that you approach from. The T-Bar works by coming up behind you and catching your bum as you squat on the handle of the lift. While this sounds a little awkward it will get easy with time.
The first step is being prepared for the lift. You will glide into the loading area with your back foot out of the binding on your snowboard. This is common for almost all types of lifts so it is a good skill to get used to. An easy way to keep your balance is to rest your rear foot on the anti-slip pad.
When it is your turn, yourself and your riding partner will approach the lift. You will want to try to time your actions to be at about the same time as your riding partners. This will help to prevent the bar from swinging wildly to one side or the other.
While standing in the lift track reach out with your hand and grab the handle of the T-Bar as it approaches you. Once you have a grip on the handle squat down a little onto the T-Bar and prepare to be pulled up the hill.
The last hurdle to overcome is the release at the top of the hill. In order to free yourself of the T-Bar you will need to stand up and slightly spring yourself forward in order to gently launch yourself out of the lift track. It can be difficult to do this at first so take it slow. The lift operator will slow or even stop the T-Bar in order to get you out of the track safely.
Many of the same tricks for riding a rope tow also apply to riding the T-Bar. Resist the urge to lean back or you may find yourself rolling backwards off the T-Bar and into the lap of the person behind you. Do not squat down to low as this will cause you to roll forward and out of the lift if the operator stops the lift or if you catch your snowboard on the snow. If you are new to snowboarding it always pays to take a little time to watch other people ride the lift and learn from them.
As with anything else you do, practice makes perfect. Everyone at some point had to learn how to ride the T-Bar and most people had problems the first time they tried too. When you got your first snowboarding instructions your instructor undoubtedly told you how to ride the lifts on that particular hill which may not have included the T-Bar. If this is true for you feel free to ask for advice from either an instructor on the hill or the lift operator. Either person will be happy to tell you what you need to know to safely ride the lift and enjoy your snowboarding experience that much more