Testing Out the T-Bar: 5 Tips for Novice Mountaineers

For any skiers/snowboarders who haven’t yet taken the fabled T-Bar tot eh “experts only” side of the mountain, I hate to break it to you; it’s just as intimidating as it looks.

That being said, mastering the T-bar is essential for any real die-hard skier. Above the T-Bar is where the real powder lives, along with expansive trails that haven't even been touched by all those novice skiers!

Although intimidating, the T-Bar is not impossible; it is only a matter of skill and repetition. Here are some tips to help send you to get sendy on the big mountain after hitting up that T-Bar:


5. Don’t Sweat It

Of course, this is easier said than done. There’s no need to worry! Although a bit more of the challenge, anyone can do it. Scope out the lift line for a couple of minutes, and you’re bound to find some other skiers or boarders fail. If they can shake their head and go back in line, so can you! Besides having a couple of extra faces turn your direction, there really is no foul. It happens to everyone.


4. Pick Your Partner

If possible, it’s probably best to grab an experienced buddy for your first time on the T-Bar. They will show you the ropes, and will most likely help you get secured on the T-Bar as it picks you up. I highly recommend going for the first time with a friend, it will help you get used to the motion so you can then master it yourself!


3. Set Your Stance

Snowboarders have this a bit harder than skiers. For our snowboarder friends, there are many different techniques for holding the bar, but the one that’s worked for me is planting your back foot on your stomp pad and situating the bottom of the bar underneath the hip of your back leg. I’ve watched people negotiate it so they put the bar between their legs so it’s pushing against your front leg rather than your back, but that’s always seemed like an intimidatingly chaotic start. Getting the bar situated low enough is important – I’ve definitely had spills mid-way up if the bar starts to ride too high on my butt/back. (This quickly brings me back to the pairing choices in #1. If you can pick someone close to your own height, it will help with the bar placement!) For skiers, it’s all about making sure you are ready to turn around and grab the bar. If you can set it under your butt, you”re all set!


2. Pay Attention

After grabbing ahold of the T-Bar, many like to sit back and let the chair do it’s thing. Pay attention! Most mistakes on the T-Bar are made a majority of the way up, when someone loses balance from not paying attention and has to ski all the way back to the T-Bar. Flex those muscles, and make sure you’re adjusting to the lay of the land in front of you; one unexpecting dumb, and both you and your partner will have to start from square one.


1. Practice is Key


The best way to get good at it is to do it over and over again. So go learn that “Mr. T” pin on EpicMix and have fun conquering Peak 8 at Breck! If you fall, it's no biggie. By no time you’ll have it down, and will be shredding that mountain top to bottom!