Just as advances in technology continue to push the progression of snow sports, advances in safety continue to decrease the risk of serious injury to those who choose to shred the gnar. It’s no secret that the next generations of shredders are being raised in a much safer environment than many of us were. Look around at your local resort and you’ll likely see most of the younger patrons protecting their little heads with a (sticker-adorned) helmet. In fact, many resorts are now enforcing mandatory helmet rules for riders under 18. It’s a good thing; maybe the little guys will grow up smarter than us as a result.
Well Alpine Meadows has taken a step in the safe direction by becoming the first American resort to install the Magnestick chair lift harness. The Magnestick child safety harness keeps a child safely connected to the ski lift chair with a strong magnetic connection between the lift chair and a vest worn by the child. The Magnestick system has two components: a magnet fixed to a ski lift seat and a vest with a metal plate that is worn by the child. The vests are meant for sale or rent by visitors from a ski resort’s rental or sports shop. The permanent magnet fixed to the seat is activated for the whole ride up including when the child gets on. All seats on a lift chair can be equipped if necessary. The lightweight vest with the metal plate is worn by the child. The vest does not contain a magnet.
Alpine Meadows has installed the Magnestick system on both the Subway and Meadow chair lift seat backs. This could potentially make children more willing to learn to ski. I remember my first ride on a chair lift. I was about 5, and quite sure that I was going to die. Looks like Alpine Meadows is the place to teach your kids to ski, so they don’t ruin those nice new ski pants.