New technology is always something that resorts try to offer their guests. I never thought magnets would be considered a “new technology.” Last season Alpine Meadows was the first resort to introduce the Magnestick electromagnetic seat back to two of their chairlifts. How does this magnet work exactly? Well each child wears a special vest and when they get onto the chairlift with the technology, the magnet connect and keep the child safely on the chairlift for the duration of the ride. When the chair approaches the unload station, the magnet deactivates and allows the child to get off the chair just like anyone else. At Alpine, every child enrolled in their ski school program wears one of these vests and utilizes the technology. Homewood, is now the second resort in North America to install this technology into one of their chairs to use this season.
I think this is something that more resorts should be looking into. Safety is a huge priority for resorts and keeping children safe on the ski hill is key. Being a lift operator for the past four seasons and shown me just about every way a child can slip out of a chair. They are so tiny and just that little bit of help could help them from sliding out of the chair and ruining their day.
Also, kids tend to slide out of chairs even with their parents right next to them. It might be in the middle of a lift so no operators can see what happened. With the electromagnets in place, this could help parents who might be juggling two children at once or just give them that added peace of mind.
I hope that other resorts in Tahoe will take action to promote the safety of children on chairlifts.