Gear & Equipment

Magnestick Keeps Kids from Falling from Chairlifts

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Fortunately, it's a very rare event that a child falls from a ski resort chairlift. But it does happen. At Hidden Valley in Wisconsin earlier this year, a father luckily caught his son sliding off of a chairlift, but couldn't pull him up and had to drop the boy into the arms of rescuers some 25 feet below (story and photos here). It happens elsewhere, and sadly there have been some fatalities. Rare, yes.

So a number of ski resorts in Europe and three in the U.S. have outfitted lifts with Magnestick. It's an electromagnet integrated into the chair back that activates when a child, who is wearing a vest with a small steel plate in the back, gets on the chair. The electromagnet automatically shuts off before unloading at the top of the hill, keeping that little one attached to the chair during the ride.

While the instances of kids falling from chairlifts aren't exactly rampant, as the technology goes into place in more resorts time will tell if it becomes a real value-add that sways a family's decision on where to ski. Alpine Meadows near Lake Tahoe, Homewood in Nevada, and Red Lodge in Montana are the three locations in the U.S. equipped with Magnestick.



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