Button lift 1 – 0 Snowboarder/Skier: How to change the score

A familiar tale…..

You’re out on the mountain, the snow is powder-y and you’ve just completed your first run successfully. It’s going to be a great day. You approach the lift, but you’re immediately drenched in a cold sweat. It’s not the chair lift you expected. It’s a button lift (aka poma), the main obstacle halting your ski/snowboard progress. You slowly slide towards it, mentally giving yourself a pep talk. You get in position. The first poma swings round, ready for you to reach it. Nope, you’ll just get the next one. You reach out to grab the second poma but you hesitate and it slips through your hands. Its aright, the next one is the one. It comes round and you grab it, trying to put it between your legs but you take too long to it springs away from you and bobs up the hill – meugh. OK this will be the one, it has to be, a queue has now formed and your best pal has been filming since poma miss #1. It jolts round and you stare it down. You latch on to it and shove it between your legs in record time – success. It starts pulling you and you’re starting to feel good again. That feeling promptly ends as you lose your balance as soon at the gradient steepens. On no, you’ve fallen forward. You’re determined though so you don’t let go, it drags you several metres up the hill before the feeling of ice burn on your face forces you release your grip. Time to shuffle down the lift track (aka the shuffle of shame), try again and stop that video before it goes on Facebook.

Are pomas and button tows ruining your ski or snowboard experience? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

If you’re searching ski and snowboard videos on youtube, there’s a high chance you’re looking at one of two things; Candide Thevox’s crazy tricks or hilarious lift fails. The ski and snowboard community’s answer to cat videos. We’ve been posting some lift fails on our Facebook page and we’ve found from a lot of the comments that lots of you can relate to the above frustration of missing several pomas only to be dragged by the sole one you had confidence to grab. And if it’s not you, it’s your mate. One user even said it the reason why her relationship with her boyfriend ended! – we don’t want to ask why!

Tips to save the day ( and your dignity…)

Well good news, we can help! Our instructors have been telling us about some of their epic lift fails when they were learning (see! Even the pros had to start somewhere) and they also shared some invaluable knowledge and advice on how to avoid poma faux-pas:


  • Remember! Even though it may seem like it, button tows/pomas are not there to punish you. *several snowboarders roll their eyes*
    • So… why do they exist? There’s two main reasons. Button lifts are a lesser investment to ski resorts than installing a chair lift. Also, if you’re skiing on a glacier, a button lift can be the only option as the equipment for a chair lift can’t be installed on moving ice.
  • Once in position, relax and loosen up and be ready for it to jerk you forward. If you’re tense you’re more likely to fall over.
  • it’s ok to miss one(or two)
  • Don’t use the poma a seat – it works on a release system so if you put your weight on it, it will just keep releasing. Think of it as a hook, you want it to hook round your leg and drag you whilst you keep your weight flat and centre on your skis or board. Kind like bo peep hooking and pulling her sheep?


  • keep your back straight and upright
  • Bend your knees
  • Keep your shoulders in line with the board
  • Don’t lean towards the tail of the board. Keep your weight on that front leg and you’ll be able to steer as you would normally


But don’t just read about it – come in to Snow Factor and let our instructors show you how to transform your lift fail into a lift win.  Or book a refresher lesson – you’ll learn and practise how to use the poma lift confidently whilst gaining top tips on improving your technique. Find out more and Book your lesson online today or call 0871 222 5672 to speak to one of our customer care team.

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