When snowboarding in various countries in Europe, I've encountered many different types of chair lifts. Some would have wind screens that can pull up/down, some heated seats, but at a minimum they all would have a foot rest. Even in less developed places on old chairs, there would be a footrest.

When riding between Kirkwood, Heavenly and Northstar I can think of only two chairs with foot rests - one on the backside of Kirkwood, and another one on that remote part of Northstar. I can't remember any from Squaw or Sierra, nor Sugarbowl and boreal where i've been a couple of times.

A lift ticket in one of these resorts can cost up to $150 for a day pass. A lift ticket in Trois Valles in France is $60.

Why this discrepancy?

I thought for the most part it's some kind of a liability thing, if the footrest were to be caught somewhere, one could sue the resort? This would perhaps explain that they can be encountered, but further away where lifts access more challenging terrain.

That it's some kind of a deterrent also crossed my mind, perhaps it's easier to sit in a chair with no footrest when you're on skis.

It could be a simple supply and demand thing. Skiers in California / USA don't want it - it's expensive for the resorts to install. But why would anyone prefer not to have it?

closed as primarily opinion-based by David Richerby, Giorgio, Rory Alsop, Ali Awan, gmauch Jan 27 at 15:28

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Welcome to TSE. To me, this sounds more like a question about business practices in the winter sports industry in California than about travel per se (as opposed to, perhaps, asking which NorCal resorts offer chairlift footrests). And questions about business practices inevitably come down to four things: supply, demand, cost, benefit. – choster Jan 23 at 18:48
  • I never had a problem with the presence or absence of a footrest. But I feel safer without it. If my wanders and I notice the debarkation area at the last second, it doesn't take as long to get ready to get off because I don't have to remove my skis from the rest. – Gerard Ashton Jan 23 at 19:57
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    This might be a better discussion for Reddit's skiing subreddit or somewhere. I don't think it has anything to do with the cost of the lift tickets and is more just a quirk of what resorts choose to install on their lifts. And many skiers on the west coast don't even use the safety bar, which means installing ski rests would be wasted anyway. Northstar, in particular, is more kid/family oriented, and it's possible they're concerned about safety if kids get their skis caught up in the rests too. – Zach Lipton Jan 23 at 20:31
  • What about "Can i travel for skiing somewhere in North america and expect footrests?" Or some variation of that? – pailhead Jan 23 at 22:10
  • There are two questions here: one about footrests, one about price. Please ask only one question at a time. – Jan Doggen Jan 24 at 8:34

From what I've experienced, the presence or absence of a foot rest is mainly due to the capacity of the chair, it's only practical on quads or higher, and age of the lift. I do remember riding a double with a foot rest, just don't remember where.

It's also possible some were removed due to the popularity of snowboards which can be unwieldy compared to skis. My boarding friends usually prefer to not use the foot rest.

The bubble chairs seem relatively new here. Copper is making a big deal about their new bubble chair this year and I think Deer Valley just got one last year(?).

As for liability, many (most?) ski States have skier responsibility laws which shield operators from liability beyond specific negligence on their part.

Personally, I like having it available at least. If my feet hurt, I don't use the foot rest. If my knees hurt, I do use the foot rest.

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