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Steamboat Magazine

Lift Operator For a Day

03/16/2018 11:54AM ● By Alesha Damerville

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – “Lifty” is a phrase most commonly used to describe the multi-tasking masters known as lift operators. These unsung heroes go above and beyond to ensure guests have a positive experience from the beginning.

The safe and efficient operation of the chair lifts, being able to gage a guest’s skill level in the flash of a second and navigating inclement weather conditions are just few of the faculties needed to maintain daily operations at any booming ski resort. 

Matt Card is the Lead Operator of the Christie Peak Express Lift at Steamboat Resort. Card has spent five seasons mastering the resort’s only six-seat chair lift. “We get a lot of traffic – beginners, kids and nearly every resort program use this lift, because we’re at the base,” Card says.

Typical hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. “It can be a bit draining, especially when it’s really busy,” Card says. “We are doing snow work, we are trying to get people into the chairs. We do our best to help prevent accidents.”

“We’re a very safe lift; the training we go through prevents a lot of accidents,” he says. “Everyone is paying attention at all times, and the best part is we are in control. If we see a situation that doesn’t look like it’s going to end well, we slow it. It gives us an opportunity to run in and fix the situation. If it’s something we can’t prevent, we can stop it. That saves a lot of injuries and keeps everything in control. This year has been an amazing year with safety; we have a great crew and prevent a lot of accidents.”

“I enjoy interacting with the guests – you get to meet new people from all across the country. If someone is having a bad day, it’s an opportunity to step in and turn things around,” Card says. “The kids also help keep it fun. There are so many different personalities.”

“Most guests who come through are on vacation, so they’re in a good mood,” he adds. “People are happy to be here. Their smiles remind you to stay positive, and to give them a positive experience in return.”

Image from Matt Irvin

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