By Andrew Liszewski
I don’t spend a lot of time on the sides of snow-covered mountains with frictionless sticks strapped to my feet, so forgive me if this idea isn’t that new. But I still think it’s rather clever. The Magnestick system is designed to prevent young winter sport enthusiasts from falling off of ski lifts, using a pretty simple idea.
Each child wears a light (just 200g) back protector while on the slopes, which not only protects them from collision injuries, but also features an exposed metal plate on the back. On the ski lift seats you’ll find a set of electromagnets which automatically activate once they make contact with the metal plate, ensuring the rider can’t accidentally fall off even if the safety bar hasn’t been lowered. And the electromagnets don’t deactivate until the rider’s skis touch the ground again at the top of the hill, even if the safety bar has been lifted. According to their website the Magnestick system is already in use in several ski resorts around Europe, but so far in the U.S. only the Alpine Meadows resort in Lake Tahoe has installed one.