How Much Do Ski Lift Operators Make?

Ski lift operators make, on average, between $15 to $20 per hour. But this can vary from resort to resort and also depend on how much experience someone has. It’s not a high-paying job, but you almost always get a free ski pass. 

I’m Christine, the founder of this blog and a passionate skier. I love everything about the sport and have had a few ski industry jobs in the past. I’ve researched and spoken with a few people who’ve worked as lift operators to come up with the information here. 

This post will explore how much ski lift operators make. I’ll give you an idea of how much this position earns in case you want to explore it or are curious. I’ll also provide you with some other things to keep in mind about being a liftie. 

Let’s get rolling. 

Key Takeaways

  • Ski lift operators typically make between $15 to $20 per hour. But this can be higher or lower depending on the resort or location. Some lift operators will also make more than this with a few years of experience. 
  • Being a lift operator, or liftie, is a seasonal position, and they only work during the winter months when the ski resort is open. 
  • Even though lifties don’t get paid that much, there are other perks to the job, like a free ski pass and the ability to take a few runs on your lunch break. 

How Much Do Ski Lift Operators Make? 

The average pay for ski lift operators is usually around $15 to $20 per hour. The wage can vary from resort to resort, and some lift operators might make $25 to $30 per hour if they have a few years of experience. It’s rare to make less than $15 per hour. 

Nearly every resort has a different employee pay rate, so it’s hard to say exactly what a liftie might make at any specific resort. Some of the more well-known resorts with a lot of visitors will pay more, while smaller resorts pay less. 

Lifties are typically paid by the hour and not given a salary. This is because the job is seasonal, meaning it’s not a year-round position. Some resorts do have activities in the summer where the lifts run, but they don’t employ a full staff for this. 

Being a lift operator isn’t a high-paying position, but it can be a really fun job. You typically get to take the first run of the day before the lifts open to the public and almost always get a free ski pass so you can ski as much as you want during your days off. 

Working as a Ski Lift Operator

Being a ski lift operator is an enjoyable job. One of the primary responsibilities involved with the job is skier safety. Lifties help skiers and snowboarders get onto the chairlift safely and can slow down the lift or stop it when someone falls. 

Lifties also help make sure that everything is working correctly with the lift. They don’t usually have mechanical skills to fix the lift, but they are trained to know how it works and for signs of potential trouble. 

Another part of the job is checking lift tickets at the base of the resort and making sure everyone gets in line. You also need to maintain the lift line area so it’s in good shape and people can ski through it easily. 

Being a liftie is an excellent job if you want to ski as much as possible. You literally get to ski to work. You can take runs on your lunch break, and getting a free pass allows you to ski as much as you want during your days off. 

You’re not going to make a lot of money as a liftie, but you will spend a ton of time in the snow. If you are looking for a great ski bum job, this is it. You also usually don’t need much experience to become one, so it’s a good entry-level position in the ski industry. 


Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to how much ski operators make. 

Is it hard to be a ski lift operator? 

It is not very hard to be a ski lift operator. You should know how to ski pretty well, but other than that, it’s mostly an entry-level position. If you get hired for the job, you will be trained by the resort on how to do everything required. 

What does a ski lift operator do? 

The main responsibilities of a ski lift operator are skier safety in ensuring everyone gets on and off the chair lift safely. They also help check lift tickets at the resort’s base area and maintain the lift lines. 

Final Thoughts

Ski lift operators only make around $15 to $20 per hour, depending on the location and the amount of experience they have. It’s not a lot of money, but you get the perk of skiing to work and a free pass. 

If you want a great entry-level job at a ski resort, becoming a liftie is definitely worth checking out!

Do you know anyone who has worked as a liftie? Where did they work, and how much did they make? Let me know in the comments below.  

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