Steep draglifts are curiously one branch of extreme sport that is more popular amongst women than men. However new European regulations mean that they will soon be going the way of the London Routemaster bus.
From next season no new draglifts can be built on slopes greater than 60% and ski lift companies have been advised to phase out those currently in service. Skiers will have already noticed that old favourites such as the Creux and Fruit in Courchevel, with their 30-degree gradients, have been replaced by a high speed chair this season.
In addition all slopes greater than 45% must be clearly signposted at the base of the lift and en-route. In France, ski lifts are considered as public transport and are controlled by the “Service technique des remontées mécaniques et des transports guidés”, a department of the Transport Ministry. Accident statistics are not currently published but a spokesman commented that steep draglifts are “extremely dangerous”. A number of men (and snowboarders!) will no doubt agree.