The lift consists of an aerial steel rope loop running over a series of wheels, powered by an engine at one end. Hanging from the rope overhead are equally-spaced vertical poles or cables attached to a plastic button or platter that is placed between the skiers legs and pulls the skier uphill. Snowboarders place the platter behind the top of their front leg or in front of their chest under their rear arm and hold it in position with their hands. Attempting to be pulled up just holding on with the arms is tiring and makes balancing more difficult.
Some models, especially in Europe, are detachable, using a cable grip to attach the haulage assembly to the cable. This allows the passenger to assume an appropriate posture relative to the button and pole while the pole remains stationary. When the cable grip attaches to the cable, the passenger's acceleration is lessened by having the pole be spring-loaded. This allows considerable running speeds to be attained, exceeding those acceptable in a (non-detachable) chairlift, but may be somewhat difficult to use for inexperienced passengers.