As much as I love cruising down groomers, bobbing through trees and playing in the pow, there is something special about the chairlift ride. Not only does it offer some of the most scenic views of the day, but it gives people a chance to rest their weary legs, grab a snack or drink of water, and make a new friend.
So for all those who prefer to plug in and zone out once you take your seat, here are three reasons not to.
Your hear great storiesEveryone has heard of exaggerated fishing tales, but on the chairlift you'll find everyone has got a great ski day story. Sure, most chairlift conversations start with talks about the weather, road conditions, and inevitably the lack of snow (no matter what snow totals are). But every once and awhile you'll be regaled with a dramatic epic about waist deep powder, crisp corduroy mornings, and the "perfect run."
You meet all sorts of folksEach time I hit the slopes I find myself thankful
to be in Colorado. Typically this comes about from chatting up out-of-towners from across the world as they descend on Summit County. I've compared notes from avid Aussie skiers, gotten travel tips for Costa Rica from a visiting family and gave some pointers to some first timers from Singapore. Domestically I feel a little like Johnny Cash since I've seen em all; folks from East Coast, West Coast, Deep South, Panhandle, Northwest, Great Plains, Upper Midwest, SoCal and everywhere in between. All the more reason to strike up a conversation. Without ever leaving town you'll be treated to a world of different cultures and customs all while enjoying Colorado's greatest natural resource.
Not to mention the opportunities that arise from being sociable. You'll never know who you'll run into on the slopes...a pro skier with some expert tips, an employer looking for new hires, even the girl of your dreams...but you won't know without talking.
Get the latest mountain newsEveryone has their favorite runs, bumps and secret stashes of snow they want to hit. But chatting with other skiers and riders gives you a bead on the pulse for the whole resort. Discussing the latest conditions for different runs, lift lines, and what other ski hills are looking like all make your day on the slopes that much better. More often than not I'll hear from someone doing laps on a run that I have never heard of before, only to find a new favorite place to ski.
And if those reasons aren't enough, dig into some conversation starters specifically for the lift or see how chairlift rides factor into "Occupying the Mountains" with fellow Snow Squad member Kevin Arnold.
So take a break from your ipod, cell phone or camera and take the opportunity to enjoy the scenery, get lost in the moment and even make a new friend or two.
-- Chris Yonushewski