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December 20, 2010

Overheard on a Ski Lift

Ski-lift This past Sunday, I dusted off the battered, old snowboard and hit the slopes for the first time this season. I figured I'd get in a few quick runs at Bolton Valley before heading home to make Christmas cookies. And by make, I mean eat the dough and pour sprinkles into my mouth.

Sunday proved a great day to go riding. The sun was out, the temperature was mild-ish and the snow was downy and soft. And the best part of the day was that I didn't have to take a notebook or a pencil with me on the lift, unlike last year where, because of my 20/20 Challenge, every day at the mountain was a work day. No, on this day, I rode unencumbered by writing utensils and paper.

But in a way, I wish I did have some way of recording the day's events, particularly the conversations that I overheard on my many lift rides. There's something about ski lifts that makes people lose all sense of propriety. It's like somehow, but virtue of proximity, you become part of their crew. Or maybe just part of the scenery. People will have the craziest-ass conversations with their friends, while completely ignoring that you're sitting at the other end of the bench, listening to every poorly chosen word that that tumbles out of their mouths. 

Perhaps this is because they realize that after 10 minutes (or like 45 if you're at Smuggs), you will be deposited at the top of the mountain and they will never see you again (that is, if they even noticed you in the first place). Like once the lift unloads and we go our separate ways, I'm going to totally forget that you, lady in the pink jacket and black helmet, are doing it with some guy who's not your husband. Or that you, dude in the checkered pants and day-glo snowboard, stole your brah's dime-bag from his apartment and then sold it back to him. 

Not that I care about these indiscretions. Your nutball lives make my solo lift rides way more entertaining. Please, by all means, continue to overshare. Just ignore me. I'll do my best to pretend I'm not here. But don't mind if I take a mental note of your ill-advised confabs.

Here are two of my favorites from yesterday:

Scene 1: Vista Quad, Bolton Valley

Characters: We'll call these women Dimples and Hair, you know, to protect the innocent. 

Dimples and Hair are talking about Dimples' new jacket. Apparently, the whole reason she wanted to go skiing today was to show it off. The conversation quickly moves to slagging off a friend who is an assistant to the owner of a local company, which shall also remain nameless.

Dimples: I can't believe she's his assistant. I would hate being someone's assistant.

Hair: Yeah, but she loves being in the inner circle of things. She just wants to be in the center of everything.

Dimples: I heard she just has to, like, fold his socks. 

Hair: Isn't that what his wife is for?

Dimples: No, she's, like, in Austria, or whatever, working. She doesn't do anything. 

Hair: So she just has to fold his socks?

Dimples: Yeah, and she's not supposed to laugh at anything he says or talk to him. 

Hair: I don't think I could ever be someone's assistant. 

Dimples: Yeah, me neither. I'm really excited to wear the new eyeshadow tonight. It's so pretty. 

Hair: Yeah, it's really pretty. 

And.... scene.

Scene 2: Vista Quad, Bolton Valley

Characters: They're probably all named Joey, but we'll call them Slim, Jimbo and Fartknocker.

The three late 20s brah-nnabes, who don't seem to know each other, are chatting about snowboarding, girls and the dangerous intersection of the two. There is the distinct odor of Masshole about them.  

Jimbo: So you guys have girlfriends?

Slim: No, I just ended this thing with this girl before I came up here.

Fartknocker: Nope.

Jimbo: Yeah, me neither. And it's so much better that way.

Slim: Dude, I was seeing this girl and getting like 20 text messages a day from her. So glad that's over dude.

Fartknocker: Yeah, you can't bring them up to the house (a ski house he had rented) because it's just all dudes making fart jokes and they can't handle it.

Slim: All they want to do is like, fucking, watch TV and complain about shit. 

Jimbo: Yeah, it's, like, impossible to have a girlfriend, especially if she doesn't ride. And I'm too busy snowboarding to chase girls in the winter. Snowboarding is a way better way to spend your time.

Slim: It sucks if you have a girlfriend who doesn't know how to ride. You want to teach her, but then you get her out there and she's just crying and pissed at you for making her do hard shit.

Fartknocker: Yeah.

Slim: Dude, I'm so glad I don't have to deal with that.


In both instances, I was apparently wearing my cloak of invisibility because none of these folks realized I was on the lift with them. Or if they did, they didn't care. And that's just the way I like it.

If you've had similar experiences with loose-lipped chairmates, feel free to share. Hell, maybe I'll start a blog called, chronicling all the stupid things people say on the slopes when they think you're not listening. And don't think about stealing that idea. If you do, I'll murder you in your sleep.   

and you wonder Lauren, why you're riding the lift alone?

@George: FOUL!

I had a guy sitting next to me once @ BV on the Vista quad talking about how he caught a guy who stole his snowboard with it in his car. He waited in the bushes for the guy and beat the piss out of him with a pipe or crowbar or something. There was a little old lady on the chair with us and this dude was yelling and acting-out the beating he gave this guy. It was awesome. I thought the lady was going to jump.

Yet another day made better by reading Lauren Ober. Thank you!

So, What color was the eyeshadow, I am so intrigued, and why did you call the other one hair, did she ahve great hair,you should have described it. So.

At Smuggs, if you don't have a friend to ride with, you're limited to awkward conversations with your chair-mate about why you're skiing alone. Or listening to your chair-mate bellow encouragement to his friends as they swish by on the slope below. Then again, sometimes you have the chair to yourself and can enjoy the view.

@Liz... agreed. Lauren, your wit is always appreciated! Keep it coming.

Lauren I continue to be entertained by your observations. The best part of doing anything on your own is the things you overhear when your attention isn't otherwise occupied!

@George - rude and uncalled for. Way to spread the holiday cheer.

Wow, it must feel great to be so superior. Too bad we can't all be as cool as you.

Your blog sounds like a great idea, you should do. It could be called Single and listening. Can't wait to read more.

So it's okay to be bigoted against people from a certain geographic region? Where is Ms Perfect from anyway?

I ski at mad river most of the time, and obviously this is not a problem on the single chair, but on the doubles often times i ride with little kids and i get to have great conversations with them and learn some of their thinking. On the occasions i am on a quad with some massholes it just reminds me that mad river is THE best place to ski


A good story, well told! I knew you could print "fucking" but "Mass-holes". Ok, now we are cutting loose. And to think I've been discrete in my usage of the term. Not to malign the population of an entire state, but you are correct in stating that there is a distinct behavioral mode (odor) that can only mean the obvious.

Please PLEASE start that blog!!! I love hearing stories and sharing them. Some of the things you hear at each mountain varies, but none the less are all entertaining. I have some good ones from Stowe myself over the last 7+ years......

Nice! That's exactly how I make cookies!!

@Lone Ranger... how does it feel to be completely devoid of a sense of humor?

Where is this legendary 45 minute Smuggs chair? Madonna 1 is 15 minutes and Sterling 12 mins. Does the mystery chair take a swing around Mt Mansfield before dumping you on the Smuggs side of Sterling Pond? Unless you like skiing in the middle of a crowd Smuggs uphill capacity is very nicely balanced with its downhill skiing comfort.

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