Altercations on the Ski Lift

 When my daughter was a little girl, she came home from ski school to tell me that she didn’t like snowboarders, because they were “disrespectful”.  That was a pretty big word for my 7-year-old, but it turns out, a boarder had cut in front of their line of beginners, sprayed snow in their faces, and even caused a few tears.  It took her a few years, but she finally came to terms with the fact that boarders and skiers have to peacefully coexist on the mountain, and for the most part, they do.

In fact, people here in Snowmass seem to be overly gracious.  When lines come together, alternating seems to go so smoothly, and no one gets their panties in a wad.  It’s just a natural thing, very copacetic.  Whether you’re skiing or boarding, people apologize if they accidently run over your board/skis, say “go ahead” if there is a question about whose turn it is, and the occasional altercation is so rare, it sticks with you when it happens.

Unusually long line at the Cirque

Yesterday, we decided to take our last run from the top of the Cirque (Poma) lift.  We can start from there and string together runs and ski almost 5 miles without having to take a single chair lift.  Another reason to love Snowmass!  Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea, and the line was longer than usual.  As we were standing in line, a snowboarder slid right past about 20 people and jumped into the line.

I asked my husband, “What is he doing?”, and he said, “Apparently cutting in line.”

I don’t like negative energy, so I just fumed inside, but didn’t say anything.

But a young mom, who was in line with her young daughter (probably 11 or 12), and husband, turned around and asked him,”How did you get here so fast?”

He sneered at her and replied, “I just came to this part of the line.”

She said, “No, the line starts way back there.”

They went back and forth a few times, with his excuse being that people cut in front of him all the time, so it really didn’t matter.  The woman’s husband was glaring at him, so he had to be a tough guy, and said, “You don’t want to mess with me.”

I really couldn’t believe it.  All this in front of their little girl.  My husband chimed in and said, “Look dude, there are a lot more people in this line who agree with them than with you.”  And then some other guy behind us said, “Not necessarily.”  My husband tried to explain to him what was going on, that we were reacting to this guy cutting line, but the second guy just shook his head.  Then the line-cutter looked at me, like “What are YOU looking at?”  It freaked me out a little, so I took a photo with my goggles.

Liquid Image goggles allow for secret photos to be taken!

So we alternated on the lift, and when we got off, those two guys got off and started boarding together.  I realized they were together and the four of us were going (alone) towards the Hanging Valley Wall.  For the first time in my life while snow skiing, I felt like I was in an abandoned alleyway in New York City, and these guys could really go postal on us, and no one would ever find us!  So I turned on my video goggles and taped them until we turned off and left them behind.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  What makes someone decide they’re above the rules, the common sense, good manners rules that we learn as little kids?  What made this guy think the 20 or 30 people in front of him didn’t matter, that he could ‘beat the system’ by convincing himself since someone had cut in front of him at some point that he could do it, too?  Maybe he had a really good reason, but we’ll never know it.  If he had said, “Look, my friend is up here and if I get in the back of the line I might lose him and be separated for the rest of the day…do you mind if I cut in front?”  If he had said that, I guarantee, no one would have thought a thing about it.  But his attitude, his mouth, and his demeanor made me worry that he might really have anger issues, and almost ruined the best run of the day for me.

Whatever was going on in his head, he looked like a little kid stomping his feet because someone did something to him and it wasn’t ‘fair’.  But the breathtaking views of that powder run overpowered the negative energy, and by the time I got home, my heart was happy, with thoughts of his tantrum pushed to the back of my mind.  We’re so fortunate to be here, enjoying God’s beautiful playground, and luckily, situations like that are few and far between.

About Elisha

After our only child left for college, my husband and I decided to pack up and head for the mountains! We split our time between Colorado and North Carolina and love everything about the mountain lifestyle. I write about the empty nest experience, and our adventures living, playing and working. Taking a couple years off from writing while I get my master's degree in Nutrition.
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3 Responses to Altercations on the Ski Lift

  1. marcmaloy says:

    Bummer. You handled it well – not much else you can do really. Maybe pop off your skis and hand him $5.00 and let him know he dropped it or something as he was cutting line? Not sure…. Anyway, skiing with the kids is the best.

    • Esa says:

      I always think of things I could have said, 15 minutes later. Who knows what was going on with him that caused him to be so rude. I miss skiing with my daughter and seeing that little girl’s face as she watched this grown man act like a child was sad. But oh well, life is short, the skiing is awesome, and no one was hurt by it.

  2. It’s always challenging to encounter situations like this without letting it ruin your day. You are fortunate to live in such a beautiful place with usually such kind and peaceful people. I always find it helpful to stay focused on the many, many good things and ignore the others. As you say, life is short so make the most of the good.

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