The chairlift occupies a fascinating social niche, bringing together strangers and friends into close proximity for a finite and usually predetermined amount of time. There are elements of road trips, elevator rides, and public mass transportation, people moving forward side by side, sometimes touching, en route to a shared destination. There is the intimacy of adjacency but the separation of not sitting face to face. There’s the liftline lottery of who will be your seatmates and what order you’ll sit. Indeed, there’s a lot more going on in a chairlift ride than most of us consider.
I could write a book about the entire culture of chairlifts, and maybe I will, but for now the issue is simply one of conversation. The chairlift ride, especially a medium-length ride of, say, six to nine minutes, offers just the right amount of time to address a topic, kick it around long enough to come to a satisfying resolution, and then slide off the chair feeling complete. A double allows privacy (“He did WHAT?”), while bigger chairs promote communal and perhaps blander discussions (“Nice day we’re havin’.” “Yup.”). There are opportunities for eavesdropping, social engineering (“The snow is SO good over on the south slopes.”), or, with hood up and head down, the solitude of meditation.
So. Since we have a few minutes together, what should we talk about?
WIN SMITH HELMET JUST BY VOTING!
This week, one poll participant will receive Smith Optic’s Vantage helmet. We’ll pick the winner via random number generator (and announce it here) — all you have to do to enter is vote and leave a comment so we have your email to contact you. Must have a U.S. or Canadian address. Contest ends Sunday, December 9, at midnight PST.
Congrats to Seth Spartan, winner of this week’s giveaway.
Photo Jackson Hole by Steve Casimiro