Chairlift Confessions: Riding The Singles Line

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A New Blog Inspired by Abbi Ness

Inspired by WinterReview contributor Abbi Ness, Chairlift Confessions are stories of the lift. They are the stories of the people we meet, the friendships we make and the stories we hear while riding up to our sweet piece of Winter bliss. Big Winter thanks to Abbi Ness for writing this post and inspiring all of us to connect and share. Leave Abbi a comment in the comment section below, tell us about your Chairlift Confession or submit your own WinterReview post!!

 

Some Call It Destiny. Some Call It Fate.  ~ by Abbi Ness

Some call it destiny, others fate. Some might call it pure coincidence. Whatever you call it, it’s certain: who you end up next to on the chair lift can leave you with lasting experiences. Everyone has a favorite story of riding with a complete stranger on the chair. It might be a story of being led to all the fresh tracks or hearing their entire life story in under 5 minutes. My personal favorite: my chair mate cracking open three beers in the span of one ride. The possibilities are endless when you are riding the singles line all day.

Fully masked and bundled up for the storm, your identity is hidden. Whatever small talk you share is between yourself and that friendly stranger, most likely a stranger you’ll never see again. You know you have one thing in common, you both love to be on the mountain, which instantly puts you and the masked stranger on good terms.

A couple of weeks ago, I returned home to Mt. Hood Meadows. There was one special mountain day, one special chair ride, on Mt. Hood express, that inspired me to write this story. I will never forget what she was wearing (as that is all I have to go by); black pants, magenta jacket, and a black helmet. We were both riding the singles line, and we happened to get paired up. The conversation started with a simple, “how’s your day going?” Then one thing led to another, from small talk to family talk to hearing about her son whom she had heard from for the first time in weeks.

As I was taking it all in, I thought to myself “what a crazy concept the chairlift is.” We occupy a bench about a foot wide, just big enough for us to sit on (without a backpack). At 25 feet in the air, we let it take us up the mountain, 2000 vertical feet, all so that we can reach the ultimate sublime, which we call skiing (or boarding).  Making that feeling last a little bit longer and feel a little bit sweeter, we are constantly surrounded by rad people who have just finished an epic run and are stoked to be on the mountain. So, you ask them about their day. There is no such thing as “weird” small talk on the chairlift.  Instead you get a real answer and most of the time it is along the lines of “it is freaking AWESOME!”

Or in the case of the lady with the magenta jacket, you hear about her son who decided to travel the world, chasing chairlifts and chasing Winter. She said he was currently in the Swiss Alps. Before I had a chance to ask her any questions the chairlift ride was coming to an end and the bar was being raised. Her story ended way too soon. We got off the chair and parted with “have a great rest of your day!” The entire day I was pondering what it would be like to be chasing Winter. She left me with a lasting impression. Something I believe we all have the ability to do, even if we only have 3-5 minutes. Every time we saw each other that day we shared a special bond, a smile and a nod.

Chairlifts share a lot of qualities with life if you look at them closely enough. They can take you up, and they can bring you back down (those dang backpack straps!). They don’t stop turning and too often they end way too soon and you don’t get to hear how the story ends. But the best part of all …. when you just ride that chair all day long!

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