I almost always ski alone, and most of the time its on weekdays so I don’t have to share the lift with anyone else. I tend to get lost in my own thoughts trying to fend off the blowing snow, while wiggling my toes to prevent first stage frostbite. Normally I sit back and stare at the view below me and chuckle to myself when someone falls face first and slides down the hill amidst a powdery blast. Sometimes someone else will join me, but rarely, and usually they say two words and that’s it. Rarely does conversation take place, you would think it should, but unless you are located more then 5 hours from New York City, the folks on he lifts have that New Yorker mentality and just want to be left alone, looking at you with wary eyes when you happen to say the precursor to any conversation “hey how’s it going” or “great day huh.”
Today was different, I skid at Hunter Mountain, and I was alone like always, but for some reason it was pretty crowded, not obscenely crowded like the weekends, when the parking lot is filled with upper middle class city folks driving around their leather seated luxury SUV’s and talking with their friends on two way radios while riding the lifts. No, it was mildly more crowded then a regular Tuesday. I ski Hunter on Tuesdays because its half price for all of us folks that live in surrounding counties.
So instead of being a part of conversations I was usually the 4th guy on the lift with 3 folks who knew each other, I could see the look on their faces as I boarded their chair, forcing one of the folks to rub their ski pant clad thighs with a stranger. Close quarters for such short time, yet it feels like eternity, especially when the conversation goes to places you would rather not hear about.
Me on the far right, older guy with high end skis and Whistler hat in the middle and a woman in her 30’s. The woman strikes it up with the old dude about the weather and all that jazz, then delves into a history of her knee injury from Utah. Then she goes on and on about how ugly and stupid her knee brace looks. Then she stats on about how it matches her ski outfits, but for tennis she cant find anything to match. Is this what people think about when they have their knee reconstructed, “will the brace that lets me exercise match my clothing?” I wanted to throw her off the lift.
I was alone on the lift with a man who had this nasty white film on the sides of his mouth. He felt the need to talk for the whole ride, all I wanted to do was sleep. I couldn’t understand most of his English, he was German from New York and had taken a $59 bus to Hunter for the day. He preached about helmets and his son wanting everyone to wear one. I remember when no one wore helmets, and they were only for racers, I thought to myself.
So one of the rarest things to see at a ski mountain are black people, the sport is very cost prohibitive and quite frankly, black folks tend to live in urban areas devoid of skiing areas. In recent years, there has been a small increase in the participation of African Americans in skiing. If you go to places like Hunter, you will have the amazing opportunity to see minorities skiing, this is not the case in Vermont of New Hampshire, in fact I think that skiing is a racist sport, and people only ski to get away from certain ethnic and racial groups.
Anyway I got on a chair and this black dude sitting next to me was wearing this checkered jump suit. The other two dudes were white and all of them were using snowboards. So basically the whole ride up was two white guys trying to sound black and saying this sentence more then ten times “yo what the f— man?” or “check out that f—-ing sh—.” Punctuated by racial epithets and sayings like “aight”, “word” and “wud ya say homes.” It was very educational, I enjoyed seeing wiggers skiing, and I always get a kick out of wiggers.
A number of times today I was on the chair with foreigners, mostly Russians and then some English folk. The English folks were a little boy and girl, though when they started singing show tunes, I am assuming they forgot I was sitting there, they rvealed that they were post pubescent.
Overall an interesting day, filled with icy moguls and big air, oh and lots of sunshine and powder on the sides of the steep trails.