Jack Affleck/Vail Resorts
Even on big-number days, there's no need to wait in lift lines at Vail
December 15, 2008 —
The good news is that the mountain was packed, the buses were crammed, and the Vail Village was fairly throbbing with throngs of skiers and riders.
The bad news is that the mountain was packed, the buses were crammed, and the Vail Village was fairly throbbing with throngs of skiers and riders.
The so called “down economy,” seemed as distant and improbable as summer wildflowers on Vail Mountain. Only time will tell if this winter is down from last winter … or more exactly how much it’s down from last winter, but thoughts of depression-style bread lines seemed ridiculous as I loaded my first chair Sunday morning with 12 inches of fresh awaiting.
Within minutes of the first turns my smile was caked in snow and frozen into position. It was a beautiful, beautiful day, and we skied run after run with barely another track crossed, but later on I had a few reasons to lose my good humor. The thaw set in at Vendetta’s, where we snagged a few remaining seats and began catching snippets of overheard conversations. A few locals afflicted with a highly contagious form of amnesia, voiced the age-old complaint of too many people on the mountain, forgetting that only a few weeks ago we dreaded the possiblility of a snowless, crowd-less winter.
On the bus ride home, more chatter threatened to penetrate my optimistic core, a few more locals who had found a way to see the bad news.
In business and in life, the old saying is that you can’t please everybody. On Sunday I talked to people who, no matter how wonderful their life or astounding their circumstances, still find ways to complain and point fingers. Give someone a beautiful home in Vail and truckloads of powder at one of the world’s best resorts all right outside their door, and yet they will still seek out the world’s imperfections, magnify them beyond all reason, and announce to the world that all is not right.
And it’s always somebody else’s fault beside their own.
Long lines at Vail? You’ve got to be kidding me. I can understand a newbie following The Herd around Vail Mountain, but locals should know by now that at Vail, no matter how crowded, there are almost always ways to find short lines.
My wife and I not only avoided waiting in long lines, we avoided lines almost entirely. Our first chair was less than a minute. On the second we skied directly through the line and onto the lift. Same with our third, fourth, fifth, and sixth ride. Where were all the people? I fairly longed to see more riders in the line, if only so we could share the camaraderie of meeting new people on the lift.
With this in mind, we headed for Chair 5, a mandatory stop for everyone in The Herd, where our wish to take a break and meet people was granted in the longest line of the day, perhaps 20 minutes. After that, it was one more run of bliss down Prima before my out-of-season legs finally gave way and we hobbled to Vendetta’s for a slice of Popeye’s and a Coke (my beer quota had been more than reached at the Town Attorney’s birthday party at Moe’s the night before, not to mention the Fray concert afterward).
So what’s the lesson here? I don’t know if there is a lesson. Maybe it’s just one of those things which belie the workings of the Universe at large, because while I skied at a resort which appeared all but abandoned, all the complainers were stuck in line, probably complaining to one another.
Serves ’em right.
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