Photo by Renee Boyd
Goodbye, Chair 5
April 22, 2010 —
The season is over and it’s time to say goodbye – not just to the mediocre year gone by, but also to the most legendary chairlift Vail has ever seen, Chair 5.
The departure of the creaky old lift is bringing a tear of nostalgia to the collective eye of our little town. We will miss the slow pace of flight it provided over the powder (or crust, or crud) on Forever, we’ll miss the difficulty of mounting its middle seat, the churning strain of its bullwheels turning, even the long lines where we could always catch up with one another on any given powder day.
It’s a sad time. It’s hard to say goodbye.
It’s not the tangible thing itself we will miss, not its mottled metal, undersized arm rests or spiraled cables - it’s what the Chair represents; old things disappearing, old memories slipping deeper into the past, time and youth spinning out of our control, receding into the distance faster than a high-speed quad could ever carry us.
There is nothing more reasonable than replacing the old Chair with something better, younger, faster. It should have been done years ago. The Back Bowls were once anathema to the uninitiated, a vast sea of variable conditions meant to snare the beginner, ruin an intermediate, and in the 60s and 70s many skiers prematurely quit the sport after one, frustrating, difficult attempt to navigate to the seemingly distant outpost at the bottom of Chair 5. Then equipment improved, skiers locked into stoic boots and burly boards could more easily manage Morningside or skate out to Seldom. Apres Vous became Apres Vous, and Vous, and Vous. By 2000, Seldom and Never seemed more like Often and Always.
Yeah, it’s over. Those days are gone … long gone, and they’re getting longer gone by the minute. The dismantling of Chair 5 is just one more milepost on the long march toward a bigger resort, a streamlined, efficient, well-managed resort, a resort which pleases stockholders and guests alike. That is, after all, what we all want, isn’t it?
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