My First Chairlift Experience -- Ski Rex Says...

Earlier today I put up a film review piece for the Salomon TV short The Chairlift: Bringing Skiers Together in Ways Nothing Else Can. I really, really enjoyed the short, which I said in the little review that I did. After I was finished watching the video and writing about it, I started to think back about the chairlift rides I had taken over the years. While I'm sure I could come up with a good story or two about riding chairlifts, for some reason I ended up getting focused on my first lift experience.

I'm not sure why I got focused on that one. The story, which I really hope I don't spoil reading the rest of this piece for you, isn't nearly as fun or funny as my story of the Poma ride at Killington, nor is it exciting or have a love story attached to it. Actually, since I'm talking about it like this, it didn't even take place during the winter. Some might think that is kind of odd, but not really once I get into the rest of the story, which I think we will do now. Well...after I throw in a link to that Killington story. People seemed to enjoy that one.

The story of my first chairlift ride actually comes after the first time I learned how to ski. For those that don't know, I took my first ski lesson when I was 12 years old at the Living Memorial Park ski hill in Brattleboro, Vermont. One of the reasons I didn't get to ride a chairlift at that time is because that little park hill doesn't have one. It does have a lift, but it's a t-bar and I didn't get to ride it. The person teaching us beginners how to ski showed us how to go uphill sideways on our skis. I think you know what I mean.

Now that I think about it, though, I have never ridden on that t-bar. Actually, I have never returned to ski that hill as a teenager or an adult. I mean, I've been back to the park several times over the years, to go geocaching and whatnot, but I have never skied there again. I'm going to have to take care of that.

In any case, I didn't get to ride a lift of any kind when I first learned how to ski, and it would be several years later that I would ride a lift while skiing. But, before I got that opportunity, I was able to ride a lift in sneakers on a summer's day.

It was actually at the end of that very school year. It was the end of sixth-grade and the marching band, which I was in and played percussion, was heading down to the now-closed Mt. Tom Ski Area in Massachusettes. 

"Wait? A ski area? I thought you said this was a near summer story, Tim?"

You'd be right and please pardon any confusion that I may have brought on. We were going to a ski mountain near summer, but it was to use their little water park, wave pool, and alpine slide. Yes, my lift ride was to get to the top of an alpine slide.

I remember the person I was hanging out with that day had been a skier and he knew all about getting on and off the chairlift. So, he taught me how to do it. He told me to walk up to the loading line, look back over my shoulder as the chair came around, to reach back and grab the sidebar of the lift, and then to sit down as it approached. 

That was it. He told me all of that and I was on a chairlift for the first time without any issues. I was also able to get off the chair without any issues. I went up that chair a few times that day and came back down the alpine slide just as many times, obviously.

So you know, that was also the first time I had ever been on an alpine slide. Yeah, that age of 12 was a big year for me, the more I think about it.

Oddly enough, though it was almost summer and I got onto that lift with sneakers, that experience would come in handy for the next time I would be using a chairlift.

It was during the winter a few years later. I had taken a job at Mount Snow, Vermont, which was up at the Summit Lodge. I think it's called the Crow's Nest now, for those that are still going there on a more regular basis than I am. Anyway, on my first day of work, I had to go up the chair, which would be in a pair of regular old street boots that I could work in. Once again, I was loading without skis, but I was able to do so with no issue thanks to that experience at Mt. Tom.

It wasn't long after that I was abusing my pass and the $5 rentals, as best as I could at age 15, anyway. From then on I was on and off just about every chair on the mountain, which prepared me to use other chairs at other mountains, obviously.

There were also other times that I would end up using the chair during the summer and in sneakers. We used the chair to go up and down the mountain to the old Summit Lodge during the summer and fall, as well. Plus, there was also that time I visited Bromely for a day on their alpine slide. Actually, it was senior skip day for the class that was a year behind mine. One of my closest friends, which he still is to this day, was a class behind me, hence the reason I was along for that senior skip day. At least, I think that's why we went. Hmm?

In any case, one never forgets their first time, and I clearly have proven that true yet again with this story. As I said, it's nothing exciting, but it is a part of the Ski Rex Media history. Well, it would be more accurate to say it's a part of Tim from Ski Rex Media's history. I probably won't forget it. Well, I do forget the name of the kid that showed me how to ride the lift, but I will never forget his wisdom.


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