What’s your definition of a bad ski day?
I know what you’re thinking. There’s no such thing as a bad ski day.
Oh, they happen. Not often, but occasionally one slips in there.
I remember a few years back when my boyfriend and I drove to Bozeman to ski Bridger one day and Big Sky the next. Lots of snow, but high winds closed nearly every lift at both resorts, leaving us with nothing to do but sit at the Bozone all afternoon….ok, could’ve had worse endings.
Well, Missoulian Sports Writer Nick Lockridge looked forward to his first day on the slopes Friday, only to have his excitement doused. Here’s his report …
Snowbowl, you owe me.
The venerable ski resort opened Friday for its first weekday powder day. The experience was either boom or bust, depending on who you talked to. I was one of those that had their powder dreams busted. Twice actually.
OK, here’s what happened.
I arrived at the mountain at 9:30 a.m. The lot was packed and you could see a large line of bums (how did that many people get Friday off?) already swinging up the lift. I went inside the lodge to get my season pass. Apparently so did the rest of Missoula.
The line backed up at the ticket counter, around the fireplace through the tables and benches and back towards the cafeteria, where it wrapped around and followed its same path to the beginning. Suffice to say, it was long. Some pass holders had waited for an hour when Snowbowl owner Ronnie came out amid cries for help to hand out lift tickets to season pass holders under the condition they, of course, return later that day to pick up their real season passes. A new line, which intertwined with the old one, formed and some skiers were on their merry way.
Once in line at the lift, I fastened my new lift ticket, which looks just like a day pass, to the lanyard I was going to use for my season pass. After wading through the maze of poles, ropes and riders for 20 minutes or better, I got to the front of the line, where the HCIC (Head Clipboard in Charge) told me I had to get out of line and go back down to the lodge for another pass.
The reason: my temporary pass was on “an detachable device.” WTF! Aren’t coats exchangeable devices? The HCIC wouldn’t budge, literally. That is one stout liftee. Not wanting to hold up the line I went back down to the lodge and waited in line for another 30-40 minutes.
Now, I’m a Snowbowl guy – I’ve been a season-pass holder five times since I first learned to ski at the Bowl in 2003 – but this was ridiculous, and I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. But wait, it gets worse.
After seeing the excitement on so many skiers faces coming off the slopes, I decided to give it another shot. This time the wait was even longer and it was made worse when the liftees started loading every other chair because they were having troubles with the lift (sound familiar opening day crowd?).
After waiting and waiting and waiting, I finally reached the front again only to have the equipment personnel shut down the lift for repairs – with ME next in line. Once again icy lines were the culprit.
Upset couldn’t even begin to describe my feelings. The lift closed at 11:30 and was going to be down for an hour. By the time it reopened, I had to be at work.
My first day of skiing never really happened.
While other skiers were carving down sick lines through the trees, I was winding through lines that would make you sick.
Not only did I not ski, I couldn’t even manage to get on the chairlift. At least I got my season pass. They can’t take that away from me.