Skiing may be an individual sport but is a social activity. Afterall, there is a ski term that is all about socializing – apres ski!!
Most chair lifts hold more than one person and the rides up can be almost as fun as the trips down (almost). Ski lifts are a great place to meet people, it can be like speed dating without the romance (or if you are lucky, maybe a little romance). I met several people who were real ski bums back in the 70’s and 80’s. I met a man who decided to learn to ski at 75 years old and he was 85 when we chatted. I met a woman who was on the Olympic team. I have met some memorable people over the years. I have also learned useful tidbits from locals.
If you are trying out a new slope, ask your lift-mates about the local scene. Usually locals are happy to talk about their town’s history, nightlife, social scene, etc. I actually skied on the Appalachian Trail at one mountain (thanks to a lift mate telling me about it). If you are skiing your mountain, share your local hot spots and interesting facts with visitors.
Over the years I have had my winter friends and my summer friends. My non-skiing friends know that they won’t see me as much in the winter. My love of skiing has been the reason for past breakups with men (or boys in my way past). They didn’t understand why I would choose to go ski over spending time with them. My last longish relationship started during ski season but I made him keep it a secret for the season. My rational…, no man ever lasted a ski season and I didn’t want our mutual friends to feel uncomfortable when we ended it.
As I get older I am valuing all of my friendships. My non-winter friends may not see me as much but I do make more of an effort to spend time with them. Of course this season I am on a mission to get my last 18 slopes in so I will be traveling a little more than usual. I have had offers from friends to visit and hit a few slopes near their homes, other friends offered their ski homes. I am in awe of the kindness!!
I have been skiing for forty years and I have been surrounded by a community of friends over those years. I became a single mom 17 years ago when the babe was 2 years old. My skiing community surrounded us with so much love and support. My daughter grew up knowing that the mountains are a fun, safe place. She could see my peace when we arrived at the mountain and she would become calm herself. This community has given me strength and has helped me through some times that traveling alone through life would have been a little tough.