Man, am I thankful for the season so far. The hill has been open since right after Turkey Day with decent coverage, and I somehow survived the crazy holiday season without totally blowing a gasket after working 30 days in a row. Guess the Zoloft and St. John’s Wort are working. Anyway, we’re having a blast up here on the mountain. Even had a chance to load Santa Claus himself one fine morning, and boy did he seem jolly. Methinks he had a little extra holiday cheer in his bota bag. As I was loading him, Old Saint Nick deftly slipped a folded paper in my pocket and winked. He told me it was his Naughty and Nice list about me, and that I should not read it until my cohorts and I had polished off the bottle of Pendleton that he had waiting for us in the bar for after-hours. We did, and here it is.
Nice: You witnessed several intoxicated patrons heckling an obvious newbie trying to load the lift. When the belligerents approached the front of the line, you made them go to the back of it. When they reached the front for the second time, you made them go back yet again. On the third attempt, you told them there was a problem with their tickets and they needed to go to the ticket office.
Naughty: After watching a group of bullies pick on some poor kid in the lift line, you intentionally misloaded them, allowing the chair to strike all of them in the back of the calf right above the boot top.
Nice: For that nice guy who helped an older chap pick up his dropped glove, you went out of your way to pair him up with a gal who was alone in the lift line.
Naughty: After hearing folks complain all morning about how slow the lift was running, you cranked up the volume on your boombox and forced them to listen to two hours of “The Carpenters Christmas Greatest Hits,” followed by a repeating loop of Hanson’s single “MMMbop.”
Nice: When the lifts were down for nearly an hour due to mechanical issues and weather, you blasted Lynyrd Skynryd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” and had the entire lift line singing along. Once things were up and running, you followed up with Avenged Sevenfold’s “Afterlife.” Folks were all grins and high fives.
Naughty: With more than half an hour left in the day, you were approached by a guest who inquired as to when last chair was. Tired and still hung over, you lied and told them they just missed it. Later, when they found out you had misinformed them, they came back and yelled at you. Then your boss yelled at you. Then the GM yelled at you.
Nice: The lift was officially closed two minutes ago, but this one kid who was making a ton of runs during the day pleaded with you to let him on one more time. Sensing his passion for the sport, you loaded him. His dad later saw you in the bar and thanked you.
My New Year’s resolution is to be more nice than naughty this year. Hopefully Santa will be watching. //
Piste Off Liftie, a regular OTM column depicting oft exaggerated and sometimes fictional accounts of mountain exploits, is penned by Brad Northrup, a former ski industry professional and mountain man.