Resolve to be an Ambassador of ZB
Grand County, CO Colorado
A steady beam of headlights streamed down the mountain Wednesday from Winter Park Resort. Cars filled parking lots in downtown Winter Park. Tables were full at the restaurants. The pool at the rec center was writhing with children. And the lines at the grocery store were annoyingly long in a sort-of-wonderful way.
Wednesday marked the peak of the peak. The week between Christmas brought a flood of visitors to the area this year. By mid-week, more than 13,000 people would be hitting the slopes.
“For the seven days leading up to Christmas, we had the most visits we’ve had in more that eight years in the same time period,” said Mistalynn Lee, communications manager at the resort.
I had to see it with my own eyes. My goal was to ride as many lifts as possible in two hours. I worked the singles’ line and – rather than trying to finagle a chair all my own – I inserted myself into groups of two, three and four.
No sooner than our skis left the carpet, I was asking people where they’re from. (OK to do on a chairlift … not on an airplane.)
Without fail, our conversations lasted the whole ride.
On Zephyr, I met a father and son from Wisconsin. They were in Winter Park for the first time this year, on a recommendation from friends. They had been snowmobiling the day before and also planned to go tubing.
On my other side was a teenager from Minnesota, also visiting Winter Park for the first time with his family at the suggestion of a friend. We talked about the difficulty of bump runs.
On Olympia I met three boys – cousins from Nebraska – who were staying in big house in Bridgers Cache with 18 family members. We talked about how much it sucks to get stuck in the flats on a snowboard.
I pondered the state of the news industry with a father from Fraser whose daughter was visiting from Seattle.
On Super Gauge, I met a local man whose sister was visiting from Florida along with her son who attends college in England. We compared notes on favorite Winter Park restaurants and the benefits of home schooling.
On Hi-Lo, I talked ski school with a mom from Denver who has been coming to ski at Winter Park her entire life and loves the children’s programs here.
Back on the Oly, I talked to a man from Denver who gave me some stock advice:: “It’s like football,” he said. “The quarterback keeps getting sacked.”
On the way to the car, in the Cabriolet, I talked to a young couple from Denver who had stopped to take a few runs on their drive into town. They were the only people I spoke to with plans to stay in Granby.
I was wary about skiing that day. From the lift, some runs looked like the ants were swarming. Still, I found pockets of powder to turn in and even had a few runs to myself.
The best part, far and away, was talking to all those people. And it got me to thinking – we should all be Ambassadors of the Chairlift.
I know it’s not really “cool.” We From-Heres are supposed to snub our noses at all the Come-Heres.
But, we only do ourselves a favor by being as kind and helpful to Come-Heres as we can.
By the time this is published, many of our visitors will be leaving. But we have many more opportunities in the upcoming year to put on our best From-Here faces … Demo Fest, Nationals, Spring Break … In Twenty-Eleven, make it your goal to strike up conversations with people on the chairlift. Offer a restaurant suggestion to somebody on the bus. Let somebody step in front of you in the grocery store line. Be an Ambassador of ZB.
Then maybe we’ll have more Come-Back-Heres.
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