Here I float, 40 feet up, gently swaying, the tree tops plastered with snow. Ghost chairs, emptied somewhere above, glide past. The quiet hum of the system finds me there in my reverie, the occasional whoop of a skier darting through the woods below.
I would pay for this. Just this.
Most view the lift as a means to an end, to getting to ski back down. They stand in line, impatient, filing forward slowly to let the broad bench sweep them off their feet.
When I pull the safety bar down, I settle in. Everything drops away, the skiers in their lines, the din of classic rock radio blasting from too small speakers, the anticipation of the whole project. We’re in motion. It’s happening.
But we don’t have to ski just yet.
Listen, I love coming down. I love the tension in a hard turn at speed. I love to find that well chosen line, the steepness dipping and diving. Even though I’m not good and the flow is fleeting, I love to ski.
But it is absolute magic to float through the tree tops, just to be on the mountain in this way and to be able to see it from on high. I don’t mind riding the lift alone. I don’t mind sharing either, my wife or one of the boys there next to me, adjusting their helmet/goggles/gloves. Even the boys comment on how beautiful the trees can be.
They twist and snarl, the trees. It must be hard to live through all this cold and wind and ice and snow. I think about them a lot, even when I’m back at home, that they’re still there, reaching for the sun. Sometimes, even in summer, I try to picture their tops, birds in their branches, the woods alive with insect buzz, and I wish I could ride the lift on repeat, as close as I get to flying.