Lines, Lines, Lines

Maybe you noticed, maybe you haven’t. In ski country there are lines everywhere. Perhaps that is just an element of American culture. “If there is a line, it must be where I have to be.” hmmm…

Maybe you noticed, maybe you haven’t. In ski country there are lines everywhere. Perhaps that is just an element of American culture. “If there is a line, it must be where I have to be.” Lines in the supermarket, lines at the airport, lines on the offramp, lines, lines, lines…
Well in ski country we have lines too. Fortunately, with a little attentiveness you can avoid some of them. One that comes to mind is the lift line. Perhaps it’s the name, but folks are willing to stand in the longest line. Perhaps the length of the line determines the quality of the ride 😉 Usually there is a longest line because people are just hanging with the crowd. In Breckenridge, after getting your ticket scanned. You will enter the lift maze, quickly look to see the shortest line. Many times (I mean it), many times 5 lines will be full and one will be empty. It is crazy to me. I just slide up in that line, right to the front of the lift maze. I save myself 5-10 minutes. Check the singles line if applicable. Yet, if the lines are of the same length choose the one nearest the entry to the chair. At Breckenridge they will usually have a person in the front of the line calling, “Front Row”. The line closest to the chair will load the chair first.
Food Lines
Look for the cash register without a line. Also, at Breckenridge, the cashier accepts lines on both sides of the cash register. I cannot tell you how many times I have walked up to the side of the register without a person standing in it. The other side has 6 people waiting while their food gets cold. I usually let the other side cash out two people. They I cash out. The funny part is that rarely will someone from the other line join me on the empty line. People are silly.
Instead of stopping for lunch at 12 (like everybody else), stop at 11:30 or 1.

On the slope
Evidently, skiers have a strong herding instinct. We travel down the mountain in packs. If you catch yourself doing this, and you feel a bit claustrophobic. Gradually make your way to the side of the run, let the crowd pass, then enjoy the run to yourself. And if you see everyone going down one run, think about exploring less traveled terrain.
On Peak 7, everyone skis down the “outside” runs – Monte Cristo, Pioneer. Yet, even on the most crowded days few people ski the middle runs Wirepatch and Lincoln Meadows. Why? Probably because a skier/rider will flow down the run they started on, rather than looking for a run less traveled.
There are example of bucking the trend all around the resort. Look at the lines, and look for the alternatives. Who knows, you may just find good ones.
To your sliding success,

7 thoughts on “Lines, Lines, Lines”

  1. Singles lines. Don’t forget that you and your buddy can often split up and ride as singles and ride on consecutive lifts without waiting. And don’t be scared to just jump in when there are three people on a quad. Don’t let chairs go up empty and if they have a problem, the lift operators will set them straight.

  2. Justin,
    you are right there. On quads 1+3=4, 2+2=4, 1+1+2=4, even 1+1+1+1=4. Don’t be shy to do the math, eh!
    to your sliding success,

  3. Idiots today could not figure out how to load when the lines were backed up. Etiquette lessons are needed for so many. You call it out when you are short a person. “SINGLE” A chair should never go up with one person when there are people in line. And if you cannot figure out how to get on and off the lifts, you need to stay on beginner terrain. Especially on busy days.
    Speaking of etiquette, snowboarders have this habit of sitting several people wide across runs and blocking off any jumps or features. I swear, simple stuff like that makes the day seem so much longer. If you ski, avoid the terrain park and features where the snowboarders congregate. They have a herd mentality that is particullarly bad.

  4. You think it’s only in US a problem? No, come to Austria for skiing there are lines everywhere and lunch at 12 is a must for the most people.
    Best wishes from Germany

  5. Jo,
    thanks for posting. You raise a great point. There are lots of people in the ski world and lots of lines. I haven’t been to resorts in Europe, YET! I will make this there. I’ve actually heard war stories of making it through lift lines an many Europeean ares. i.e. take off your skis and push your way through the line so you can move forward and not get your skis stepped on.
    But not being there I would love to hear some other ways to minimize my time in line. Jo, do you have a few ideas specific to your area and your experiences?
    thank you for posting.

  6. Brian Head (which is a fairly tiny resort) have two mid-mountain lifts that are above the snowboard park traffic. Normally they do not have a line at all, even when the main lift lines are packed. I try to stay the upper mountain when I can.
    The road less travelled usually is going to have freshness off to the sides or through the trees. If you know your resort, you know places that you can get away from the gapers and avoid the lines.

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