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Ski Lift Conversations?

iamOshawott

Certified Ski Diva
#1
Hello Divas! I had the chance to ski Colorado a couple of weeks ago. One of the things that I noticed is that people actually talk to you on the lifts! I was really surprised since out here in the west, people just mind their own business. It felt weird at first, ("why is this stranger talking to me?") but then it just kept happening! Then I realized that it was just how Colorado people are, it's a part of their ski culture.

So do people in your area usually talk (to strangers) on the lifts? I swear I've never had someone start a conversation with me. I only started one with a ski patrol though, it was only me and her on the lift!
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
Well, I'm in Colorado. Usually I do say something simple, like "Beautiful day!" The way the person responds makes it clear to me whether they want to continue talking or not. Either way is fine with me. If we're at Breck and they seem to be cool, I try to give them tips for how to navigate and where to ski for their ability level.

On Monday, I rode the lift with a guy who was visiting Breck for the first time in 20 years. I would have happily given him some suggestions for runs he might not find on his own, but he was too busy bragging at me about what he'd skied here. He apparently used to be a ski instructor, and I gather he couldn't break out of lecture / tour guide mode. Okay then, find the goods on your own, I guess.
 

COchick

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
I think it's pretty typical to chat on the lift? But I'm from the south sooo... it's totally normal to have conversations with strangers.
 

alicie

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
Skied for 5 days over Christmas in Austria and the only conversations I had on the lift was a british bloke saying happy christmas as we got off the chairlift and to another british bloke and his wife that it was affa green they agreed then we agreed that the weather was however very nice. Can't say whether that's typical or not but in Europe is pretty friendly with the odd exception but I think the language barrier is a bit odd too. I was in the gondola going down and a man was trying to say something to me and we went through like 4 languages till we got to English. It complicates things slightly as not everyone speaks much English.
 
#6
I find that there is a real difference between destination resorts and ski areas that serve day trippers when it comes to chatting on lifts. At destination resorts like Sun Valley everyone is either on vacation, living the dream, or retired, and everyone's in a great mood. I am super chatty there and so is everyone else. When my husband and I meet up for lunch we always spend lots of time telling each other about the interesting people we chatted with. Now, at Crystal Mt, close to Seattle, where I've had to get up in the dark at 6:30 and drive almost 2 hours to ski, and I'm thinking about all the other things I have to do on my weekend, I am not nearly so gregarious, and neither are many other people. I always say hello, nice day, but then leave it to others to engage, or not.

Of course there are lots of places that have day trippers AND vacationers, like Breck and Whistler. At Whistler I find it's 50/50 whether I have chatty neighbors or not, and I find generally people on vacation are way more likely to want to chat. Why not, they are relaxed and happy and didn't have to fight for parking. Someone that drove up from Vancouver probably has the same sort of mindset I do when I go to Crystal.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
#8
Totally varies. I've had in depth chairlift conversations in Europe and in Utah and wherever. (For whatever reason I'm kind of drawn to attempting to communicate with people on the chair in Europe, despite possible language barriers. I think I'm curious about their experience. ) And I also most often enjoy the silence if I'm skiing solo, but usually I'm on the lift with people I know. But I'm with bounceswoosh -if I'm feeling talkative, a quick "nice day" is a good gauge for whether people want to talk or not.
 

Kimmyt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
Sometimes I chat sometimes I don't. Sometimes I chat enough that I will do a run or two with people, other times we barely say a word. It depends on how I feel. Am also CO, but grew up in the Philly metro so just recently have gotten more used to the friendly nature of folks out here. (As opposed to thinking 'what do you want from me' every time someone strikes up a convo like I used to heh)
 

SkiGAP

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
It complicates things slightly as not everyone speaks much English.
On any given weekend, I might be skiing in France, Andorra, Spain, Austria, Germany or Italy - and in any of those places, people from all over have headed south (or north) to the mountains. Even here in France, it is not a given the person sitting next to you speaks French, let along English (except in Val d'Isere :-) ). I think that is one particular primary reason people don't strike up conversations.

Plus, in the Pyrenees, even when you do speak French or Spanish or Catalan - the accents are so wacked out that you may not understand anyway :-)

But generally, nothing against talking.
 
#11
I've found people to chat with on the lift all over, both destination resorts and places that are mainly for locals. In the last decade, been skiing in the southeast, Mid-Atlantic, northeast, and Rockies (UT, WY, MT). At the same time, there are also people who are clearly not interested in conversation. Can often tell up front. Although if I'm bored and want to engage, most of the time I can start at least a short conversation to pass the time.

I've gotten more interested in starting conversations at Alta/Snowbird in recent years. Mostly to see if I can learn something about conditions around the mountain. Do it even when skiing with my ski buddy.
 

mahgnillig

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
The topic of conversation this season in Tahoe had been the lack of snow. I can almost always find something to say about that!
 
#13
Californians tend to be excellent at small talk in general so chatting on the lift is fairly common. I always start with a "how's your day going?" type of opening and most people respond. We have one local friend that we met in the parking lot and usually text when we are up so we can meet up for a few runs. I rarely ski with people I meet on the lift. Conversation usually ends at the unload with a "enjoy your day."
 
#14
As opposed to thinking 'what do you want from me' every time someone strikes up a convo like I used to heh)
I know I behave differently when on ski trips than when I do in the city. I actually loaned my new smartphone to a total stranger on the bus at Sun Valley once. No way in hell would I have done that on my commuting bus! (My bus is kinda rough). And I strike up conversations with people on the SV bus too, whereas I avoid eye contact at all costs on my home bus.
 
#15
I know I behave differently when on ski trips than when I do in the city. I actually loaned my new smartphone to a total stranger on the bus at Sun Valley once. No way in hell would I have done that on my commuting bus! (My bus is kinda rough). And I strike up conversations with people on the SV bus too, whereas I avoid eye contact at all costs on my home bus.
For sure it's the vacationing difference. I once hung out in Central Park in NYC with a guy who called himself T-Bone. No way I would have done that in CA.
 

volklgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
With 3 minute lift rides, it's hard to get too in-depth, but everyone here is either really chatty or jamming to tunes. I could be either, depending on the day. When I'm skiing alone, I'm more likely to keep to myself and just sing, but when there's a group of us, we always chat with vacationers and non-locals.
 

just jane

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
I usually chat with folks on the lift, especially when I'm skiing solo. When DH and I are together, we're probably a little less likely to converse with others but I'd say the ratio is when I'm solo - 90% of the time I chat if people are amenable, when I'm with DH, it's maybe 50-60% of the time I/we'll talk to the others. Funny - I'm an introvert. It feels a bit awkward though to just sit there.

Last Saturday the funniest thing happened - I hopped on a chair with 3 snowboarders who were riding together - all guys. They were all probably mid-20s and umm, pretty stereotypical, I hate to say. One of them forgot or didn't realize I was on there, or didn't realize I was female, and the conversation quickly got ... interesting. Finally I leaned over and said, "You do realize there's a female here, don't you?" He didn't. He was really embarrassed. I told him I was going to report to my friends that guys really do talk about that stuff.
 
#18
Always. I really can’t remember, in 14 years, a time when people didn’t want to at least share a few friendly words here at Sugarloaf. But it’s a friendly place - and people seem genuinely glad to be up here in the middle of (usually freezing) nowhere.

Although some conversations get quite muffled by copious face coverings and masks.
 

iamOshawott

Certified Ski Diva
#19
Very interesting! I do find people here in the PNW are "colder" compared to Californians. BF moved from CA to WA a couple years ago and also complained about "Seattle Freeze". Even though I ski Whistler, I still find that people tend to stay away from the conversations. My ski camp instructor tried to get people to talk to her, it was just awkwarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd.

Sometimes when it's cold, I just want to sit there and not do anything, talking included!
 

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