Could it be love on the lift? Time will tell.
Like many Durango locals, I avoided the hectic scenes at Purgatory Resort and Wolf Creek Ski Area during the holiday weeks with so many out-of-state visitors to our local mountains.
As a reported 5,000 people packed Wolf Creek Ski Area on Dec. 29 and filled U.S. Highway 160 with parked cars to create a dangerous scene, I remained home with family. Though there was 2 feet of new snow from a winter storm, I was content to let the visitors chop it all up with hopes of another big powder day to come in the near future.
So far, no luck on that front.
Still, I continued to appreciate the decision to stay away as Purgatory Resort dealt with the closure of its main lift Dec. 30 through Jan. 2 for repairs. And I was especially glad to have stayed home after chatting with a ski patrol friend who reported 17 collisions in one day at Purgatory Resort that same week. While Purgatory was able to open the “Legend’s Lift” Chair 8 that helped thin some of the herd, without a 50-inch base in the trees to escape the packed slopes, I was happy not to not become one of those unfortunate statistics.
That didn’t leave many opportunities for great chairlift encounters for sharing in this column. However, a Dec. 20 trip to Purgatory before the holiday visitors arrived in full force provided the subject for this week’s entry.
One day after the debut of “Livi on the Lift,” I was witness to the start of a new connection that wouldn’t have been possible if not for a bit of a lift line on a busy Sunday on Chair 3.
One my superpowers is eavesdropping; I find it impossible to tune out the conversations of those around me. So, as a woman in front of me detailed past relationships that had started by chance encounters at Purgatory, my ears were tuned in.
And as she told her friend the requirements she was looking for in a new partner, I looked to my snowboarding pal for the day, who happens to be my roommate, and made sure he was listening, too.
“Someone with a steady job, between the ages of 30 and 35,” seemed to be the baseline requirements. He fit the description. So, I slapped him on the shoulder with my unoccupied mitten and let him know what I had heard.
“Does 34 work?” he asked with enthusiasm.
After a quick glance over, the woman began taking stock of the inquirer. Impressed by the brand of snow pants he roommate was wearing and seeing that he fit the general description, a conversation began and a phone number was soon exchanged.
Later that day, we caught up for a drink at the Powderhouse. An advanced skier, my roommate then had to prove he could keep up on the final run down to the base area.
Another box checked.
Some more “getting to know you” moments were required with an après-ski at The Nugget Mountain Bar. As I sat in my chair by the fire pit and listened to them talk, I could tell this was going somewhere.
We came to find out that not only did these two, who will not be named for privacy purposes, have much in common, we are also previously unknowing neighbors.
My roommate delayed his trip home to see family by a day to spend more time with the new interest. I am happy to report multiple dates have now been had.
That’s what I love about life and spending so much of it at magical places such as Purgatory Resort. Had we been a little slower or faster down the previous run or had we picked another one of the four lines to Lift 3, we might never have met this new friend who lives just across the street.
And whether this potential romance lasts or not, that chance encounter at the very least brought smiles and warm feelings to two 30-something Durangoans who felt a little less alone around the holidays.
John Livingston is the Regional Sports Editor of The Durango Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.