You Never Know Who You’ll Meet On A Chairlift

By Joe Wirth

The chairlift is always the place to relax and rest your legs in between runs, but a lot of the time riding up Copper’s lifts offers an opportunity to spend a few minutes with interesting people with great stories who you would have never expected to meet if you didn’t simply take the initiative to spark a conversation.

I spent one day on the slopes riding up Copper’s chairlifts while getting to know the person next to me and I met young tourists, old locals, Copper employees, ex-Copper employees and every one of them had a great story to tell; but because I got to know so many different people, the following is a collection of the Top Five stories I came across.


The Southern Tourist on the American Flyer Lift

Courtney Meyer is a 17-year-old from Tampa, Fla. who has traveled around the western Rocky Mountain region of the United States with her family of big skiers for the past six years skiing in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado. This spring break was the first time the Meyers have come to Copper Mountain and Courtney said Copper has treated them well.

“The first couple days were really snowy and it was a little different than the 80 degree weather that we’re used to,” Meyer said. “The snow has been great and Copper is such a great mountain I’m sure we’ll be coming back soon.”

Courtney is looking into going to college at the University of Florida and the University of Colorado Boulder

“I like the people here because they’re so nice,” Meyer said. “They’re probably some of the nicest people I’ve ever met as far as talking to people on the lifts and stuff like that.”


Three Generations of Skiing on the Mountain Chief Lift

Michael Lish is a 37-year-old who works at a private trading firm in Chicago that deals with equity options. He came out to Copper to give his two children (three and five-year-olds) their very first skiing experience through Copper’s ski school.

“As much as I don’t want them to grow up too fast I’m definitely excited to be able to ski the mountain with them,” Lish said.

Lish’s father-in-law, Jim Dillon, has been a safety patrol officer at Copper Mountain for over eight years and has Michael struggling to keep up with him when they go off into the powder of the Union Peak’s extreme terrain.

“This is my only trip this year and it’s basically just been trying to keep up with my father-in-law because he skis about 60 times a winter,” Lish said.

  Michael Lish (left) and Jim Dillon (right) pose at the top of the Mountain Chief Lift. (Photo/Joseph Wirth)

Copper in the ‘80s on the Super Bee Lift

Leslie Kinne is a mother of four children from Littleton, Colorado who has been skiing at Copper since her college years when she was a ski school instructor in the late ‘80s for eight years.

“Things were very different here back then and it was kind of like a day resort,” Kinne said. “You could just ski right up, park your car for free and take the lift up right from the parking lot, but I love the changes here at Copper. It’s much more of an international resort attracting more people.”

Kinne hasn’t had her kids go to the ski school at Copper because she has taught all four of her kids how to ski herself.


Why it’s worth it on the Excelerator Lift

Talking to strangers on chairlifts can seem kind of creepy, but the truth of the matter is that if you keep talking to new people as you go up the lifts you’re bound to meet someone really interesting.

Dave Bowden is a broadcast journalist from Denver who has worked with several different CBS affiliates and he has been skiing Copper for over 20 years.

Over the years Bowden has been a cameraman for the World Series, the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Super Bowl. He’s met Wayne Gretzky and a lot of hockey’s greatest players, as well as group of 70-year-old ex-Olympic downhill skiers that taught him some tips to casually skiing faster down the groomers.

Being on the lift with Dave was a really cool experience for myself because we were able to talk about sports journalism, and I would have never guessed that I would meet a seasoned journalism veteran while doing this article.

But it just goes to show that by just talking to that person next to you on the lift, you may meet someone that could be your next role model.




Tips on how to meet people on the lift

You may be thinking that it’s a little different for yourself personally to spark good conversations on chairlifts, so here are a few tips on getting the ball rolling and meeting new people in between runs.


1.    Break the silence early

Whether it’s waiting in line or as you’re walking up to the red line to get on the lift, it’s always good to start the conversation with an easy question like, How’s your day going? before you start your ride together and then go from there.

 2.    Listen

You’re not going to get anything out of the conversations you have on chairlifts if you have your earbuds blaring Lady Gaga. Take out the headphones before you get on the lift and actually give the person next to you the consideration of your full attention.

 3. Ask Questions

You won’t ever get to know the person you’re sitting next to well unless you ask a lot of questions.

Keep asking questions to keep the conversation rolling. It’s a lot more interesting to ask someone a question than to ramble on about yourself, and you’ll get much more out of it too.

4.    Be Friendly

This last tip is a given, but it is the most important tip of all when talking to people on lifts. It’s important to smile and maintain eye contact with people when they’re talking, but you really never know who you’re sitting next to.

If you do find yourself in a conversation with someone who you really don’t like, don’t sweat it. Be nice and courteous, maybe slip in your headphones subtly, and remember that you’re on a lift and you’re getting off in five minutes.


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