If there’s one thing that’s frustrating about skiing, aside from ski boots that don’t fit and bone-chilling weather, it’s lift lines. We all get it. Shelling out a substantial pile of cold, hard cash for a pass, and then having to wait in a queue, quite simply sucks. Too much time standing around, and subsequently, too many people who can snake your favourite stashes. Lineups can cut into your time on the slopes, temporarily soften your shit-eating grin, and be a real buzz kill on a powder day.

But in my opinion, lift lines are one of the best things about skiing.

Now, before you throw this issue into the recycling bin in disgust, hear me out. While I prefer to score as many runs as the rest of you, each and every time I round the corner after a hot lap, only to see an ocean of humanity jostling its way into position for a creaky chariot ride to the heavens, it gives me a grin. I get fired up on the fact there are so many people who love going skiing. I relish hearing the crowd hoot and holler about the previous run, and seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces. As someone who has the opportunity to ski more often than a weekend warrior, I enjoy being extra Canadian, and uttering the words, “after you,” at North American resorts; or in an effort to hilariously embrace the stampede-like nature of European ones, pushing my elbows out like I’m in a mosh pit at a Metallica concert. But most of all, I appreciate the opportunity to chat up complete strangers, and make single-serving friends under the umbrella of skiing.

We live in an era where technology can have a tendency to rule the day, so to see so many people unshackling themselves from their devices to simply go outside, particularly young ones, gives me hope for the future health of not only our sport, but society in general. And regardless of its length, a lift line is a positive place to be. It’s full of happy-go-lucky people being social, and eagerly escaping from the at-times annoying aspects of everyday life. There are no bills to pay, work projects to worry about, or stresses to endure. It’s just you, and a lot of people like you, only thinking about that next run, which will be that much better than the last.

Photo by Mike Helfrich

So this winter, when you’re waiting in line, take a look around, and take it all in. Skiing brings together so many people from all walks of life, which is something that should be celebrated, not complained about. And there’s plenty of pow to go around.

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