Saturday, January 28, 2017

The people you meet on the ski bus

I never used to ride the ski bus.  I'd see it lumbering up the hill to the ski area and think, too slow. Probably too crowded.  I don't want to be tied to a bus schedule.

Change is good, though, and after being blocked in by Subarus crammed into non existent parking spots a couple times, I decided this was going to be the Year of The Snow Bus.  I climbed onboard and haven't looked back.

Now that I'm a regular rider, I've become acquainted with the bus's cast of characters.  The bus stops a lot, and there's not a whole lot to do while you're on it, so people watching becomes an acceptable activity.  The riders seem to often fall in the following categories:

Sassy Seniors:  There's a jovial crowd of retired people who ride up in the morning, ski for half the day, and take the bus back down to town after lunch.  Most of them know each other, and strike up conversations about subjects like cooking (which makes the rest of us hungry).  They track their vertical carefully, and always seem happy.  The ones over 70 get free season passes, so if they get one run in or twenty that day, it really doesn't matter.

Silent Teens:  It's midweek and it seems as if they should be in school, but here they are, riding the ski bus.  At least if they are skipping school, it's to do something healthy.  They don't say much, but if they do talk, they're always polite.

Ski Moms:  They trail behind their enthusiastic children, picking up gloves and stray ski poles.  One runs a nonprofit program that provides gear and passes free to kids who otherwise couldn't learn to snowboard.  Sporting dyed blue hair, she affectionately barks orders at her horde.  "NO BRAGGING ABOUT HOW GOOD YOU ARE," she yells into the bus.  "If you do, you have to make the sandwiches with me."  One child looks bemused.  "I'm better at making sandwiches than I am at snowboarding," he confesses.

Helpful Harrys:  These guys see a woman holding a snowboard and just have to offer some tips.  However, they mean well and usually have useful things to say.  One adjusted my bindings and it was an improvement, so bring it, Harry.

The Outsiders:  They aren't from here.  They are on vacation and are enthusiastic about everything.  Icy slopes?  High winds?  They don't care, they're just happy to be here.

Mystery Men:  These guys get on the bus wearing civilian clothes.  Guessing what their mission is can occupy you for a few stops.  The explanation is probably something boring like they work up there in the lodge, or they pay for a locker where they keep all their ski clothes and equipment, but it's still fun to speculate.

Riding the bus isn't perfect.  If you miss one, you're stuck for an hour or more until the next one arrives.  Sometimes it's really full, or there's no heat.  But it saves me 16 miles of driving and it's free, funded by local businesses.  Plus there's built in entertainment, courtesy of the other passengers.  Ride on, ski bus!
image from here

8 comments:

  1. Ski Bus riders: "I wonder who that beautiful woman is who started riding the bus with us. She seems very observant. Maybe she's a writer as well as a rider."

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    1. Haha. Or, "who is that weirdo looking at me?"

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  2. Lots of categories of riders! But all or most all, going to do something physical on a mountain with beautiful views. Great of the merchants to subsidize this...ride on!

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    1. I'm glad they have it. Some people just ride around town on it.

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  3. what a great service - we would be stung severely in the hip pocket for something like that here.

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    1. I was really surprised when I learned about it. Local businesses pay for it and there are some fundraisers too.

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  4. I've been riding a midweek ski bus for many years. Most of the regular riders know each other, and we always have a good time.

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    1. The ski bus can be really social especially if there are Canadians aboard! They always seem happy.

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