A slope-side wedding, showing out-of-state skiers some Colorado charm and more Stories From the Lift

Whether youre a skier or a snowboarder, theres one thing that unites us all: The lift.

The lift is where you spark conversations with strangers. Its where you capture that prized selfie. Its where you get amped for your next run. And, sometimes, its where crazy stories occur, from meeting the love of your life to, well, doing the exact opposite.

We asked our readers to share some of their favorite Stories From the Lift. Heres a selection:

RELATED:Check out last years Stories From the Lift

Another one bites the dust

In 1967, when I was 14, I was skiing A-Basin. This was back in the days of endless, meandering lift lines and exasperatingly slow lifts. Mid-morning, as I reached the end of the lift line, I called out Single? and a stunning woman way up toward the front signaled me with her pole.

As were most all lifts in those days, it was a fixed double chair with no restraining bar, and this lift had an option to either disembark at mid-mountain or ride to the top. As we chatted, she said she was a student at CU. Being endlessly optimistic, I tried my best to seem nonchalant and suave, and eventually launched into an animated story involving a ski adventure. I was so intent on impressing this woman that I didnt notice the approaching midway hop-off, and failed to lift my ski tips. They dug deep into the soft snow and levered me off the chair mid-sentence like a catapult in need of trajectory adjustment, and planted my face into a vast pillow of champagne powder, while the chair and the source of my distraction continued in silent relief to the top.

Laine Ludwig, Gunnison

Good ol Colorado charm

This really isnt a knock on our southern neighbors, but several seasons ago I was skiing alone at Loveland. Being the social type, I always look to pack up on the chair lift if there is room. The folks in front of me were a double. I said, Hey! Mind if I join ya? in my most friendly tele-skier approach. They both looked at me like a stranger just crashed their kids wedding and said No. Of course, thats all the motivation I needed to shimmy right in between them and get on the lift anyway. We were barely off the launch when I said, So! I can tell you folks arent from around here . They admitted to being from Houston. I proceeded to bend their ear the entire ride about being friendly, and about proper Colorado ski etiquette. Not sure I made any points, but I so enjoyed making them socially uncomfortable!

Josh Abram, Lafayette

Slopeside elopement

In the 1980s, my boyfriend, my son and I were skiing in Telluride. We were flagged down by three people: a couple and, turns out, a justice of the peace. They asked if we would witness their marriage. My boyfriend and I proceeded to be the witnesses and my son took pictures. Later that evening, we tracked them down in town (Telluride was considerably smaller back then). We offered to buy them a congratulatory drink and got the full story. They were from Arizona, and their families couldnt agree on wedding plans. So the couple sent out announcements that they were getting married at Telluride, with the date and ski run name (I believe it was See Forever) but no one showed up (I think, as suspected). Hence, they flagged us down to help!

Jan Carron, Arvada

Strangers in the night

Two of my sons were skiing Copper Mountain on a cold and snowy day and were all bundled up with helmet, goggles, balaclava and warm clothing. They paired up for the lift ride with a couple who was similarly dressed. The couple asked, Where do you two live? One of my sons answered, Leadville. The couple said, We know folks from Leadville. So one son asks, Who do you know? The couple said, The Hartzells. My sons said, We are the Hartzells!

Bob Hartzell, Leadville

Never too old

Back in my early 20s, in the early 80s, I rode a two-man chairlift with an older woman wearing a ski patrol jacket. She had that very outdoorsy, weathered look. I thought to myself, she must have been skiing since skiing first started. So I had to ask her how long she had been a skier. She laughed and said that she had lived below Iron Mountain in Michigan her entire life and had never tried downhill skiing until her 70th birthday! She was 73 when I was on the lift with her. Within three years, she became an expert skier and was on the ski patrol. I told her she was my hero. I think of her whenever I or someone else says, Im too old to keep doing something or to try something new. Youre never too old!

Cindy Baroway, Lakewood

A stack of blueberry pancakes

On Feb. 4, 2006, the masses were doing laps around chair 6 at Breck, waiting for it to open to get all that untouched powder. Nearby, I spotted a girl eating like a pound of blueberry pancakes.

Finally, the lift started running and I was in line by myself. When I reached the top, the Imperial Lift the highest chairlift in North America had just started running. A few hundred more vertical feet on a powder day? Heck, yeah.

I skated up to the chair just as that pancake girl got herself up off the snow after tripping. The timing worked out that we ended up on the same lift. We talked for the 5 minutes to the top and she asked if I wanted to hike up and drop in off the cornice. I had no idea what a cornice was but yeah, of course, I agreed.We got to the top of Peak 8 and she dropped in and made a few turns and waited. I got my courage up and did the same. I did my best to keep up with her for one run.

We stopped on the side of the mountain and I got her number to be able to connect again. I didnt carry a phone back then so memorized her number and plugged it into my phone later that day as Lauren Snowboard.

Our first eight dates were riding up to snowboard. Weve been married for 12 years, have two awesome boys and multiple businesses together helping others get into the outdoors. She is the best human on earth and I get to spend the rest of my life with her because she fell before getting on a chairlift. It was the first and only time Ive seen her fall on a snowboard. Oh, after about six phones, she is still Lauren Snowboard in my contacts!

Scott Jones, Highlands Ranch

Frozen what???

A number of years ago, I was an ambassador at Copper Mountain. One of our duties was to engage with people as we were riding up on the chair lift. One morning around the middle of February, I was riding up on the American Flyer lift with three other people. It was a four-person lift at that time. I asked them where they were from. One couple was from out of state and the other was a lady from Nederland.

Oh, Nederland, I said. You must be getting ready for Frozen Dead GuyDays.

Yes, she replied. I am on the committee and plans are in full swing, including the coffins race, the Grandpas in the Shed documentary, The Newly Dead Game, etc.

The out-of-state couple nearly fell off the lift hearing us talk about Frozen Dead Guy Days. They couldnt quite believe that it was an actual Nederland town festival. We filled them in on Bredo Morstoel and how he came to be known as The Frozen Dead Guy. I am sure they went back home and had a great story to tell their friends.

Dick Spearel, Highlands Ranch

RELATED: Check out photos from last years Frozen Dead Guy Days

Cheap tickets

When I was in junior high, I took the South Suburban ski bus from Littleton to the Front Range ski areas. There were three buses, and when we got to the parking lot of the various areas, the chaperone got out and bought our discounted lift tickets, the cheapest of which was $3 and the most expensive, $4.50. The lift tickets were attached with little metal key chains that hooked onto the zipper of our parkas. One day when I had my skis on and got to the lift, I realized I had no ticket. I had dropped it somewhere between the bus and the lift line. I spent the entire day sidling up to other skiers so the lift operator couldnt see I had no ticket. My friend and I knocked off early and went back to the bus where we told another friend about my mishap. He replied, Oh, that must have been the ticket I found in the parking lot. I turned it into the ticket office and got a refund.

Martha Campbell, Denver

Lost glove

I had a very adventurous childhood growing up in Kremmling. My cousin Holly was my best friend. We spent a lot of time on the slopes of what was then called Silver Creek, now Ski Granby Ranch. When we were about 6 or 7, our moms enrolled us in lessons, which we thought we were far too advanced for. So after going down a few green runs with the newbie class, we wanted to try something a bit more challenging.

On our way up to the lift, Holly and I decided we would accidentally lose some of our gear over the run we wanted to go down. So I dropped my mitt on Easy Money, a blue run that looked fun to us. Our instructor had to take a class full of 6- to 8-year-olds down a run that was probably too advanced for most of the skiers there. The next time, Holly dropped her hat off the lift over another run! We thought this was a great plan and were enjoying our newfound control of class. However, the next time we lined up to get on the lift, our instructor sat between us! We were shocked that he had discovered our plan. He kept a tight reign on us for the rest of the afternoon.

Janelle Heppner,Imperial, Saskatchewan, Canada

Black Jack

On a Saturday in March, I was getting on the Lumberjack lift at Copper Mountain by myself when a young man hopped on and asked if he could ride up with me.

We chatted for a few minutes (because Lumberjack is the slowest lift in the world!) and I felt my phone buzz. My son had texted me that his friend had lost his phone back deep in the Copper terrain. This posed a problem as the boys were flying out later that afternoon to return to college. My lift mate asked where they were skiing and he said, Funny, I just came from back there and found a phone and gave it to the liftie at the Black Jack lift. I quickly texted my son. His response was, How weird would it be if his phone is the one I found?

About two hours later, my phone rang. My son informed me that they found the Black Jack lift and sure enough, the phone belonged to his friend. We beat the traffic down the mountain and I got the boys to DIA in time for them to return to college on the East Coast. The ski gods were smiling on us that day. Hope my lift mate reads this and knows all is well and right in the world!

Dawn Widger, Littleton

Christmas morning disasters

It was Christmas Day 1969. As a youngster in sixth grade, I met a friend to ski at the legendary local haunt, Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs. My friend had just received a new jacket as a present that morning. Unfortunately, he pulled the lone, defective T-bar where the spring failed to extend, causing the T-bar to gradually elevate when climbing uphill. I was behind my friend and noticed the impending problem and yelled for him to bailout. The T-bar lifted him off of the ski track and then the arm slid behind his back, dangling him face down precariously above the ski track. Suddenly, I heard a rip and he was released from the T-bar onto the ski track. His new jacket was ruined with the zipper torn from top to bottom. He had that jacket all of three hours!

Chuck Berry, Longmont

Get a nap in

For years, Vail Mountain had a creaky, two-seat lift (circa 1973) with a soothing footrest that took 14 minutes through a gauntlet of trees to rise above the isolated double-black-diamond Highline run. On a spring day in 2007, after pounding the slopes all morning and breaking for lunch, my 15-year-old son Zach and I headed for the Highline lift. We decided we would ride up separately to spread out and relax.

I was exhausted and relished the peaceful ride up. But it was too peaceful. I kept shaking myself to wake up. As I approached the top, I suddenly realized that if I was having trouble, what about Zach behind me? I looked back and sure enough, he was slumped over.

#instagram_ad {float: right;width: 40%;padding: 0.5em;border-left: 2px solid #EDB207;margin-bottom: .2em;margin-left: .5em;}@media (max-width:416px){#instagram_ad {width:100%;}

the know outdoors instagram

I yelled Zach! Hey, Zach! but he didnt answer. I got off the lift and continued to shout, Zach, wake up wake up!

This got the attention of the lift operator and he realized my son, who was lying with the safety bar still down, slumped to the side, was out cold. He stopped the lift and there slept Zach, right at the point of disembarkment. The lift operator opened the door to his hut and said to me, Hey, does this one belong to you?

The operator then tapped Zach on the helmet, shoutingHey, homey, get up.My son shook himself awake and embarrassingly got off the lift. Zach took a ribbing the whole rest of the day.

Marie-Elena Flatow, Littleton

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Adventurist, to get outdoors news sent straight to your inbox.

Older Post Newer Post