There isn’t much to being a lifty. You have to groom the loading and unloading zones where customers enter and exit the lift, which is done with a small snow rake that helps push the snow around in order to get things even and level for everybody. If someone falls off the lift or is having trouble getting on, then it’s the lefties job to stop or slow the lift for smooth operations. The one other thing that lifties are responsible for is closing and opening of the lift. So, what I am really trying to say is that it is one of the easiest jobs anyone other than a computer is responsible for. It’s the part that is not in the job description that really makes the kicker.
Today I got about 5 runs down the mountain while I was working. These runs take me deep into the powder country where I dodge trees as I make my way down some of the sickest stuff I have ever hit. Powder language new to me and I am working on learning how to speak in this strange dialect so that I can resend it to my readers through the interwebs. (stay tuned here for more!)
I have notices that there is a progression of moods that happen throughout the day. In the morning I am usually better than your average groggy mofo who just woke up and is ready to get bent by the slightest challenge that comes at him in the morning hours. I am more the guy that is rocking out to his ipod on the bus in the morning just trying to trick my brain into waking up. It’s the late morning/early afternoon part of the day that really grinds my gears. It feels like there is nothing worthwhile going, and no way to make things interesting. At this part of the day I am forcing myself to talk to people with manors that take true grit to get off the tongue. I am also taking runs down the groomed trails just wasting my time. It was when afternoon hit that things really started to get ramped up.
I had a desire to hit Lefties Canyon today which is a bit of a hike from the top of the lift I operate. After I got my boots strapped in and cut left of the groomed trails it becomes a time of weaving through trees in fresh powder deep enough make you lean back less you get caught up to your waste in white, sticky, wet, snow. There was a moment where I was sliding along, not going fast, just seeing how long my glide would last before I would have to start pushing by foot. I took a slow moment to realize how little effort I had to spend in order to move. I hardly even need to try and stay standing up. It was at this moment that I noticed all the trees rolling by and the wind blowing through the forest. It was so much peace that I had to laugh. Astonished with the bliss that I had found I took my time carving through the canyon and from that moment on my day/life got much better.
Now I write from a coffee shop. I have made far less money than I could have if I decided to work at a job that makes money. Instead I trade cash for the feeling that is had after hanging out on a mountain all day. We could try and put a price on this feeling and short term it wouldn’t be all that valuable. It’s after this feeling gets embedded into the soul and when the feeling is not something of a passing moment but a way of life. I am new to this lifty business but if I were to put a price on the embedding of that feeling I would then have to shoot myself for defiling such a serine moment with something as tragic and boring as economics. Instead I will remain hopelessly star struck and completely in awe of the little bit of heaven that I have found and will continue working on making it a permanent part of my life.