Have you ever dreamed of exploring Lake Louise? What about Deer Valley? Ski meadows? Skiing with nature?
I have all of those thoughts, but I’m still a little nervous about dropping down onto the snow – because, um, maybe I would be too drunk to ski down to Deer Valley.
The thrill of the slopes is something I still had in my head, a dream that most people end after stumbling upon a lift and stumbling back to the car. I’d woken up one morning and thought, “I want to do that” and, sure enough, I waltzed into the Ski Lift Person office to buy my lift ticket.
I just assumed I could go on all of the other lift rides without any awkwardness or embarrassment, like I always do, with nothing to worry about but how tired I was from my previous trip.
I passed the office and asked if they would like to see me fill out my ticket before I went. It seemed so simple. But here’s where things started to get complicated.
“Yeah, and I’m sure the Snowcats will send you a lift ticket on the morning of your visit,” said the voice on the phone.
That was all she said, but the expression on her face told me something bad had just happened. I couldn’t understand what had happened, how she was even holding the phone – it was greasy, and full of a splashy acid taste, and she was about as pretty as a nursery nurse.
“I’m gonna make sure you do NOT buy a lift ticket right now,” she added.
In my dreams, going on a ski run at the age of 5 and landing somewhere on the mountain with my very best friends, that would be a fun morning.
In reality, I’d forget I had a lift ticket and end up back at the beginning, with this old woman and this sulphur-smelling telephone receiver. At worst, she’d swear at me, at which point I’d retaliate by picking up my broom and trying to shake the chairlift chair back down the mountain and kicking it out of her face.
“You don’t believe me, do you?” I’m thinking now, thinking she’s going to do that again.
“I know.” I try to explain.
“It’s called fraud and fraud will be your fate. After you buy the ticket, the Snowcats may not even take you up to your lift location, because they are trying to spot you.”
“Oh. It’s not fraud,” I try again.
“We call it ‘fraud prevention’. Basically, they’re going to have to watch all your movements all the time. Or you may not be allowed to purchase the ticket at all. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”
She’s very happy. She keeps saying things like, “Oh, that’s sooo unfair!”
I hang up and I’m like, “Oh, OK.”
After five minutes of trying to calm my nerves, I’m so used to being spoken to that it actually helps me sort out my thoughts about that money as quickly as possible. So the first thing I do is let the Snowcats know that I’m at Deer Valley.
“I’ll be sure to send you a lift ticket when you get up there. I just got the deadline. I’ll just make sure you get it when you go up.”
She laughs. She sounds so happy. I feel validated. My inner child starts to wonder if she doesn’t even know that I have a six-year-old son and it’s about cold feet and the weather outside.
On my way home, I tell my friend, who says the person on the phone has “one of the most sincere faces I’ve ever seen”. I then said my remaining, well, interesting thoughts in a way I’d never expected to.
I miss her already.