The Slower the Lift, The Sweeter the Ride

One of the more common critiques of today’s world is the speed at which we do, well, just about everything. Everybody is racing around, usually while looking at a screen, trying to get from A to B. It makes sense. We are part of a culture that values overworking ourselves and refusing to take vacation time.

I can’t blame people for working so much. What else are they supposed to do? Show up to work late and get fired? That would be irrational. Instead, they work two jobs and drink enough caffeine where they begin to travel at the same speed as the rest of the world.

I subscribe to the old adage “stop and smell the roses”. And fortunately, there are a few things in life that, for better or for worse, force us to follow that advice. One of those things is a slow chairlift—especially one in an area without cell service. 

On a slow lift, we are forced into holding a conversation with a friendly local, appreciating the beautiful views, and taking a breath of fresh air. We get to rest our legs while appreciating the finer things in life, like snow piling up on the trees, the smiles of the people skiing below, and the engaging conversation with the stranger sitting next to you.

Slow chairlifts highlight some of my favorite parts of skiing: community, lifestyle, and appreciation of nature.

These are the chairlifts that you can heckle your friends from, as they ski below you; drink at least two beers and make a new ski partner and friend with someone you just met in the lift line. Most of them are double chairs with the unique ability to create a bond between two individuals as they talk about their excitement and how rad it is that they skipped work to go play in the snow. Slow chairlifts highlight some of my favorite parts of skiing: community, lifestyle, and appreciation of nature.

Luckily, most ski resorts still have at least one slow chairlift where the sport has been frozen in time. They offer solace at a busy resort and remind us of a generation past, when the snow was deeper, the skis straighter, and the skiers less concerned about speed.

Here are some of my personal favorite not-high-speed chairlifts ranked in no particular order. Let’s pray to the snow Gods that the corporate world doesn't interfere and overtake these slow, reliable, and beautiful machines. I would love to hear about your favorite chairlifts in the comments. 

  • Wildcat, Alta, UT
  • Snow Ghost, Schweitzer, ID
  • Outpost Chair, Pico, VT
  • Alberta Chair, Wolf Creek, CO
  • The Single Chair, Mad River Glen, VT

—Nick McEachern, Sego Ski Co. Ambassador

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