INTERVIEW WITH A LIFTY
We wanted to get the scoop straight from the lifty's mouth so we sat down for a round of beer to hear the truth and nothing but the truth...
Here we go:
1) How long have you been a lift operator? Do you work top or bottom? Which is the most fun?
Throughout the day, all the operators assigned to the chair switch off going top and bottom.
If you are sleepy the top is miserable because it is hard to stay awake. But also standing by the PBO (stop, slow, and fast buttons) can get you a gnarly sunburn and really tired of saying hi to the same 1,000 people all day.
2) What is something that you thought you would never see/ experience as a lift operator, but did?
The craziest thing I have seen is the beginner riders that decide it's a good idea to ride the hardest chairs and go to the very top of the mountain. I've seen people lose their boards down double black diamonds. People falling off lifts in insane winds and living. Lots of crazy things happen on the mountain.
3) Most memorable skier/ boarder?
Henrik Harlaut spent the opening month last season riding Mammoth's park which was cool to watch. Also, Steve Aoki is a regular.
4) Ever let somebody on without a pass?
Multiple times. Oops.....
5) Biggest a-hole move you've seen?
Fully grown adults that throw fits like a child when you tell them that your lift is closed.
6) Hard work? Or hardly working?
Hard work during Christmas, in the mornings, and at the end of the day. If it's not a holiday, being a lift operator is very 'relaxing', but when it's crowded, be ready to control a mob of guests fed up with waiting in lines and paying too much for food.
7) Weirdest thing anyone's ever said or asked.
People that ask how the conditions are on runs that are visibly rocky and icy. Also, people are always asking if I am lonely.
8) Something nobody would ever know about the back end of the job.
Lifts being shut down for weather, visibility, and the wind is very inconsistent. Ski Patrol rides up the lift and decides if it's safe or not. So if a lift is shut down for weather, it's probably not that bad, sometimes the mountain can be over cautious.
9) Best advise you can give to others wanting to get into lift operations.
It is a quick way to get a job on the mountain and to meet people. I would recommend experiencing the lifty life and then moving on to something else unless you love getting sunburned.
There ya have it.