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I consider myself a consistently curious person. When I’m not skiing—or honestly, even when I am skiing—I often find myself in an “I wonder…” Google-fest in which I travel further and further down an e-research hole. My friend, the writer Brendan Leonard—who recently penned a story about why we should all spend more time learning and less time on social media—encouraged me to place the Wikipedia and Britannica apps on my phone in the same thumb-striking location as Instagram. This allows me to quickly answer eyebrow-furrowing wonderments and find odd random facts too. For instance, I now know that a jellyfish’s mouth and anus are, in fact, the same hole. (Unfortunately, I didn’t find the answer to my immediate follow up question: well, what the hell happens when a jellyfish sneezes?!)
As interesting as the anatomy of gelatinous marine life is—and I have to say that the discovery of a creature swimming along with a mouth-butthole ranks pretty damn high on my list of “say, what?!” facts—I am more spellbound by a dilemma: How can I possibly possess knowledge of the pie hole-balloon knot combo of a booger fish I only see on nature documentaries, yet I cannot figure out what in the hell is going on in lift lines these days?
I noticed a few peculiarities while shuffling about at the base of chair lifts this season. Some are interesting, others are concerning. Of the notable head-scratchers, skier fashion is one. I see a growing number of helmets with the built-in cosmonaut goggle shields and reflective onesies and jackets that are very expensive and make the wearer look like a breakfast burrito on skis…which is to say, delicious. High-waisted, skin tight ski pants are in and so are saggy-baggy pants, too. Fashion trends from the 90s and early 2000s that I thought were forever passé are now the coolness, including the mullet. This one sent me e-digging
During March of 2020, there was a drastic increase in Google searches for “how to cut my own hair” and “how to cut a mullet.” Vice reports that, among private school students in England, the mullet is the hottest mop to sport. There are currently over 773 million views on TikTok’s #mullet tag, which is an awful lot of eyeballs peeping a mane that looks like it’s buffering at the midway point of a haircut. But still, the half-a-haircut hairdo is all over lift lines and ski resorts.
Now, my commentary is not the end all/be all for skier fashion. I am no style icon or trend setter, not even close, exemplified by my pounds of ubiquitous ski town flannel and the absurd amount of tee-shirts I’ve had since high school. But pop culture and what and how things become in vogue has always fascinated me. Something can be considered ridiculous one day and then fashionable or cool within that matter of years.
The lift line mullet baffles me, but it is not nearly as concerning as the latest chair lift trend: skiers acting like rage-filled dickalopes.
This winter, I witnessed guest services folks yelled at. I saw lifties heckled and jeered. I observed under-the-breath sourness mutate into screaming matches between skiers. When my gal reminded three young groms that alternating in the maze means to, well, alternate, they called her a Karen. A frowny-faced, possibly overserved après-er flipped us the bird when we got onto the bus before he could. Apparently, we shouldn’t have stood in line in front of him. All this is to say, skiers were extremely aggressive this winter and I cannot put my finger on why.
I understand that we’re in the third calendar year of a pandemic that we thought would end after we all stayed home for two weeks in March 2020. I realize that sometimes, especially on powder days, lift lines are long. I get that parking can be a mess and paying to park is a major bummer. I know folks spend boatloads of cash for ski vacations and locals are overworked, underpaid, and rent is too high. But, we’re skiing for crying out loud! This is the fun part, the release we’ve all been waiting for. When did courtesy and kindness become uncool? Is being a pompous rude ass now cool?
If you’re the type of skier who becomes disrespectful screaming dingus to any and all if the day doesn’t go according to your expectations, then I politely ask you to take a long, hard look in the mirror. My assumption is that staring back at you will be skiing’s version of a jellyfish: that’s right, a goggle-tanned mouth-butthole. And friend, that ain’t a good look.
Please remember, be nice. We are, after all, just skiing.