Saturday, April 13, 2024

The chairlift: Snacks

Whitefish Pilot | March 20, 2024 12:00 AM

I’ve never been one to go in for lunch on a ski day, so like many others, I carry treats. Ski snacks are as varied as the skiers and boarders who eat them. You never know what people are going to pull from their pockets. 

Years ago on Chair 1, the man beside me was munching from a baggie half-full of breakfast sausages. He kindly offered me one — a cold, greasy meat stick. No thanks.

I’ve seen leftover fish tacos, boiled eggs, beef jerky and countless cookies devoured on chairlifts.

I took to carrying fun-sized candy bars years ago. The burst of energy they provide never fails to fuel a few more runs. A mother of two young skiers told me she never rides the lifts without candy, in the event the three are stuck for some period of time on a chairlift.

Nuts, granola or a full-blown trail mix are often noshed on lifts. Last week on Chair 4, a man and his buddy agreed that trail mix must contain M&Ms.

“Only no red ones,” one man said and explained he is allergic to the dye in the red M&Ms. 

“So, what do you do?” his friend asked, earnestly.

“I pick ‘em out,” came the obvious response.

My brother was fond of eating M&Ms on the hill, too. Once, he stood north of Ptarmigan Bowl, crunching on the candies by the handful and taking in the view. 

A few skiers stopped nearby and asked him about the topography, as if he were an expert. The skiers pointed toward Whitefish Lake and asked him, “What is that?”

“That? Ah, that’s a rice paddy,” he told them with all the confidence in the world.

They nodded appreciatively at him and one another before skiing away. My sister swears most folks ascribe authority to tall people, merely because they are tall. 

When I was in college, it was customary to bring a sandwich from home for a day on the slopes, bury it in the snow and enjoy it at lunchtime. This practice taught me that eating a tuna sandwich that has been languishing in a snowbank for hours may not be worth the financial savings.

I rode Chair 4 last Friday with a fellow who was drinking a Modelo. The onset of spring conditions usher in open-container days on the lifts. The ubiquitous brew used to be PBR but now you are as likely to see a Stella, a Sierra or a Big Sky IPA emerge from a pocket.

Stay safe out there. Bring a snack. Drink some water and enjoy the final few weeks of the season.