Matchmaking in the mountains
December 8, 2016
The idea came to Mike Keshian, founder of LuvByrd, after attending an outdoor mixer at Crested Butte called "The Twist of Love."
A 2004 graduate of Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, Keshian was working as a rental tech in Crested Butte during the winters, and spending the summers in Alaska on a fishing boat. His fateful chairlift ride during the "Twist of Love" inspired him to try his luck as an entrepreneur and create a dating app that would bring together outdoor adventure enthusiasts.
Luvbyrd.com launched in 2014 and up until this past summer, was only available in Colorado. The site allows people to filter potential matches by favorite outdoor activity, ability level and age. So if you're an expert rider or skier you'll find someone who can keep up when you head out of bounds; and likewise, if you're a beginner, you'll find a match where both of you feel comfortable and no one gets left behind.
"The site is gaining in popularity," said Keshian, "and we've now expanded into California, Oregon, Washington and New York. Though Colorado is by far our most popular base."
And there is definitely a need for an outdoor-oriented matchmaking site. Keshian noted that when Outside magazine did a story on Luvbyrd.com in September of 2015 the site got so many visitors that it temporarily crashed.
TAKING IT TO THE SLOPES
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But sometimes the search for the perfect match needs to move offline — and into the great outdoors. More specifically, to the ski slopes.
This Saturday, Dec. 10, Luvbyrd will be hosting its second annual Chairlift Speed Dating Event. The event will be held, appropriately, at Loveland Ski Area.
"We had great feedback after last year's event," Keshian said. "We had over 200 participants and we're expecting a similar number, possibly more, at the event this weekend."
As anyone who has ever used an online dating site will know, blind dates can go terribly wrong. Is being sent off on a chairlift with a total stranger and the hopes of sparks being ignited completely unrealistic (not to mention weird and uncomfortable)?
Brad Carter, a participant in last year's event, gave his take on the experience, and some advice:
"First off, I would tell anyone who is considering going to the event — just go for it," he said. "Some people think the event is funny or a joke, but it's actually a lot of fun and if you don't end up meeting someone to date, then at least you met some new people to ride with.
"Next, have fun, be yourself, be patient and don't judge someone by how they ride or ski," he continued. "We all were beginners at one point. Also, I'd like to thank LuvByrd. I've been in a great relationship since the last event. And anyone who is on the fence, just go for it. Plus Loveland is a great place to ride."
Ready to meet that special someone for the holidays? Here's how it works:
"Participants will get a color-coded armband, which indicates their ability level and age group. We want everyone to feel comfortable," said Keshian, who will be helping to break the ice at the event, and get couples paired up and out on the slopes.
What if you happen to meet the love of your life on your first run? Keep skiing, Keshian said. "We encourage everyone to ride the lift and take a few runs with different people who are attending the event. This is also just a great way to meet like-minded folks, and make new friends."
Tickets purchased online through Luvbyrd.com are $48, which includes your lift ticket and free beer. Luvbyrd will have a special tent at the base of the mountain, and registration begins at 9 a.m. with couples being paired up on the chairlift by 10 a.m. Between 2–3 p.m., the event will start to wind down, with a social hour in the lodge and a raffle between 3:30 and 4 p.m. Raffle prizes include gear from Phunkshun Wear, Candy Grind, Grass Sticks Poles, Meier Skis and a two-night stay at Vail Bunkhouse.
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