Letter to the editor: Show your favorite liftie some love on Liftie Appreciation Day

Tim McCall


Without the humble liftie, the front line, the hand that governs the bull wheel, the ski day would go nowhere. As the last line of defense between novice skier and heavy machinery, we can recall a not-too-distant occasion when a liftie whisked us from the path of an incoming chair. As beginners embarking on the path to intermediate-hood, a friendly operator slowed the fixed-grip down so we could hop on the lift and head off toward the blues. For shredders, a knowing nod and an ever-present Kinco-clad fist bump awaits as the chairlift departs toward new tricks or choice conditions. All the while, the liftie stands ready, dutifully supervising the loading stripe while fellow skiers drown their sorrows in deep pow.

Those who work as lift operators often share a goal: to leave behind the busy city or the monotonous landscape of the plains to chase the thrill of skiing, to start a life amid the excitement of a mountain town. Signing up as a liftie is often the first step toward a lifetime in the mountains, and it’s a hard one. Without much compensation from employers or consideration from skiers, lifties spend their days serving others the dream that they rebuilt their lives around. Those in the know give a quick greeting before loading up but still wonder what can be done to brighten up the liftie’s day.

To cure the later-winter blues and bring joy to a ski hill near you, the inaugural Liftie Appreciation Day will be held Saturday, Feb. 27, at ski areas around the world. It’s an unofficial event to show up with a few singles or a couple of brews to show your favorite liftie some love before the season’s end. Remember to keep those tips up for your liftie!




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