When I ended a five-year relationship in the fall ofI had no desire to rush back into the dating scene. But there I was, six months later, trying to get out of my comfort zone by skiing with complete strangers at a chairlift speed-dating event.
The basic gist: I show up and pin a ribbon indicating my age group 18 to 35 to my jacket, and an event organizer matches me with someone in my age bracket. Then my date and I head off to ride the lifts together and ski any runs we choose. If we like each other, we can ski together as long as we want. Sitting in Saturday-morning ski traffic on I the day of the event, I was hopeful about getting back into the outdoor dating scene but worried that my dates would leave me in a spray of snow.
My biggest anxiety, though, was that I had no idea how people would pair up to ride the lifts together. What if nobody picked me? When I arrived at the bottom of the lift, I was surprised to see so many other speed daters milling around. More than people had ed up, with an almost equal split of men to women and far more skiers than snowboarders. Curiously, there seemed to be a lot of women in the older age brackets 35 to 45 and plus and a lot of men in the youngest one. s from preregistration show that 45 percent of the participants were in the to bracket, while 35 percent were in my to bracket.
The crowd was buzzing with nervous excitement.
The man from Luvbyrd was pairing whoever seemed to be in his immediate line of sight within the same age group. I said this throughout the day, partly to be honest about what I was looking for, and partly to put a disclaimer out there about my mediocre skiing abilities. My hopes skyrocketed. We shared easy conversation about skiing and mountain towns, and eventually I asked him what type of climbing he did.
Speed dating on a chairlift is a real (and actually fun) thing
There went the possibility of a future Mrs. Software Engineer. Much as I hate to admit it, I want a partner who climbs and skis better than I do—someone I have to keep up with. We skied two warm-up laps on a blue run. Even though he seemed like a great guy, it was early in the day, and meeting someone more compatible seemed probable. I thanked him for the fun time and mumbled something about getting another match. This would prove to be the most awkward part of the day: letting my dates know I wanted a new match.
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Each guy was good in his own way, but speed dating is like getting a handful of tasters at a brewery: sample as many as possible before you commit to one. Throughout the day, I asked questions and took mental notes about my dates, identifying aspects as pros tall, easy to talk to, accomplished in the mountains or cons really into cars, self-absorbed, inconsiderate.
With enough pros, I had myself a match. Or at least a second lift ride.
I felt a flicker of something in my gut. I mentioned this to him, and we both laughed. Before we could get matched with anyone else, he invited me to ski. Our chatter flowed from work to college to the outdoors.
He laughed at all my jokes add that to the pro columnand I was surprised to learn that he worked for my alma mater. He had a huge smile on his face the whole time, which put me at ease. Still, he was a good bit younger, only skied downhill at resorts, and was pretty religious all cons in my book.
At the end of a long ski run, I would have kept riding with him, but there was still the possibility of meeting someone even better. When I told him so, he seemed a little taken aback but not crushed. We had a connection, but age, religion, and hobbies are weighted more heavily on my figurative pro-con list. When I was partnered with a snowboarder for date three, I immediately wrote him off as a potential match.
I was frustrated just thinking about waiting for him to make the lengthy transition from two sticks to one. Then I found out that Date Three was only He was a very sweet kid—he even stopped to help a ten-year-old girl who had taken a bad fall and stayed with her until ski patrol arrived. The scene was endearing, but he was closer in age to the preteen girl than to me. This was my only hang-up about the event after all was said and done: the to age bracket was a bit wide for my taste.
Back at the bottom, I clicked out of my skis for a quick break when a guy walked past me, then abruptly turned around and asked me to ski. I know my tech bindings and AT boots are sexy, I thought, but, dude, my eyes are up here. Earlier in the day, I had seen this same guy checking out my ski setup, and as we chatted in the lift line, I noticed we had the same boots. Date Four and I talked about everything from living in a van to his plans to climb and ski Denali.
He was bubbly and very interested in asking about my life. He was a dedicated skimo racer, ultrarunner, and musician, clearly ambitious and accomplished. About 40 minutes in, he admitted that he had been on the way to the bathroom when he decided he had to stop and ask me to ski.
I was flattered. In the annals of first dates, especially ones that happen on a chairlift, this one was top-notch. He hinted at continuing our time together, which I would have been glad to do, but part of me was having so much fun changing it up that I decided to get another match.
Five minutes later, I regretted this decision when I got paired with another snowboarder. After parting ways with Date Five, the speed-dating portion of the event was over. There was still social hour and a raffle, but anxiety had kept me up the night before, and my introverted brain was exhausted.
Participating in a shared interest provided plenty to talk about—snow, weather, gear, experience—in addition to the usual pleasantries. He texted me the same night and invited me to go touring later that week. Search Search. At Luvbyrd's chairlift speed-dating event, participants are paired off to ride the lift together, then ski as long as they want or return to the base to get another match.
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