January Ski Trip

Breckenridge is a popular Ski and Snowboarding destination in Summit County, Colorado.  This quaint town not only boasts the largest area of terrain in Colorado for Skiing, but also consists of a main street with shops and restaurants, a river-walk, many seasonal events, and serves as a home for a sizeable local community.  Skiing is what it is most recognized for though.  This popular winter sport is enjoyed by many people in the Denver area as it is only a short hour and a half drive to the nearest ski resort.  A lot of locals will buy a season pass and go up every weekend to enjoy the snow.  This last weekend, the weekend of the 17th of January, I went up to hit the slopes as well.  The event of course was enjoyable, and the weather was beautiful, but this time I was able to observe an aspect of skiing that I have never keyed into before.  Most of the time I think of the process through which one actually goes skiing as fairly simple and mindless.  However, I realized this time that skiing is a fairly complicated activity, which involves quite a bit of planning and organization.  Even the process of simply getting up the mountain is a well-thought out machine.

The process starts when you enter the mass of people surrounding the chair lift.  Each group forms its own massing and slowly filters into wide lines roped off and branching out from the lift.

IMG_1358Lift Diagram p1

Once in the appropriate line your group waits your turn until you reach the main branch and begin alternating into the main branch with the other lines.

Lift Diagram p2

Once in the main branch your group moves forward to the lift, sometimes adding in singles if there is enough room, and wait at the line marked “Wait Here.”

Lift Diagram p3

 

At this point, your group waits until the chair just passes by you to pick up the group in front of you.  When the chair passes you, you quickly move up to the next line marked “Wait Here.”  Once your chair approaches, you then look back over your shoulder and sit down when it reaches you.

Lift Diagram p4

If everyone makes it safely on the lift, you ride the chair to the top, discuss with your group which direction you will head when you disembark, and then leave the chairlift.

Lift Diagram p5IMG_1356

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4 thoughts on “January Ski Trip

  1. Let me start by saying, this is such a Maddie thing to document! I am glad you discussed the ski lifts though because I have yet to ever going skiing and the process seems a little intimidating. You discuss how people break into groups, how many people can fit onto a single lift?

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  2. Madeline, I love that you so deeply diagnosed the skiing lifts. It is certainly an aspect of skiing that I have not thought much about in past years and your diagrams did a wonderful job at repainting my memory of ski lines. It is great that they have the lines so well thought out because I distinctly remember that panic that came with catching my ski on someone’s ski pole or a cue fence and then rushing to get on the lift before it took my friends without me or the staff were forced to stop it. Luckily the well thought out design lets skiers to focus on the beautiful sport and its surroundings rather than wonder if they will be forced to dangle from the chair the whole way up the mountain. Keystone for life!!

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  3. I am glad you are experiencing an important aspect of the culture of Denver and recognize the aspect of work/life balance! I, too, remember being intimidated about getting on (and off) of the lift. It is pretty incredible to think this whole process is engineered to quickly move people up the mountain. The other think I really find interesting about skiing is the fact that you have to be so much more aware of your body and how you sequence movements based on the increased footprint we occupy because of the skis or snowboard.

    This type of observation is crucial for us as designers as it helps to identify opportunities for improvements in spatial design, products, material application, etc. Plus it is fun!

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