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After an all-face-shot all-the-time run over on… wait a minute, why should I tell you? After a deep, fast run on an unnamed part of the mountain, I was pondering how and why what snow I didn’t inhale was finding its way inside my goggles.
Regardless, I was more or less skiing blind when I lined up at Red chair, assuming you can call no line at all lining up. I thought it was my fault when I bumped into whomever was cozying in from the leftside singles line. Practising my best Canadian, I said, “Scuse me.”
“No excusin’ you, dude,” shot back an unmistakable, gravelly voice.
I could feel someone nuzzling the tails of my skis so there was no escape backwards. I gave passing thought to embarrassing myself by pratfalling off the edge of the chair when it hit me from behind but even when there’s no lineup at all, no one appreciates having the chair stop because some gomer can’t successfully negotiate his butt on the seat. Fate was running this lift and my only hope was that it would make it back to the top with no delays.
“JJ my man. What a rare treat on such a bounteous day,” I lied. It seemed auspicious, inevitable even, to run into JJ Geddyup so early in the season. Whistler’s original and, as he liked to point out, only real private eye, JJ is an apparition perfectly placed on a snowy mountain when the wind is blowing so hard the entire landscape seems ghostlike.
“Max, it’s a freakin’ great day to be alive and an even greater day to be plowin’ this much snow.”
“And how is it you’re up today? Usually the new staff are pretty keen to catch poachers. Don’t tell me you popped for a lift ticket.”
“Season pass,” he said dangling the favoured plastic card in my face. “The real deal this year, not something I cooked up at home.”
“You win the lottery?”
“Well, I know you didn’t get your Holy Panini, Jesus on a Grilled Cheese restaurant and yoga studio up and running so….”
“Yeah, bastard investors sold me out, took the idea down to Vancouver and now I hear they’re going to franchise it.”