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Warren Miller




Skiing is a very social sport, so even when it is snowing hard and blowing about 40 miles an hour, it is still possible to meet Steve Stunning or Grace Goodenough. It’s all about technique.

Over the years, I have learned hundreds of ways to meet someone on the hill. Of course, I hasten to add that I used to practice these techniques long before I met my wife Laurie at the top of Baldy in Sun Valley, Idaho.

The hardest way to meet someone is to spend 10 years trying to learn to ski like Stein. After you invest untold dollars in that process, Suzy Secretary might ski up to you and say, "Wow, will you teach me to ski like that?" Unfortunately, by then you will be old enough to be her Uncle Clyde.

There are easier ways to meet someone on the mountain.

The ski equipment ploy: Just pick out some piece of their equipment that looks the newest or the oldest. It doesn’t matter what piece of equipment you choose, boots, bindings, skis, poles, parka. Just ask them how they like it. By the time they have explained their innermost feelings about their new $375 bindings, the two of you are on the chairlift and the rest is up to the chemistry of your union, the wind chill factor of the ride and whether or not they live within a thousand miles of you.

Singles line: The easiest way to meet someone is to simply holler, "Single!" This will get you a dozen glances from members of the opposite sex. They are sizing you up to see if you offer a better chance of a free dinner tonight than the other single they are currently stuck in line with.

The ski pole strap ploy: Almost no one uses the straps on their ski poles properly. All you have to say is, "Let me show you how much better you can ski if you twist your wrist straps another way. I can show you a lot better if you take off your gloves." Once you get the gloves off, you can easily tell if she is married or just a weekend widow, which is identified by a dent in her ring finger.

The age separator: "Can you tell me which run is groomed today?" This lets anyone within earshot know that you are smart enough not to do bumps and you don’t do windows either. This also sorts out the windshield wiper turners from the groomed run cruisers and saves a lot of boring ski time if you are young enough to still like bumps. It also saves you from becoming a nerd by trying to ski with a hot shot, when you aren’t.

The outright con job: "Pardon me, but my ski school parka is at the cleaners and this is my day off. Can I help you with your pole plant on the next run? No charge, of course." (Except for a couple of drinks after skiing and a free dinner.)

At lunch leering: Tired? Get to the cafeteria early for lunch and stretch your hat, gloves, parka and sweater across three other seats. "Yes, these are taken. Sorry, my friends are in line getting our lunches and they’ll be here any minute."

Sooner or later, the right two or three members of the opposite sex will show up with no place to sit. When this happens, you can say, "Looks like my friends took an extra run. Can I help you with your trays? Which bus group did you come up here with?"

This last question qualifies them immediately. No sense wasting time when you are riding back on a tour bus to San Diego and they are returning to Boise.

Be polite: The single best way to meet someone is to offer to carry her skis. I did it 18 years ago and later married the lady. Even after I proposed, she wouldn’t marry me for three years because she thought I would quit carrying her skis. I’m telling you, a two hundred-yard walk with both pairs of skis over your shoulder will earn you more points than an expensive dinner.

The best part about trying to meet someone while skiing is that if all of these techniques fail, at least you haven’t lost much. You’ve spent your day skiing.

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