In the tiny 4-person gondolas of yesteryear, we cosied up with family and friends to enjoy the trip up the mountain in peace and quiet, making relaxed conversation with people we knew well. And we don't have any complaints about the huge mega-gondolas either. With 100 other people, nobody is looking each other in the eye. But what happens when you squeeze into a gondola at mid-station and it's already got three people in it? Do you carry on normal conversation with your friends and studiously ignore the other occupants? Do you strike up a conversation with strangers and hope they don't prove too annoying? Do you pretend not to speak English and just twiddle your thumbs the whole way up?
The average gondola ride lasts around a quarter of an hour, more than long enough to get a detailed (and perhaps unwanted) insight into the lives and group dynamics of your fellow passengers. Once you've taken enough gondolas, you start to have seen it all: the gnarly diehard ski bum who's been skiing this mountain for 50 years and knows all the best powder spots; the family with the children at the awkward stage where they're not quite teens but not adult enough to be embarrassed about a free ski holiday with the parents; the group of lads on a stag do that have been drinking since 7 o'clock yesterday... Or, if you're lucky, someone you can practise your chairlift chat-up lines on!Some people end up spilling their entire life story in the gondola
A normal instinct is to whip out your phone and bury yourself in the screen, a handy way to avoid having to talk to anyone. Some people take this a step further and carry on a loud conversation while you cringe in the corner trying to pretend you can't hear. But of course you can hear, and now you know all about Auntie Jane's bladder surgery. Well, you're glad she's ok anyway.
If you're the type that prefers making conversation in the lift, you might be able to relate to this one: commenting first on the weather, then the snow conditions, then the best runs, then maybe pointing out an interesting skier down on the slopes below, while your so-called interlocutor just stares or gives one-word answers.Sometimes you count yourself lucky to be riding the gondola alone
What's your go-to strategy in the gondola?
Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!
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