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What to do When You Meet a Ski Tourist

You’re schussing down the slopes and there he is, snow-plowing down the green run you’re using to get back to the lift. What do you do? Do you buzz him, showering a spray of powder in his face? Of course not, if he wasn’t there, you wouldn’t have a mountain to ski down.

How to Spot Them
They’re easy to pick out as they are not in their natural habitat. Tourists will be adorned in larger than necessary clothing as they are not used to the cold. Their outerwear will be bigger than yours and will say something like Helly Hansen, Spyder, or North Face, but it will be impeccably clean and scratch free. They will be wearing gloves, hats and scarves that are needed when it’s below zero but they will wear them at noon when it’s 40 degrees out. They speak in funny accents, but then, all accents are funny around here.

Their Habits
They are the ones buying cases and cases of bottled water because their water back home is crap. They don’t know we have the best water around and drink from the tap and they don’t know we have the best beer around and don’t drink Coors. This isn’t their natural habitat, so don’t snicker when they ask if the seafood is fresh; just tell them the Rocky Mountain oysters are and let them find out later what they really are.

Watch Their Driving
The ski tourists are going slower than you because they are scared; that is a good thing. There is nothing worse than a cocky tourist in an SUV. Just how in the Caribbean there is Island time, we should promote Mountain Time around here. Life should be slower here because there is more of it to enjoy. Sure the streets are crowded and traffic is at a crawl, but they will be gone soon and you will miss them. Well, maybe not on the roads but in your shops and restaurants you will.

Be Wary After Dark
They are not here just for the skiing—which is obvious once you actually see them ski. The nightlife is a big draw for them, so tourists can be found foraging for fun at late night spots around town. They are the ones flashing the platinum cards and ordering the Scotch or the Fireball, depending on age. Explain to them they really should drink more water due to possible altitude sickness and, if you’re helpful enough, maybe they’ll buy you a Scotch or Fireball too.

They Need Your Help
When they ask for directions, remember they are not used to using directions like go west or go east. They don’t necessarily have mountains to their west, so they just need to know right or left. Don’t be tempted to tell them “Sure, Devil’s Crotch is a green run,” as you could injure the poor thing. It’s okay to tell them the quickest or easiest way down the mountain, but that doesn’t mean you should divulge where the best stash of powder is or where the lift lines are the shortest.

You Could Be One Too
Bumper stickers and t-shirts abound in Colorado saying, “You got high, now leave.” That’s real funny, just about as funny as the ones that say “If it’s tourist season, why can’t we shoot them?” The thing is: the mountain you call home would not exist if it wasn’t for tourists. The money they bring in is what supports the deals you get so treat them like an endangered species and don’t run them off. Besides, they’ll be gone as soon as mud season kicks in. That’s when we all head to the beach and become, yep that’s right: tourists.

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