Ski trip, baby. At 6 a.m. Saturday, we piled onto the bus at BK. We were headed for Jiminy Peak, a five-lift mountain in the Berkshires. Most of us were still sleepy, some of us were still drunk.
I, on the other hand, was totally alert. I’d gone to bed early the night before and was fresh and ready to go. Why? Because while some of the people on the trip were just going for the crisp mountain air and the snowy slopes, I had a bigger plan: straight-eightin’ some ladies, Aspen Extreme style.
Now the Berkshires are in Massachusetts, not Connecticut. And when you decide to take up an interstate macking project of this sort, there are a few core things you have to remember.
1. You have to look cool, and kind of mysterious. You’re not from the same state, and you have to let them know it, subtly. Don’t act weird or anything, but definitely be a dark horse, and act kind of angsty.
2. You’ve got to have skills and the cred. I can ski, and I grew up in Maine, which means I’m “real.” The people who aren’t “real” are the people from cities and flat places who pretend to ski. Girls don’t have respect for them like they do for me.
3. Do your homework. Have an idea of what girls like in that state. Before this trip I watched “Good Will Hunting” a couple times and downloaded pictures of Nomar Garciaparra.
4. Print out this list and keep it in your pocket during the trip. But don’t refer to it or anything while girls are around. Remember, you have to look cool.
5. Never reference Star Wars when talking to girls. It’s just a bad idea.
The bus-ride to the mountain was uneventful, and soon we were there. I stepped out of the bus and picked up my rental equipment. But already I realized I was having a problem with my plan. It pertained to the “looking cool” part. I’d asked my mom to mail me all my gear from home, but the package hadn’t arrived on time. As a result, I was left with the beat-up rentals and the apparel from my room I’d pieced together that morning in the dark, which wasn’t very much. I felt kind of like a soldier in the Red Army — poorly-equipped and cold. Also, I’m kind of hairy.
But anyway, I decided not to worry about that. I decided I’d look cool in a relative sense, by hanging out with less cool people. (Actually, this is my usual plan. Don’t tell my friends.) There was a big group of us, and we all got on the ski lift. With a view of the whole slope, it was time to start scoping some serious ski bunny chacha.
But suddenly I realized the irony: sitting on the ski lift, the girls were going down while I was going up. There was nothing I could do, save asking them to stop or simply yelling pickup lines at them in vain from 20 feet above their heads. I reached with my hand at one of the hot girls rushing by below me. I felt like Tantalus.
We reached the top of the mountain. I looked around for girls that couldn’t ski, in case one of them wanted an “instructor” for a “skiing lesson.” All I saw were a few old ladies, a bunch of dumb loud 20-something guys in Oakleys, and a group of helmeted children, who were in fact having a “skiing lesson.” Chicas were nowhere to be seen.
We took more runs down but still no action, or even chance of action. No shared lift rides, no accidental collisions, no nothing. I was having no luck whatsoever. Then, finally, I got my chance. It was towards the end of the day, and the ski patrol was closing a lot of the harder trails. My posse and I had headed down a pretty boring green circle in hopes of taking a black diamond detour called “Cutter.” It had a closed rope across the entrance. And just then, I saw her. An attractive girl. And only about 20 yards away! She was stopped too, looking at me, seeing what I would do. And so I decided. It was time to play the bad-ass card.
“Guys,” I said to my friends, trying to sound as awesome as possible, “screw the closed rope, let’s ski this thing.” Unfortunately, our camp was divided. Half of us were game, the other half wanted to continue down Wussy Kid Trail or whatever it was called. I glanced over at the girl. I needed to do something that would get her attention before she skied away.
“I’m not sure,” said Peter, one of the guys in our group. “This is probably a bad idea.”
“Let’s ask the next guy who comes by if he’s going on it,” somebody else said. And just then, the sweetest dude ever pulled up. He was about 5 feet 3 inches in a bright red ski jumpsuit and gelled hair and was smoking a cigarette. He looked less like an actual person than he did like an allegory or something.
“Hey,” I asked, “are you going on this trail?”
“Are there grooming machines or something on it?”
“No, I don’t think so,” I said.
“Well all right,” he said. Without hesitation he pushed off and ducked under the rope.
“All right.” I said. I winked at the girl, and all of us followed him down. She was definitely impressed with me.
But then things turned sour. As we exited the trail, there were three ski patrollers waiting for us. It was a trap! They’d already stopped the other guy, and they were ripping up his lift ticket. He looked back at us, with pain in his eyes. I felt like Judas. I’d just betrayed the sweetest dude ever.
The girl had disappeared as well. Sadly, I never saw her again. Instead, I was left to contend with the ski patrol. They stared us down gravely and told us that “closed ropes are there for a reason” and that “if we crashed, our bodies would not have been found until morning.” But they decided not to take our lift tickets away. Instead, they clipped the corners of them.
“This marks you to ski patrollers and lift operators as reckless,” they said. “You can still ski, but if another patroller finds you acting up, you’re off the mountain.”
With that knowledge I headed down the hill, grinning widely. Even if I didn’t get any ladies that day, I had a new badge of honor. From that point on I knew that everything I needed to score girls was clipped to my dirty yellow ski parka. I’d been clipped. I was — and am — a dangerous man.
Burt Helm is a type-II skiier.