Sometimes when you’re traveling, you just think, “Really? did that just happen?” Here are some random and quick bite-size experiences I had that are a few examples of the differences of skiing in Europe v. North America. These examples are specifically from the Three Valleys, or Les 3 Vallées in French.
Pin Your Kid Safely to the Ski Lift With Magic Magnets
Worried your kid will fall off the chairlift? Have no fear, the magnets are here!
Stick a magnetic bib (Magnestick vest) on your precious kiddo, and when it’s their turn to get on the chair, the lifty thrusts them into the chair. The lift magnet is then activated, and then your kid gets sucked into the back of the seat until they reach the top. The entire process is called a Magnestick Safety System. The seat magnet is deactivated once your kid arrives at the top, which then allows your kid to safely just hop off. Damn. Super empowering.
This magnetic system is a great idea until you are on the chairlift with the magnetized kid for the first time…I felt this sense of responsibility for when we were about to get off of the chair…Was I supposed to thrust the kid off of the chair? Fight with the magnet? Put myself on the magnet? It turns out that the magnet releases at the top…And I wasn’t needed for anything. Before I knew how it worked…I thought, for just a brief moment, that me and this kid, we were going to have a “save your life moment.” But looks like I wasn’t needed at all.
Lift Line Chaos
All the American ski lift lines are super orderly. Rarely will you see a fellow skier or boarder cut or go out of line, and if they do, they are usually apologetic. Perhaps a little too orderly, but it’s the system we are used to. Go skiing in Europe, and it’s a total free-for-all chaotic funnel. You push your way onto the chair and you meet your buddies at the top.
We were warmed about the aggressive behavior of a lot of the Europeans when waiting in a chairlift or gondola line, but we had no idea that some of them basically attack you by thrusting their skis over or under yours (whatever you are least expecting).
The most confusing part is that they just ignore you as they trample over you, almost seeming to be purposefully trying to confuse you with their fast-acting pole stabbing distraction techniques. The lines for the chairlifts and gondolas are so aggressive that I usually don’t end up in with the group of friends I am skiing with.
We caught on quickly and realized that we also had to play this game or never make it to the top.