Tales From The Lifts And Mountains.

Sandy

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gettingtooold

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Many years ago lift stopped and happened to be probably the highest point.
No safety bar, no footrest a double that I had the pleasure of sharing with a mad Italian.
After some time he decided to start singing and swinging his skis back and forth to keep time.
I nudged him pretty hard a few times wanting him to stop and he took it as encouraging to the point that the chair was rocking so hard back and forth I was looking at the sky one instant and the ground the next.
He's probably been dining out for years telling his tale of how he scared the shit out of me.
Bet the bastard spoke English.
 

gareth_oau

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Many years ago lift stopped and happened to be probably the highest point.
No safety bar, no footrest a double that I had the pleasure of sharing with a mad Italian.
After some time he decided to start singing and swinging his skis back and forth to keep time.
I nudged him pretty hard a few times wanting him to stop and he took it as encouraging to the point that the chair was rocking so hard back and forth I was looking at the sky one instant and the ground the next.
He's probably been dining out for years telling his tale of how he scared the shit out of me.
Bet the bastard spoke English.

before the time of cameras? Shoulda just pished him off LOL
 

gettingtooold

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Another time had the pleasure of sharing a quad with three ladies.
For five minutes or longer all I could here from the one next to me was 'darlings did you see how I did this or that on my last run'
Coming up to unload she's still jabbering away and after three warnings I said the bar was coming up. Totally ignored me and she copped it fair in the teeth.
I apologised profusely offering to pay the dentist bill before disappearing.
 
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Budgiesmuggler

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in cardrona there was a snowboard comp on, so lots of Decent snowboarders about.

My friend decides to try skiing a rail, which is right under the lift. She gets about half a metre along the rail and ends up straddling the rail with a ski either side, having to bum shuffle her way to the end.

Chair Lift erupted!
 
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Hanz Onyawaif

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I remember hearing the helicopter land on the Village Green at Thredbo and commenting to my mate that it's never a good sign to see.

The next day I got almost first lifts with my mate and another guy. He mentioned that his friend was the one that was evacuated by helicopter the previous day.

His mate was a very experienced skier that loves the fast corduroy runs but had separated at the start of that day to do some quick laps.

He zigged when he should've zagged at the bottom of I think True Blue and ended up smashing himself in the trees 10 meters from the side of the run with no one seeing the crash.

He came to in the trees and called Ski patrol (here is the number here, put it in your phone, It could save your life) Thredbo Ski Patrol - 6459 4147.

He was going in and out on consciousness while trying to describe where he was.
He had severe injuries to one side of his body with it being described to me as every bone on the left side shattered.

When ski patrol rescued him his heart stopped more than once in the medical centre before being loaded into the helicopter.
His friend on the chairlift said the worst part was calling the injured persons wife to explain what happened.

I often think about his recovery and for every other time I have heard the helicopter on the Village Green.

P.S I should mention that this guy said his mate would've died without the help of the medical team & ski patrol so full credit to those teams, true life savers!
 

Peanut

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Two stories come to mind, both involving my kids.

Back when Mstr 12 was a Mstr 8 or 9, we were over at Remarks. He was quite comfortable with the Alta lift, so I suggested we go up the Sugar Bowl chair and ski down the green run. Mstr 12 has always had a habit of sharing his life story with randoms, and it just so happened that he found a kindred spirit in a lovely 19 year old Irish gent that we were sharing the chair with. Once we were approaching the unload point, Mstr 12 starts getting panicky because he has to do a bit of a bum shuffle and a small drop to unload due to being a shorty at the time. I got a bit too caught up in helping him off and missed the unload myself.

The lifty wasn’t really paying attention, and I think I would have ridden the chair all the way back down if I hadn’t called out very loudly. By the time the lift was stopped, I was probably about 2m off the ground and the lifty looked a bit unsure of how to get me down. I suggested that I turn around, hang myself off the chair and drop. Someone else ran over to pop my skis off, then they both grabbed my legs and lowered me down. Meanwhile, Mstr 12 is near the unload point majorly freaking out. Thankfully, his new Irish friend waited with him until I was able to make my way back to them.

The other incident happened when Mstr 10 was a Mstr 8, again at Remarks. It was his first trip to the snow on skis after attempting to snowboard on previous trips. After 4 x 3 hour adaptive lessons, he had finally gotten to the point of learning to use the Alta chair and could snowplough in a straight line from the top of Alta Green back down to the lift line (because apparently turning is for noobs).

After his lesson and a lunch break, Mstr 10 was keen to go on the chair again and took off on us. We weren’t far behind him on the magic carpet from the base building to the line for the Alta chair, so we called out for him to wait for us at the top of the magic carpet. The rest of us got to the top, and Mstr 10 was nowhere to be seen. Hubby asked the lifty if he’d seen a kid with pink skis and an Iron Man helmet, and got told that he’d already gotten on the lift. Hubby and Mstr 12 went up to find him, while I waited down the bottom. Several minutes later, Mstr 10 came whooshing past me and proceeded to line up for the lift again. He hadn’t even noticed I was there until I called out at him to get out of the line and wait with me for his father and brother.
 
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Val Desire

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My other half is a very timid skier and suffers from vertigo and fear of heights, so refuses point blank to go on chair lifts. When he does agree to come on a family ski holiday, I have to choose somewhere with plenty of surface lifts or enclosed gondolas/cable car-served green slope skiing – not easy! Fifteen years ago, in Les Deux Alpes, we booked a private lesson with an Ecole de Ski Francais instructer. I dutifully explained that mon mari could not go on chair lifts, so could he please take us on one of the multiple gondola-served slopes for the lesson. He was about 70 years old, with a face like a walnut. He looked us both up and down, removed the cigarette from his mouth long enough to hoik and spit on the ground near our boots, then skied straight to the nearest chairlift, with us in tow. Somehow the three of us got to the top and skied down to the bottom of another chairlift where a second ESF instructor with a crocodile of tiny ski-school kids were forming up to board the lift. The second guy asked the Walnut- faced one to help him get the kids up safely and Walnut fired off in French that he couldn't help as his client (my husband) had “la peur blanche” – white fear – which exactly described the state he was in! I ended up helping the kids, and Walnut Face managed by sheer force of will to cajole mon mari up to the top again. Husband has never been on another chair lift since then, and also refused to have another ski lesson…..!
 

LMB

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My other half is a very timid skier and suffers from vertigo and fear of heights, so refuses point blank to go on chair lifts. When he does agree to come on a family ski holiday, I have to choose somewhere with plenty of surface lifts or enclosed gondolas/cable car-served green slope skiing – not easy! Fifteen years ago, in Les Deux Alpes, we booked a private lesson with an Ecole de Ski Francais instructer. I dutifully explained that mon mari could not go on chair lifts, so could he please take us on one of the multiple gondola-served slopes for the lesson. He was about 70 years old, with a face like a walnut. He looked us both up and down, removed the cigarette from his mouth long enough to hoik and spit on the ground near our boots, then skied straight to the nearest chairlift, with us in tow. Somehow the three of us got to the top and skied down to the bottom of another chairlift where a second ESF instructor with a crocodile of tiny ski-school kids were forming up to board the lift. The second guy asked the Walnut- faced one to help him get the kids up safely and Walnut fired off in French that he couldn't help as his client (my husband) had “la peur blanche” – white fear – which exactly described the state he was in! I ended up helping the kids, and Walnut Face managed by sheer force of will to cajole mon mari up to the top again. Husband has never been on another chair lift since then, and also refused to have another ski lesson…..!
What an idiot.
I mean I’m sure he thought he was going to toughen him up and break through the “silly” fear barrier, but the reality is skiing is a recreational pursuit and you get better results working within and at the edges of comfort zone rather than plunging straight into fear and losing your ability to learn and function at that higher level.

(I say that as someone who has conquered a paralysing fear of heights for the love of this sport)
 

DPS Driver

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My other half is a very timid skier and suffers from vertigo and fear of heights, so refuses point blank to go on chair lifts. When he does agree to come on a family ski holiday, I have to choose somewhere with plenty of surface lifts or enclosed gondolas/cable car-served green slope skiing – not easy! Fifteen years ago, in Les Deux Alpes, we booked a private lesson with an Ecole de Ski Francais instructer. I dutifully explained that mon mari could not go on chair lifts, so could he please take us on one of the multiple gondola-served slopes for the lesson. He was about 70 years old, with a face like a walnut. He looked us both up and down, removed the cigarette from his mouth long enough to hoik and spit on the ground near our boots, then skied straight to the nearest chairlift, with us in tow. Somehow the three of us got to the top and skied down to the bottom of another chairlift where a second ESF instructor with a crocodile of tiny ski-school kids were forming up to board the lift. The second guy asked the Walnut- faced one to help him get the kids up safely and Walnut fired off in French that he couldn't help as his client (my husband) had “la peur blanche” – white fear – which exactly described the state he was in! I ended up helping the kids, and Walnut Face managed by sheer force of will to cajole mon mari up to the top again. Husband has never been on another chair lift since then, and also refused to have another ski lesson…..!
Based on your description of your husband, I would have immediately ruled out any skiing in either France or Austria. What were you thinking.:D;) Red rag to a walnut faced bull.

I understand your predicament. My wife grew up in an airline family and to this day is terrified of flying. She does it but not very well.
 

Val Desire

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That
What an idiot.
I mean I’m sure he thought he was going to toughen him up and break through the “silly” fear barrier, but the reality is skiing is a recreational pursuit and you get better results working within and at the edges of comfort zone rather than plunging straight into fear and losing your ability to learn and function at that higher level.

(I say that as someone who has conquered a paralysing fear of heights for the love of this sport)
Thats very interesting LMB. How did you overcome your fear of heights? Fear of heights, and fear of chairlifts, is more common than you would think.
 
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LMB

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That

Thats very interesting LMB. How did you overcome your fear of heights? Fear of heights, and fear of chairlifts, is more common than you would think.
It was a gradual process and I still get the heebeejeebies at times. But I am pretty good at sorting myself out fairly quickly. Fair bit of fake it till you make it.

Even now after everything I’ve managed to achieve I’ll occasionally get on a chairlift and have that flush of panic about getting off at the top. It’s totally illogical and I am perfectly capable of having this happen and no one around me be any the wiser, but fact remains it still happens sometimes.

I began by regulating my breathing and answering the question “what’s the worst that can happen here?”. I managed to park extreme worsts like chairlifts falling (although the Thredbo deathbarrel event gave me cause to re examine that!), and just work on the who the hell cares if you eat it spectacularly when you’re getting off (which would be a once in a season occurrence at most nowadays).

As for the heart racing, sweaty palms, shallow breathing - beginning of panic attacks - at the height component, I told myself “girl that is not fear, it is excitement! This is the adrenaline rush you live for.” I must’ve told myself this enough over the years because now I look for it...

Pre ski trips I did a tree top walk in our south west with the kids, little monkeys at that stage.. I was clinging to the railing and clearly distressed and lagging, so the boys decided to jump up and down and make it sway. I ended up collapsed in a ball sitting down and crying, so it wasn’t a mild dislike of heights.

My mother is the same and I believe it is something of a learned behaviour. Having a Psychology Degree I decided to use my understanding to modify the way I interact with the world and take charge of my own destiny rather than just let it wash over me and instinctively react. Besides I needed to be a better example for my sons!

It took time.
And repetition.
And just having a go.
Start with that easy chair, do it over and over until you only feel excitement and not panic.
Then try the next chair that you’re unsure about.
Eventually you’ll get to those gnarly 150 person rope ways that are suspended insanely high or the little pizza box single chair where you’re clinging to the upright, or even heli adventures.

I’ve talked a few people through challenges with heights, maybe I should specialise in that kind of thing when I’m instructing. Seems there is a need!
 

Peanut

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What an idiot.
I mean I’m sure he thought he was going to toughen him up and break through the “silly” fear barrier, but the reality is skiing is a recreational pursuit and you get better results working within and at the edges of comfort zone rather than plunging straight into fear and losing your ability to learn and function at that higher level.

(I say that as someone who has conquered a paralysing fear of heights for the love of this sport)
The funny thing is, I’m a bit iffy about surface lifts, and T-bars in particular. I think it stems from trying to use one once with Mstr 12 a few years ago when there was more of a height difference between us. In order for him to get the bar under his bum, it was sitting in the mid-thigh area for me. Part way up, he got the wobbles and managed to knock us both off.

These days I put him and Mstr 10 on T-bars together because they are the same height. Hubby is about 30 cm taller than me, so we both go up individually. I always feel a bit wobbly on a T-bar by myself without someone on the other side to balance it though.
 

DPS Driver

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It was a gradual process and I still get the heebeejeebies at times. But I am pretty good at sorting myself out fairly quickly. Fair bit of fake it till you make it.

Even now after everything I’ve managed to achieve I’ll occasionally get on a chairlift and have that flush of panic about getting off at the top. It’s totally illogical and I am perfectly capable of having this happen and no one around me be any the wiser, but fact remains it still happens sometimes.

I began by regulating my breathing and answering the question “what’s the worst that can happen here?”. I managed to park extreme worsts like chairlifts falling (although the Thredbo deathbarrel event gave me cause to re examine that!), and just work on the who the hell cares if you eat it spectacularly when you’re getting off (which would be a once in a season occurrence at most nowadays).

As for the heart racing, sweaty palms, shallow breathing - beginning of panic attacks - at the height component, I told myself “girl that is not fear, it is excitement! This is the adrenaline rush you live for.” I must’ve told myself this enough over the years because now I look for it...

Pre ski trips I did a tree top walk in our south west with the kids, little monkeys at that stage.. I was clinging to the railing and clearly distressed and lagging, so the boys decided to jump up and down and make it sway. I ended up collapsed in a ball sitting down and crying, so it wasn’t a mild dislike of heights.

My mother is the same and I believe it is something of a learned behaviour. Having a Psychology Degree I decided to use my understanding to modify the way I interact with the world and take charge of my own destiny rather than just let it wash over me and instinctively react. Besides I needed to be a better example for my sons!

It took time.
And repetition.
And just having a go.
Start with that easy chair, do it over and over until you only feel excitement and not panic.
Then try the next chair that you’re unsure about.
Eventually you’ll get to those gnarly 150 person rope ways that are suspended insanely high or the little pizza box single chair where you’re clinging to the upright, or even heli adventures.

I’ve talked a few people through challenges with heights, maybe I should specialise in that kind of thing when I’m instructing. Seems there is a need!
I have a constant battle with illogical fears daily. Not me but my wife suffers from anxiety, not so much now. Living with me has dulled her senses, or so she says. ha ha. No she did some work with a good psychologist.

My battle is de-programming my kids when they pick up on some of mums "illogical" fears. My take is that you aren't born with fears, they are a learned response. So if you learn it, you should be able to un-learn it. Being open with my kids and talking through the "what's the worst that can happen" works well. The other thing I do with them is help them recognise for themselves when they might be over amping the fear factor. They need to know and start working things out for themselves early. Otherwise the fears grow stronger and more debilitating.
 
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pegasusSki

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It took time.
And repetition.
And just having a go.
Start with that easy chair, do it over and over until you only feel excitement and not panic.

It's like merging onto a busy highway at 100k (or over) - it's really quite "dangerous". But you do it so many times you can do it without worrying. Pilots land planes routinely even when they have to take over from some of the gizmos. One of the wife's rellies is a captain and he tells me he simply got used to it over a career.

Simon Sidek says - take fear and turn it into excitement - quite a revelation.
 

Izzy

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Marmolada Glacier cable car, Italy 2006. This arrogant wanker forcefully pushes my wife out of the way so that he had a better view/position up against the glass. I am a normally a pretty chilled bloke, but a fog of red descended on me. After I abused him in perfect English, and pinned him up against the glass, we had a lovely ride up to the glacier... in the best spot against the glass.

Not my proudest moment.
 

Jacko4650

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Marmolada Glacier cable car, Italy 2006. This arrogant wanker forcefully pushes my wife out of the way so that he had a better view/position up against the glass. I am a normally a pretty chilled bloke, but a fog of red descended on me. After I abused him in perfect English, and pinned him up against the glass, we had a lovely ride up to the glacier... in the best spot against the glass.

Not my proudest moment.
I don't mind heights at all but that lift almost goes straight up at the beginning. It's made worse by 50 or so people crammed up against you (pre-covid). The view from the top of the mountain is worth every penny.
 

Val Desire

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It was a gradual process and I still get the heebeejeebies at times. But I am pretty good at sorting myself out fairly quickly. Fair bit of fake it till you make it.

Even now after everything I’ve managed to achieve I’ll occasionally get on a chairlift and have that flush of panic about getting off at the top. It’s totally illogical and I am perfectly capable of having this happen and no one around me be any the wiser, but fact remains it still happens sometimes.

I began by regulating my breathing and answering the question “what’s the worst that can happen here?”. I managed to park extreme worsts like chairlifts falling (although the Thredbo deathbarrel event gave me cause to re examine that!), and just work on the who the hell cares if you eat it spectacularly when you’re getting off (which would be a once in a season occurrence at most nowadays).

As for the heart racing, sweaty palms, shallow breathing - beginning of panic attacks - at the height component, I told myself “girl that is not fear, it is excitement! This is the adrenaline rush you live for.” I must’ve told myself this enough over the years because now I look for it...

Pre ski trips I did a tree top walk in our south west with the kids, little monkeys at that stage.. I was clinging to the railing and clearly distressed and lagging, so the boys decided to jump up and down and make it sway. I ended up collapsed in a ball sitting down and crying, so it wasn’t a mild dislike of heights.

My mother is the same and I believe it is something of a learned behaviour. Having a Psychology Degree I decided to use my understanding to modify the way I interact with the world and take charge of my own destiny rather than just let it wash over me and instinctively react. Besides I needed to be a better example for my sons!

It took time.
And repetition.
And just having a go.
Start with that easy chair, do it over and over until you only feel excitement and not panic.
Then try the next chair that you’re unsure about.
Eventually you’ll get to those gnarly 150 person rope ways that are suspended insanely high or the little pizza box single chair where you’re clinging to the upright, or even heli adventures.

I’ve talked a few people through challenges with heights, maybe I should specialise in that kind of thing when I’m instructing. Seems there is a need!
Great tips LMB.
Food for thought if hubby agrees to another family ski holiday...:)
 
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pegasusSki

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This has been the #1 thing that helped me to turn things around. It shifts hyperventilating to sheer energy.

Part of today's talk is about anxiety.
When I was a child in the 80s observing, and under pressure at work for the last 25 years people talked about stress - an external force from eg deadlines and workload. It's a part of life.

Part of the shift I have noticed is anxiety - which seems to be an internal thing, bubbling way - a sort of insecurity. It might be what grows and surfaces against stress - like a corn or callus on a foot or hand.

It's not a word I ever used or came across until the last few years. Now it's rife. It's replaced stress, to my way of thinking.
 
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LMB

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Part of today's talk is about anxiety.
When I was a child in the 80s observing, and under pressure at work for the last 25 years people talked about stress - an external force from eg deadlines and workload. It's a part of life.

Part of the shift I have noticed is anxiety - which seems to be an internal thing, bubbling way - a sort of insecurity. It might be what grows and surfaces against stress - like a corn or callus on a foot or hand.

It's not a word I ever used or came across until the last few years. Now it's rife. It's replaced stress, to my way of thinking.
There is some truth to that, but also people had fear of heights, fear of water, fear of lots of things in the past. They just often managed to live lives where they avoided what they had an issue with.
 
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Tonester

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Part of today's talk is about anxiety.
When I was a child in the 80s observing, and under pressure at work for the last 25 years people talked about stress - an external force from eg deadlines and workload. It's a part of life.

Part of the shift I have noticed is anxiety - which seems to be an internal thing, bubbling way - a sort of insecurity. It might be what grows and surfaces against stress - like a corn or callus on a foot or hand.

It's not a word I ever used or came across until the last few years. Now it's rife. It's replaced stress, to my way of thinking.
The term psychologists might use to refer to this is GAD: Generalised Anxiety Disorder (as per DSM3, 4, 5 or what ever number it's up to)
 

sly_karma

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The old Granite chair at Red would give anyone the heebies. Towers were bolted together, seemingly from Meccano, and were ludicrously high. The line crosses a ravine partway up that causes the haul cable to be waaaay up above the tops of some substantial trees. The chair rider's height above snow at this point would have been around 35-40 m. Ridiculous, and quite avoidable by adding a tension tower - which the new chair has done.

Safety restraint was similar to the old Ramshead chair at Thredbo: a length of chain in a rubber tube with a pin at the end that was dropped into a receiver on the chair frame. Strictly of visual/mental value only, no real utility. The chair's side rails did not reach up even level with the top of a rider's thighs, giving the impression of sitting on an open platform rather than being seated in a chair.

The final item was the self-rescue package, a bundle of cord duct taped to the centre pole. In the event of a lift breakdown and evacuation, some chairs would be so far above the ground that getting the evacuation line up and over the haul cable would be near to impossible. Unlucky persons stuck in these chairs were directed to remove the tape, throw the cord over the haul cable and lower it down so that rescue crew could tie on the proper evac rope and proceed with the rescue. The mind boggles.

I'm comfortable around heights, we clamber around a lot at work on walls, roofs, ladders and scaffold. I've been on a bajillion chairlift rides and all the other various forms of uphill transportation that the resorts employ, but that old Granite chair is still vivid in my mind as being scary AF.
 

pegasusSki

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There is some truth to that, but also people had fear of heights, fear of water, fear of lots of things in the past. They just often managed to live lives where they avoided what they had an issue with.

but most people can avoid that stuff. The problem is when people need to avoid or struggle with the everyday eg conversations, meetings, general day to day workload and the anxiety is there on the backburner - even when there is no immediate stress eg a deadline or a critical event..

I am a layman - I'm just guessing ;-)
 
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LMB

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but most people can avoid that stuff. The problem is when people need to avoid or struggle with the everyday eg conversations, meetings, general day to day workload and the anxiety is there on the backburner - even when there is no immediate stress eg a deadline or a critical event..

I am a layman - I'm just guessing ;-)
Yes, but (except for Covid) we live bigger lives today than in the past. Living in the same home, going on a driving holiday half an hour away every few years, never owning a passport. This was the way of most people in decades gone by.

Today more of us fly, experience new things, and get on chairlifts.
 

pegasusSki

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Yes, but (except for Covid) we live bigger lives today than in the past. Living in the same home, going on a driving holiday half an hour away every few years, never owning a passport. This was the way of most people in decades gone by.

Today more of us fly, experience new things, and get on chairlifts.
True.
:) If you discovered, or came to the realisation you are scared of chairlifts then you will probably not be a downhill skier, nor miss it. Nor get anxiety from it.
 

sly_karma

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I have a friend who was an instructor with me back in the 90s, she still skis every weekend at Apex and still not comfortable at heights. Slams the safety bar down on the chair about 0.02 sec after sitting down - good thing we all wear helmets these days. She's been skiing and riding chairlifts for nigh 'pon 50 years and still the fear is there. Obviously the love of skiing outweighs the fear, but it never completely goes away.
 

cold wombat

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but most people can avoid that stuff. The problem is when people need to avoid or struggle with the everyday eg conversations, meetings, general day to day workload and the anxiety is there on the backburner - even when there is no immediate stress eg a deadline or a critical event..

I am a layman - I'm just guessing ;-)

I can relate to this in my own small way. Background anxiety that never goes away. Not too much, but more than I'd like.
 

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A ride up the quad at Jackson, struck up a convo with a teen US kid.... he says to me "you have a strange accent, are you from around here?" I said no from Australia, he looked at me in such a strange way and asked how long it took for me to drive there.
He was probably from Wollongong.

I once ran into a kid on a chair and he was a full blown baggy panted US teen, stars & stripes, full on accent and all. By the time we got off the lift, he was talking Australian again, doing a season in Tahoe from Sydney.
 

SMSkier

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Oct 4, 2016
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He was probably from Wollongong.

I once ran into a kid on a chair and he was a full blown baggy panted US teen, stars & stripes, full on accent and all. By the time we got off the lift, he was talking Australian again, doing a season in Tahoe from Sydney.

Ha - funny. You reminded me of a short T Bar ride with an instructor at Perisher a lot of years back. He had a strange foreign accent so I challenged him.

He somewhat sheepishly asked me was it so obvious that his (fake) accent stood out.

Turns out he was from Bondi (Hans from Bondi I then called him). Was practicing his accent on the lift with the hope of attracting more ladies during lessons LOL.

Back then it was apparently more “productive” to be European .
 

Zimbooo

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Nov 20, 2017
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Japanese pizza box lifts.............up in the air, all on ones own with puking snow falling. Great, and very different to most lift experiences I have had.
Other experience of note is a dozen or so years skiing Marte Chair speaking another language.
 
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