When we made plans to go ride the alpine slide at Winter Park I was, admittedly, nervous. I was only hoping that i wouldn’t come away with fiberglass burns and that no one would yell, “My grandma goes faster than you!” from the chairlift…which happened last time I rode an alpine slide. I mean, I’m not really a daredevil now and I certainly wasn’t then, at the age of 12. Nonetheless, I was embarrassed and traumatized enough to not ride alpine slides for the last 11 years.
We bought our tickets Saturday and stood under heavy gray clouds, waiting to get on the chairlift to the top of the slide. About three quarters of the way up it started to drizzle. This left us waiting in a shed at the top of the chairlift with a group of grumpy guests. We laughed at the bad timing of the rain.
Ha ha ha ha ha.
We rode down on a school bus with an enthusiastic driver: he had us raise our hands at bumps, he made jokes about the slow bus, he pointed out mule deer in a sarcastic way that many passengers seemed to miss (“Hey, there’s the interesting and elusive mule deer to the left.” ) This excited the passengers beyond belief (“OHMYGOD a deer! Two deer!”)
Soon, we were back at the bottom and, voila, the rain had stopped. We immediately got back on the chairlift. We got our little slide carts! I was doing that thing they teach you in high school sports…envisioning your success. My success would be to NOT get yelled at by little bastards on the chairlift. We were sitting on our carts, in the slide, just waiting for our turn to go down.
And then it started to rain. We waited a few minutes. We decided it wasn’t going to stop. We all put our slide carts back to the sound of a toddler wailing about wanting to go down the big slide. Our group knew the drill and, instead of waiting in the shed, we got right onto the school bus that was parked there. We were the first passengers. A man pulled up in a new, smaller bus and beckoned us. We got on the small bus. About 50 people tried to cram on there.
“Is he seriously going to try to fit ALL of us on here?” someone says in astonishment.
Alex and I looked at each other. We had an Africa moment.’ Ohhhh there’s plenty of room!’ our looks said.
“One more,” I said to him, referring to the ‘how many people can you fit on a Kenyan matatu? One more.’ phrase.
The driver then realized he could not fit all these folks on this bus. We got back on the first bus and ended up standing in the aisle on the bumpy ride down.
“I haven’t had a good, cramped bus ride in a while!” I joke to Alex at the bottom.
The rain has, of course, died down.
And that is how mother nature won.