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A very important pile of travel agents

Daily Staff Report

“A tree is a plant that remains in one spot for 100 years, then suddenly jumps in front of a beginning skier.”I was working with a very small ski school in Austria when a group of VIP Israeli travel agents came into town. They were touring various resorts so they could make recommendations to their clients for European ski holidays. Given the importance of their visit, our ski school director and his assistant elected to teach the group. That lasted one day before they turned the group over to me.Being first-time skiers, we decided to go up the neighboring mountain to the beginner’s area, which meant riding two, single-chair lifts. Protocol dictated that we send each of the clients up first, followed by the instructor to insure that all of the students arrived safely at the top of the mountain.We approached the first chairlift and after a brief set of instructions, I began sending the travel agents up, one at a time. I told them to wait at the top for me, as I would be riding in the last chair.When I arrived at the top of the chair lift, a very redfaced lift attendant was standing next to a pile of my clients with all of their equipment heaped on the other side of the unloading ramp.”What on earth happened?” I screamed. “Why are all of my students tangled up on the snow?” The lift operator explained, “When the first guy got to the top of the unloading station, he panicked. To prevent him from going around the bull wheel, I had to grab him by the scruff of the neck and yank him out of the chair. He hit the ground, popped his skis off and threw them across the other side of the ramp so that he could scramble out of the way of the next rider.”Meanwhile, thinking that this was the correct way to get off of a chairlift, the travel agent in the second chair dove off of the left side of the ramp when his feet hit the snow.As soon as he stopped sliding, he immediately tore off his skis and poles and pitched them over to the other side of the ramp as he had observed his colleague doing.One by one, each of the 19 travel agents skidded down the ramp, dove to the left and pitched their equipment to the right. By the time I arrived in the last chair, there was a pile of laughing VIP’s rolling around in the snow with a mound of skis and poles on the other side of the ramp.”Angie, that was great,” said one of the agents. “But, wouldn’t it have been much easier if you had just taught us how to turn?”- Angie Beresford, Vail


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