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The puzzle of horizontal Harry

Daily Staff Report

In the early days at Alta, there was an old rope tow called “Horizontal Harry.” Harry ran horizontally, across a long expanse of flat terrain. If you were headed west, you stood on the side of the tow that headed west. If you were headed east, you stood on the side of the tow that headed east.One day, I was teaching a private client on the west side of the rope tow that ran to the Wildcat chairlift. On the other side was a woman who was also facing to the west.However, the rope on that side ran in the other direction, to the east. Carefully, she would sidle up to the rope, lean back and let it slide through her gloves. As soon as she tightened her grip on the rope, it heaved her up and back, depositing her on her fanny.Grumbling, the woman stood back up and brushed herself off. Once again, she slid up to the rope, leaned back and let the rope slide through her gloves. As soon as she tightened her grip on the rope, it launched her up and back, depositing her on her derriere.After several comical attempts at trying to ride the rope tow, I decided it was time to intervene. I said to her, “Excuse me Ma’am. Can I help you?”She fumed, “What’s the matter with this (expletive deleted) rope tow? I can’t get on the (expletive deleted) thing!” So, I asked her, “Where do you want to go Ma’am?” She said, “I want to go over to the Wildcat lift.”Taking in a deep breath, I said, “Ma’am. Watch which direction that rope is moving. It’s going in the opposite direction that you want to go.” Suddenly, it dawned on her: she was facing the wrong direction on the wrong side of the rope tow.Indignantly, she threw down her poles, then marched away muttering to herself, “They shouldn’t make these (expletive deleted) lifts so hard to figure out!”- Rex Ames, Alta, Utah


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