The thoughts of a chair lift operator: At night


Page 1 Well here I am again. Yesterday I was on the Toby shift in the daytime. Today I'm working the night-shit. Same shit, different day. I'm starting off up the top again. So all being well, I should get 3 or 4 hours quality writing time. I do actually have my laptop in my bag tonight. And there's a plug right underneath my desk. But I don't want to push my luck too far. It's easy to quickly hide a pad of paper when you see a manager riding up the lift. A laptop might prove a little more tricky.

I'm definitely not in the mood to be a good worker tonight though. Why do I have my laptop on me? Because exactly what happened this morning, is exactly what I expected to happen. I was scheduled for a split shift today. That means working the car park in the morning, having a 3 or 4 hour break, & then working the night-skiing. Well seeing as it's been dead on weekdays for 2 weeks now, last night I made a point of checking & double checking that we really wanted car parking this morning. And although they couldn't guarantee I'd be working in the morning, they needed me to come in, in case. So I get here this morning. "Oh. It was a rostering error. We don't need car parking today." Fucking great. I get up at 7am to get the bus in. And I don't start work until the night skiing. Which pisses me off. I have loads I need to be doing back home. So losing half a day to a roster error, really hasn't put me in the best mood. Like I said though, I did expect this. So I brought my laptop with me & spent 3 hours this morning catching up on things I needed to get done online. This includes adding 80 more photos to the 'Invermere & Panorama' photo album. Mainly of pictures I've taken from around the mountain. But if you're really bored, have a goose at them.

Another thing that I had the time to do, was research into various places that I could go on my 4 days off. The US looks a no go. The nearest city of note, would be going back to Seattle. Which I would like to do for a third time. But not at a cost of approximately 20 hours travelling each way. From looking at Google maps, the states that appear to be directly South of here are Montana & Idaho. And there seems to be fuck-all to do in either of them. So going down to the US again seems to be a no-go. I did get very ambitious at one point. And I started looking at budget flights for Mexico, & for Alaska. But I couldn't find any to make it worthwile for a 4-day trip. And I even looked into the possibility of going back to Edmonton. Because in my previous 2 trips there, I've found that to be a pretty cool place. Despite what everyone else says. The Greyhound fares here didn't seem worthwile either though. After all that ambition of Mexico, & Alaska, & Vancouver, & Vancouver Island, & Edmonton, & a load of other places that flashed through my mind, I've pretty much concluded that the only places that are financially responsible, & worth the time of travel, are Banff & Calgary. So if I go away; yesterday it was when, today it's if. But if I go away, which I probably will, it's going to be either Banff or Calgary. Page 2 Probably Calgary. Although Banff is a place I do want to go to; if you read some of the pre-departure blogs I was quite close to going there on the way to Invermere, I'm kind of feeling Calgary right now. I wouldn't mind having a couple of days in a city, rather than a mountain town. Just get a few days of what I see as normal life. Something that more closely resembles the life I'm used to living back in London. There's a couple of days of sport coming up. The NFL conference championships on Sunday, & the Merseyside derby on Monday. Two of the most important days in the annual Jro sporting calendar. And I'd love to watch these games in a proper city bar, sat next to some drunk guy I've never met, sat at the bar talking to the bartender. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with the bars here. But I like to go to places where no one knows my name. Meeting people that night for the first & the last time. It's nice to do that sometimes.

I looked into prices. And a return bus fare, plus 3 nights in a hostel, will set me back about $150. It's more than I'd ideally pay, but it's not too excessive. I'd be getting on a bus at about 10:15 on Sunday morning. So on my break tomorrow, I'm going to have to decide if I'm going or not. I've got another split tomorrow. Only this time I'll probably actually have a car park shift, so I'll get maybe 4 hours off to arrange everything. Though one apparent problem with catching the bus out of Invermere, is that there is nowhere to buy a ticket. And supposedly it's a bit of a lottery as to whether or not you can convince the driver that you're going to buy a ticket at the next stop or not. I might not even be able to get onto the bus if I do decide to go.

Anyway that's where I stand with my 4 days off right now. I'd recon there's about a 70% chance I'll spend Sunday night in Calgary, a 5% chance I'll spend it in Banff, & a 25% chance I'll still be in good old Invermere. I'm writing this on Friday night. At the time you're reading it though, Sunday may well have already passed. Because I'm not going to have time to type it up tonight. And probably not tomorrow either. Then comes Sunday, and if I go to Calgary, I don't plan on spending that time typing. And I'm working late shifts next Thursday & Friday. So realistically, this blog might not appear online for over a week after I'm writing it. So to clarify, I'm writing this on Friday, January 16th. So by the time you see this, I may well have already been to Calgary. Or Banff. Or Mexico. But then I might have just spent my 4 days off on the sofa in Invermere. Who knows right now?

Things are so quiet on the mountain at this time of the season, that a lot of departments are having to give workers very minimal hours. I know one girl who is supposed to be a full-time waitress. She has 10 hours of work this week. Don't worry about her though. She's French so it's actually quite funny. But house-keepers, food & beverage, even ticket validators are having their hours lessened! Lifties seem to be one of the only departments relatively unaffected. Page 3 Because as long as every lift remains open, you need the same amount of people there running it. But with no validators, there's no record of how many people are riding the lift. So apearing at the top of the shack today, is a new folder. Whilst I've been writing this, I'm supposed to have been keeping a tally of the number of people using the chair. How fucking tight is this company? I'm actually supposed to manually count every single guest that rides the damn lift. They're dreaming. If I had to check off every single guest, it'd really mess up the flow of my writing. So instead, I'm just guessing how many people we have. What they really didn't consider when they came up with this system, is that it's in my interest to exaggerate the figures. The busier they think the night-skiing is, the more likely they are to continue, or even expand it. And the more time that the chair's open, the more hours for me. Which is exactly what I want. So my tally chart doesn't even fit on the page. Even though we're pretty quiet. I can't believe they expect me to count all the guests for virtually minimum wage, when they screwed me over this morning. They're fucking dreaming thiese people. They really are.

I've written nearly 2½ pages already this shift. I still don't feel like I've actually said anything though. I'm just kind of rambling. But I'm still going to stop now. We've got a bit busy up here & I'm not really producing much. Next time I write, maybe it'll be from Calgary. Maybe from Banff. Or just maybe plain old Invermere! Who knows!


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