The man from Luvbyrd was pairing whoever seemed to be in his immediate line of sight within the same age group. ” When I said no, he looked at a tall guy standing three feet from me and asked, “Wanna go with her? As we headed to the lift, I explained that I’m not a skier who climbs—instead, I’m looking for a climber who skis, just like me. “Oh, mostly top roping and some bouldering,” he said. Much as I hate to admit it, I want a partner who climbs and skis better than I do—someone I have to keep up with.I said this throughout the day, partly to be honest about what I was looking for, and partly to put a disclaimer out there about my mediocre skiing abilities. “I don’t go outside much because I don’t really have the gear.” Dammit. I rate my abilities in both pursuits as average, so I don’t think this is asking too much. Even though he seemed like a great guy, it was early in the day, and meeting someone more compatible seemed probable.If I was going to get through a whirlwind day of dating on the chairlift, I’d need to stay faithful to at least a few nonnegotiables.When I was partnered with a snowboarder for date three, I immediately wrote him off as a potential match.I guess a splitboarder would be OK, but I’m an impatient person.I was frustrated just thinking about waiting for him to make the lengthy transition from two sticks to one.
The closest I’d gotten to another living being in the past few months was spooning my dog every night.Sitting in Saturday-morning ski traffic on I-70 the day of the event, I was hopeful about getting back into the outdoor dating scene but worried that my dates would leave me in a spray of snow.I’m a pretty cautious skier, and I figured everyone there would be shredding.Curiously, there seemed to be a lot of women in the older age brackets (35 to 45 and 45-plus) and a lot of men in the youngest one.(Numbers from preregistration show that 45 percent of the participants were in the 35-to-45 bracket, while 35 percent were in my 18-to-35 bracket.) The crowd was buzzing with nervous excitement. Lift Date Number One* was a late-20s software engineer. We shared easy conversation about skiing and mountain towns, and eventually I asked him what type of climbing he did.My biggest anxiety, though, was that I had no idea how people would pair up to ride the lifts together. When I arrived at the bottom of the lift, I was surprised to see so many other speed daters milling around.More than 200 people had signed up, with an almost equal split of men to women and far more skiers than snowboarders.The basic gist: I show up and pin a ribbon indicating my age group (18 to 35) to my jacket, and an event organizer matches me with someone in my age bracket.Then my date and I head off to ride the lifts together and ski any runs we choose.If we like each other, we can ski together as long as we want.If we don’t click, I can go back to the base and get a new match.