Letter: Efficient but not friendly

Efficient but not friendly

Editor of the Reformer:

Today was opening day at Okemo. I recall they pushed themselves in the 1970s as "The Friendly Mountain." The day started with disappointment. Like everything else in America things have changed. Probably the same efficiency experts who every day kneel at the alter of maximizing profits for the company shareholders are at work. The first change is to eliminate the storage cubby baskets in the base lodge. Now, you must go down into the windowless basement to store your ski bag. It doesn't sound like a big deal but it changes the experience from one where people, especially families, create a community during their skiing experience. With the cubby baskets in the dungeon downstairs people will just get changed and get out on the slopes or rush home. No more lounging around swapping stories or having a snack or adjourning to the Sitting Bull for a drink. Efficient, yes; friendly, no.

The second was the new ski passes that have a chip in them so that an electric gate opens instead of a lift attendant checking your pass. Having the pass in my pocket I had to do a hip thrust reminiscent of a disco dance to get the machine to open. I am sure the idea is that with this new efficient system they can cut back on lift attendants: fewer jobs equals more profits. On the chairlift, someone said they hoped the computer pass didn't have a function to notify his boss where he was: "They probably have their computer tied into the NSA."

Thankfully, these irritants passed from my mind when I finally made my first run of the year. After four runs my thighs reminded me I am not 20 or even 50 anymore so I called it a day. I felt fine until I got back to the base lodge got changed and went directly back to my car.

I turned on the radio hearing President Obama speak about the tragedy in Paris and ISIS. I realized with regret how much has change since the 1970s. The whole world is less friendly and more and more like 1984: Love is Hate: War is Peace. I wish I had lounged in the lodge at Okemo and missed the speech.

Dean Lynch, Westminster West, Nov. 24


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