As I get older and slower, I find that taking more breaks is essential to making it through a day on the mountain. Not really sure when this happened, either. I used to be able to jump on the first chair and tear it up (or at least I thought so) until noon, then do a burner to the lodge for a quick bite. I never stayed long, and I always looked in pity at those poor souls who were trying to enjoy lunch amongst the steaming, exhausted hoards that packed the lodge. Now I am one of them. Thankfully, I have a significant other who has taught me how to patiently enjoy the time on the mountain. So I have taken it all in over the past few years and have discovered that there are five people you will likely share a table with in the lodge this season.

The Lodge Mom

Her kids are either in all-day lessons or are ski racers, and she wants absolutely nothing to do with going out into the cold white yonder. Armed with an iPad, laptop, and at least two Patricia Cornwell novels, the Lodge Mom has no trouble killing time while the kids are on the hill. In fact, she seems to enjoy it. When you ask if you can have a seat, she smiles and says “of course dear,” somehow knowing how tired your legs are. You become a little more jealous every time you see her.

Mr. Liquid Lunch

The two pitchers of beer (one empty) and only one glass say it all. Sure, everyone refuels at lunch in their own way, but this dude is diligent about rehydrating with barley pop. PBR should seriously consider sponsoring him. He mumbles something like “why not?” when you inquire if you can take a seat. He does not offer you a glass, no matter how thirsty you try to look.

Angry Dad

Imagine trying to keep tabs on four kids under the age of 10. This poor guy probably lost it about five minutes before you walked in, likely due to little Billy stuffing his half-eaten tuna fish sandwich into his sister’s helmet and then mashing the helmet on her head. In case you were not aware, getting the smell of tuna fish out of helmets and hair is nearly impossible. As you sit down, you notice the guy has a funny eye twitch and keeps repeating “I told you to knock it off!” in a soft voice. You eat quickly and leave.

The PDA Couple

If sucking face were a sport, these two would be gold medal winners. Ah, to be young and in love. I’d take young at this point. Anyway, they can’t seem to keep their hands off each other, despite the fact that they are in the middle of a massive room with three hundred other people. You feel awkward the moment you sit down. You eat quietly, keeping your focus on the cheeseburger and fries in front of you, and attempt to avoid staring at them. The people at the next table can only glance at you in pity.

Captain Ego

As you approach this guy’s table, the conversation gets your attention right away. Captain Ego is lecturing his girlfriend on the finer points of skiing, and he appears to take a great deal of pleasure in pointing out her deficiencies while alluding to his own superiority. She must feel truly blessed to have him as her skiing savior. You resist the urge to vomit in your mouth as he begins his dissertation on why keeping your feet glued together and leaning back is crucial to making pretty turns. //

Brad Northrup is a former ski racer, coach, and ski bum. He secretly looks forward to his lunch breaks in the lodge.