Finders keepers, losers weepers

With our beautiful winter, many of us are blasting through moguls, sailing down the groomed runs with ass-burning speed and generally taking on the slopes in decent form and with confidence.

Some find perfection in whatever nature provides, while others hanker after the “ideal ski conditions.” To these folks, I say the closest most skiers come to influencing the weather is burning their old straight skis. Another of my favorite lines is: “There is no bad weather, just bad clothing choice.”

We will enjoy each and every ski trip, bringing home rosy memories to keep us going through the days when we’re not on the mountain.

Unfortunately, some of us will also leave something behind on the mountain. In fact, so many skiers (boarders included) leave items behind while skiing, that it has spawned a new industry — “treasure hunting” the slopes during mud season.

The day after a resort closes for the year, a small army of people ascends the mountain. Although I haven’t seen much of this activity at Wolf Creek Ski Area, I’ve been told that it’s quite popular at other ski resorts.

These folks are searching for the items that have been lost throughout the winter, a.k.a. lost wedding rings, jewelry, wallets, ski gear — you get the picture. A few work in conjunction with the ski resort or with an insurance company.

Most work under the motto of “finders keepers, losers weepers.” They are looking for items you or I have lost and, unfortunately, we are not the rightful benefactors if they are successful.

The reason so many people pursue this hobby? It is profitable.

Skiers lose everything from credit cards to rolled up wads of money to expensive jewelry.

Why have these items not been retrieved? If you dropped your wedding ring on the sidewalk, you would immediately bend down and pick it up. If you are on a ski lift and drop the same ring, it’s not so easy to retrieve. The lift keeps moving as your ring slowly sinks below the snow’s surface. When you finally get off the lift, it is virtually impossible to find the exact spot where the ring was dropped, aside from the fact it may be impossible to get to the right spot on skis.

Even when the ski patrol is called for help, there is still no guarantee that your lost item will be retrieved.

When a girl lost her artificial leg, the ski patrol sent two people to assist her with her search. This was not a small ring in the snow, but an entire appendage!

Unfortunately, it was in an area that was hard to get to, and the leg was not recovered until early May.

The best finds of the spring are always under the lifts. Rings and wallets are abundant there. That is because people take their gloves off when they get on the lift to dig into their pockets or fiddle with their gear. Furthermore, finger size tends to shrink in cold weather, making it easier for a wedding band to slip off.

The patio area outside ski lodges is another hot spot for searchers. Often such patios have boardwalk flooring, with gaps big enough to swallow whatever you drop. Because of the snow, it’s impossible to get under the floor. In May, sans snow, it’s a different story.

The key to loss prevention is to think twice about your valuables before they become another piece of wealth waiting for the mud season to arrive.

It’s time that some advice is worth its weight in gold, otherwise there wouldn’t be so many satisfied ski lift prospectors combing the slopes in the spring.