Wednesday, February 22, 2017


“Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.” 
~ Sarah Dessen

As you may already know, in the winter I work at Cannon Mountain up in Franconia, NH.  My official job title is Ambassador.  Basically, what that means is if you come to Cannon, I am the person who will check your lift ticket, answer your questions, give you directions, help you if you get injured and show you where the good snow is; among other things.  When the weather is really bad (subzero temps, wind, rain, etc.), this job is admittedly pretty brutal.  Otherwise, it's a ton of fun and I honestly look forward to doing it every weekend.  The mountain staff is a motley crew of people from all walks of the earth and together we do our best to represent the laid back, fun, positive aura that is Cannon.  On Tuesday, I worked three hour long shifts at the Mittersel lift.  If the sun in shining at Cannon, this is, hands down, the best place to be.  From a working standpoint, it's one of my favorite assignments mainly because it has a super chill vibe and because I tend to know a lot of the skiers that roll through, many of them good friends of mine and quite often my own kids who both train and race at the mountain.  The lift attendants, and more specifically, the guys over at the Mittersel lift, are a stellar crew and such a blast to be around.  Most of them are long-haired, bearded dudes under the age of 30.  Except for Doug who is pushing 40 but looks (and acts) like he's under 25.

Crazy Doug

It should be noted, however, that this is by no means a cut on him as he is one of the funniest guys I've ever met.  It should also be noted that given my status as a 42 year old mom, I fit right in.  No.  Not really.  But they welcome me with open arms regardless.

Survival mode

This particular morning, I rolled into work a bit behind the eight ball from an energy standpoint.  I'd gotten up early to get a run in before my kids woke up which in and of itself is always a challenge for me.  On top of that, the combination of marathon training, working and skiing was simply starting to take a toll on me physically.  Basically, I was toast.  After our morning meeting I grabbed a cup of coffee and made my way over to my first shift.  Yes, I skied with coffee.  It was a slow morning which was both good and bad; good because it was mellow and stress-free and bad because time was literally crawling.  After my coffee, I jumped into a conversation about music with Sam.  I threw him one of my standard music-related questions: What band or artist would you see tonight if you could BUT they can no longer be together and/or alive.

Hanging w/ Sam

Sam is 21 so I was surprised when he responded with the 70s era funk band, Parliament.  I agreed that they would have been a killer show to experience.  He asked me who I'd see for which I always have the same answer....the legend, Bob Marley.  So, then we asked the rest of the crew who their picks would be.  Doug landed on David Bowie with Beastie Boys as a close second.  Nick threw out The Highwaymen, a country music supergroup from the 80s and 90s made up of  Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson.  Again, not what I'd expected, but a solid choice.

Happy Nick

After that, we decided to have a little fun and throw the question out to all the skiers who were coming through.


We watched as people skied up to the lift, read the board and then thought about their answer (or didn't).  Not everyone was into it, but a lot were and many jumped on the opportunity to share their thoughts.  If they didn't have one right off the bat, they'd chew on it while the road up, then ski down and give us their answer.  The responses were all over the map.  Some of the artists I'd never heard of (Harry Chapin, Mother Lovebones, Richie Haven) others were on my own list (Talking Heads, English Beat, Traveling Wilburys).  Led Zeppelin was the clear winner.  Beatles a close second.  In the end, most genres were covered - country, classic rock, alternative rock, jazz and so on.  But the really cool thing was seeing the impact this one question had on the energy of the crowd.  People were smiling, laughing, chatting with strangers, chatting with us.  Not to sound cheesy but everything felt so good and right at the moment.  The beauty of it all?  There was no right or wrong answer.  We respected each other's choices regardless of whether we agreed or disagreed with them.  Music is such a powerful force.  It moves us beyond words.  It tells our stories.  It shapes our lives.  And not only did our answers reflect this but they brought us together just for that moment. Because, what it comes down to is that music is a universal language.  It is available to all of us.  And it is a medium that is shared freely across the board.  There are not many things out there, particularly in our current state of affairs, that have the ability to move us all in such a positive way.  And that is pretty spectacular, isn't it?

Bob Marley
David Bowie
Beastie Boys
The Highwaymen
Mother Lovebone
Talking Heads
Led Zeppelin
The Jerry Garcia Band
Grateful Dead
The Doors
The Beatles
Pete Seger
Janis Joplin
Richie Havens
Credence Clearwater Revival
The Eagles
Smashing Pumpkins
Jimi Hendrix
The Allman Brothers Band (original lineup)
Stevie Ray Vaughn
James Brown
Alice In Chains
Nick Drake
Janes Addiction
Miles Davis

Listen to this:
Machine by Misterwives


  1. Richie Havens (w/ an "s"). And really, you never heard of Harry Chapin? I know you're young, but not that young.

    Add Jim Croce to your list for me (w/o the cigar).

    1. I'd heard of both once the people told me what songs they sung. FREEEEEDDDDOOOMMM!!! Rock on, Dave.