After lunch, our skier and his family head back to their skis. Our skier sees his skis laying in the snow, bracketed on one side by his Swix Cougar composite poles, and on the other by a Christy Sports rental Leki.
I left a note with my phone number and a request to text me when the clueless 17 year old male who is clearly, in my mind, the culprit realizes his mistake. Told all the liftees. Told the lost and found. Told everyone, including my family, ad nauseam, how I bought the poles brand new from a second hand sports store for twenty bucks. How they were too long and I softened the grips up with near-boiling water and pulled them off. Marked the poles, put masking tape over, cut them down to size with a hacksaw. Don't want to go back to my cheap Scott aluminum poles, which anyway are hanging in the garage in Connecticut.
Next day I rented poles at Christy Sports and told them my sob story, asked them to keep a lookout for when the clueless n00b returns. Skied all day with the rental poles, which I honestly don't notice a huge difference in, but that's beside the point, man!
End of the day, return my rental poles. No clueless teenager returned your pole, sir.
Standing in the shuttle line, grousing yet again about the episode. My beautiful nineteen-year old stepdaughter nudges me, says "isn't that your pole?"
I turn to look at the clueless young man standing next to me holding a grey Leki aluminum pole and a black, and much skinnier, Swix Cougar composite pole. I say to him "Dude, that's my pole!" He says, with a shrug, "sorry man, my bad," and hands me my pole. I say you're right it's your bad, pay more attention next time, at which point he slinks off to another spot in the shuttle waiting area.
What really bugged me wasn't his cluelessness in taking my pole, but rather that he clearly noticed at some point he had mismatched poles and did nothing to investigate it.
However, happy ending, lesson learned. Listen to the little voice and always hang your poles off the ends of your skis.
Next day I told lost and found and the guys at Christy Sports they could quit looking for my pole because, on a mountain that gets tens of thousands of skier visits, my pole wound up next to me in the shuttle line.
Happy New Year, everyone.