Monday, November 28, 2011


During one of my previous lives I lived in a real mountain town, this being defined as having more than one mountain, a ski resort instead of a ski hill, and a bar to people ratio of 1:10.  Most people moved to this town with one goal, to ski.  And while some may have called us locals, we preferred to be called ski bums.  Ski bums alone are not enough to keep the economy of a small mountain town alive, unless it is a hops based economy.  There must be an outside source helping to support the local economy.  Enter the tourist.

Tourists are great, they stimulate the local economy, they are excited to be there, and they are grateful for all the help from  the locals.  Tourists look at locals like zoo animals.  Not just any zoo animal, the cool zoo animals, the lions, the penguins, the Asiatic black bear with Kung Fu moves (seriously check it out on YouTube):           
 Tourist:  "Look Timmy this young woman actually lives  here!  She gets to ski every day and party every night!  Isn't that great!  Maybe some day  if you work hard enough you will get to be a ski bum!  How does that sound?  Now go stand next to her and I'll get your picture!"
And while most tourists are pleasant there are always those few that act as if being on vacation is some kind of horrible punishment.  And if they must suffer, then damn it, so must everyone around them.  These people are called tourons (think moron + tourist = touron).

Tourons are generally unhappy to be anywhere outside their natural habitat (sitting on their couch watching TV).  They think locals are only there to serve them, to unzip their neon colored onesies so they can use the bathroom.  They ski in jeans and a Starter jacket, and refuse to take their ski boots off, even hours after they have stopped skiing and are sitting in a restaurant eating dinner.  When it comes to tipping they still live in 1950, and you will take that dollar and be  you will be happy that you got anything at all.  Tourons look at locals as creatures that even Dr. Frankenstein would not create:

Touron:  "Jimmy get away from that local!  There is no telling where he has been!  You must not get any closer or you may catch whatever disease he has that causes him to be a lazy, unproductive member of society!"

Anyone who has ever been on vacation has been either a tourist or a touron, and whichever you may have been (more than likely a tourist), one thing is certain, you asked a stupid question.  And no matter how serious you were about getting a straight answer, the local ski bum delved down into the deepest darkest part of his wit and gave you a smart-ass answer.

Note to reader, the following questions have actually been asked by tourists.

Example #1
Tourist:  What do you call those white bumps on the ski slopes?

Local:  Moguls

Tourist:  Yeah mobiles! Where do you store them in the summer?

Local:  In a warehouse

Tourist:  What do you store in the warehouse during the winter?

Local:  Bear, deer, moose.  In the summer we pull them out of storage and strategically place them around the mountain so tourists can have their pictures taken with them.

Tourist:  Did you hear that Henry, they have Nature Animals during the summer!

Example #2
Tourist:  Will our river rafting trip end at the same place along the river      where it begins?

Local:  Yes, rivers in nature are exactly the same as the Lazy River at Six Flags.

Example #3
Tourist:  At what elevation do deer turn into elk

Local:  Due to the genetic differences between deer and elk, one cannot turn into the other at any given elevation.  However elk turn into moose once the temperature drops below 15 degrees F.

Example #4
Tourist:  (as a beautiful, ethereal whistling wafts through the forest) What kind of bird makes that song?

Local:  That's an elk bugling

Tourist:  Ohhh, I've never heard of an elk bugling bird!

So as you and yours prepare for winter vacationing season, remember; leave good tips, be respectful, have fun, and unzip your own onesie.  Now I have to go explain to some tourist why only one side of the chair lift is loaded with people.


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