The Daily - August 10, 2021 - 11

TAL-EE ROBERTS
Ideas
T H E B I G P I C T U R E
Long Live the
Dive Bar!
Last month, Snowbird announced that
the Tram Club was shuttered-and ski
bum eyes everywhere pooled with brine.
By Mark Peruzzi
THE TRAM CLUB WAS A DIVE BAR.
It was devoid of natural light, so
the only cool thing to look at was
the windowed-off infrastructure
of the Tram itself, which was right
above the club. With its brightly
painted spinning bullwheels
and massive gears, it looked like
a 1960s movie set-something
Russian that Sean Connery's Bond
in ski goggles would need to blow
up. There was sports memorabilia
on the wall. Drinking down there
after a day of ripping powder was
comfortable. There was a lack of
pretense, like partying in a friend's
suburban basement in high school.
I once sat at a Tram Club table
with a buddy whose last name is
Bass. When the waitress heard the
name, she asked if he was related
to Snowbird founder Dick Bass.
Before he could correct her, I
chimed in, " Yes, this is Dick Bass's
heir, " in hopes of procuring a free
round. I ran ski tests at Snowbird
for a decade. Our younger testers
would burn tomorrow's matches
grinding on Tram Club divorcées
deep into the night. I don't think I
ever passed up a chance for at least
one Tram Club drink after gorging
on red meat in the neighboring
Steak Pit.
IS THERE NOTHING THAT SKIING'S
self-entitled elites can't ruin?
On its website, Snowbird calls
the Tram Club " the center of our
local universe. " But the resort just
revoked the Tram Club's 27-yearold
lease, which is a strange way
to treat the center of the universe.
The ski area says a bar will live on
in the space, but if you think the
replacement will be in keeping
with what the Tram Club was,
you're deluded. Instead of a PBR
and a shot of cheap whiskey from a
bartender just surly enough to remind
you that you aren't in a coastal
metro anymore, you'll be waiting
for some schmuck mixologist with
mustache wax to spend way too
much time making you a blueberry
gin fizz or a raspberry kiss.
This is bigger than the Tram
Club. As the economics of skiing
have changed, the target audience
has, too. When I was editing
Skiing magazine (RIP), I was once
laughed at by a Vail Resorts executive
for explaining that a big chunk
of our readership brown-bagged
their lunches. " We don't want that
crowd here, " he said to the entire
conference room. Now, with the
mega-passes, the goal of big resorts
is to serve the type of clientele that
can afford to buy a pass, travel long
distances to ski multiple times a
season, and stay, eat, and drink up
at the mountain.
When all you see are dollar
Ski journalist Krista
Crabtree takes
down the bros at
the Tram Club.
signs, dumping the dive bar with
its domestic pitchers in favor of
something cloyingly muddled and
bespoke might make business
sense. But at what cost? Skiing was
built around unkempt bars. That's
where the patrollers, instructors,
lifties, locals, and visitors on a budget
drank before grabbing a pizza
or firing up the tailgate hibachi
and searing moose burgers. Skiing
needs such people.
THE SECOND TIME I EVER DRANK
legally in a bar was in some dank,
dark hole at Copper Mountain.
Aspen can keep its Stoli Ice
House bar with its $50 entrance
fee. I'd rather drink with actual
skiers in Loveland's Rathskellar.
(That's a German word that
means " basement bar, " which
makes sense because the Germanic
peoples were some of the
first downhill skiers). When new
ownership took over Squaw Valley
back in 2010, the biggest fear
among locals was that they would
shutter the famed Le Chamois-
which, in the California style, is a
dive bar bathed in sun. An entire
conspiracy-theory campaign
grew up around it, complete
with " Save the Chamois " bumper
stickers.
Seem obsessive? Yeah, OK, skiing
has a drinking problem. Try to
think of any other participatory
sport (golf doesn't count, Spalding)
that always ends at a bar. I,
too, went way too deep when I was
younger. And the skiing tribe is full
of good people who have never let
up. But when they're not toxic, après
and skiing are symbiotically chill.
Many participants in outdoor
sports take themselves far too
seriously these days-trail runners,
road cyclists, and rock climbers
come to mind. Blissfully, skiing
is still about good times. Which
reminds me of another bumper
sticker I've seen lately, short and to
the point: " It's Just Skiing. "
Sharing a beer or some schnapps
after a day of shredding reminds
us of that. It's even more true when
the après doesn't involve flaunted
wealth or douchebag urbanite aesthetics
and flowery concoctions.
Keep skiing real. Save the Tram
Club.
OUTDOOR RETAILER SUMMER 2021 /
11

The Daily - August 10, 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Daily - August 10, 2021

The Daily - August 10, 2021 - CW1
The Daily - August 10, 2021 - 2
The Daily - August 10, 2021 - C1
The Daily - August 10, 2021 - C2
The Daily - August 10, 2021 - 1
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The Daily - August 10, 2021 - C3
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The Daily - August 10, 2021 - CW3
The Daily - August 10, 2021 - CW4
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