He was hanging upside-down in the maintenance shack, where a black light made his tighty-whities glow blue. Just a half-hour before, his favorite Swiss hockey team, HC Davos, had won their first-round playoff series in the seventh game. Indeed, it was time for a celebration.
Your humble reporter’s inclusion in this spectacle was part luck, part chance, and part female-related. While doing a year overseas studying the finer points of Swiss mountaintops, he had lucked into a dorm-room relationship with a fine young lady known as Sara, who happened to moonlight as a chalet girl during the winter months. And as the season wound down, she had smuggled him into a pseudo-staff spot at an Alp-based heli-skiing operation that included random seats in the bird when the office-atrophied legs of paying clients tired; a pretty good setup for a ramen-fed college kid, to say the least. The week had played out much as expected, with dish duty in the morning and meadow-skipping glory in the afternoons, followed by hot tub sessions, mop sessions, gourmet dinners and a few bottles of client-bought wine to round out the evenings. Essentially, dirtbag heaven. But nothing could have prepared him for this spectacle—a spectacle that grew as the night went on.
Three butterfly bandages, a cold bottle from the snowbank, a spattering of blood on the plywood floor and another scar to the collection—it wasn’t enough to stop the momentum, and concussion be damned, the party rolled on.
When Davos bagged that second-round playoff berth, the lodge manager quickly ushered out patrons and procured a case of fine bubbly for the staff. Out came the grimy coffee table from the heli-shack, and in went an equally-sullied stripper pole. It only took a few minutes for it to turn into a pants-off-dance-off. Luckily, the ratio was in healthy balance as lodge girls aplenty trickled up from their après duties to join the party. Then, the music stopped: the mechanic tried to dip a buxom blond pastry chef named Marielle and, in his drunken state, tipped over and smashed his head off a vice. The lights went on; the guides, and even Tighty-Whitey, flew into intoxicated emergency mode. Three butterfly bandages, a cold bottle from the snowbank, a spattering of blood on the plywood floor and another scar to the collection—it wasn’t enough to stop the momentum, and concussion be damned, the party rolled on. I don’t know where she found it, but Sara suddenly appeared with a roll of yellow “Caution: Heli” tape, clutching her boobs to her chest beneath her yellow curls. She had me wrap her up in a makeshift bikini, and a half dozen of her compatriots followed suit, posing outside for a quick moment in front of the dormant A-Star helicopter. They pranced around the bird, shivering in the falling snow. Inside, the party raged on.
Who knows where the pictures wound up from that night—some say the jean-clad bartender made off with the memory card for his personal enjoyment. Whatever the case, an incoming crew of Italian guests was none-the-wiser the next morning as the now lively A-Star carried them into the freshly-blanketed alpine. The girls’ footsteps had been buried by falling snow—it was almost as if nothing had ever happened.
But I can still remember the scene at 2am that morning: the lodge manager still clinging to the tarnished pole, exhibiting what may have been a past career in show business, while his cadre of vivacious chalet personnel danced half-naked around him. He felt compelled to be heard once again: “This is the greatest sports bar in the world!” I couldn’t have agreed more.