With natural beauty all around and the je ne sais quoi of a peaceful chairlift ride, it makes sense that Cupid would take aim on a ski day. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’ve got three stories of couples that fell head over ski-booted heel for each other at Colorado ski resorts.

Good Odds for the Caseys

Not too many love stories start with a bet. Hardly any start with a bet about a broken-down chairlift. Who won the wager? To hear Kim and Todd Casey tell their story, they both did.

Kim had ended up at Copper Mountain after leaving the University of New Mexico, surprisingly, at her parents’ suggestion. “I’m the first person in the world that’s been sent away to be a ski bum to get my shit together,” she laughs.

Her job as a lift operator, however, suited her much better than her degree in secondary education. It was outside, fun, social, and worth returning to for a second season. “Working on one of the main lifts at Copper, you get to talk to everyone and meet everyone,” she says. Another perk: “You get to check out all the cute boys, cute patrollers, and cute instructors.”

Todd was one of those instructors. A transplant from New Hampshire working full-time for the Ski and Ride School, he and his gaggle of eight-year-old boys were in line for Kim’s lift, the American Flyer. He noticed the “cute girl working the lift, who I’d seen around,” he says, but when the chairs stopped running due to a small, mechanical issue, “I told my group we were going to go to the other chairlift, right over there, because I didn’t feel like standing in line.”

Wedding photo on a mountian
Marriage on the mountain. Photo courtesy of Kim and Todd Casey

The cute girl was confident her lift would be up and running before Todd could make it to the other line—so confident that she bet him a beer. “I’d never met this girl, but she was cute, so I thought to myself, Worst-case scenario I lose the bet, and I get a date, and 27 years later, here we are,” says the veteran ski instructor and staff trainer who married Kim, now the director of Copper Ski and Ride School, at the top of Copper Mountain. “And neither one of us remembers who actually won the bet.”

Keeping up With the McWilliamses

Looking back, Andrew McWilliams admits his former job with Arapahoe Basin Ski Area wasn’t the most glamorous. As an auditor, he had to monitor discounted sales and make sure the registers had the correct amount of cash. “I was the lowest level of accounting staff there was,” he says. But the gig allowed him to enjoy afternoon “power hours” on the legendary Pallavicini Lift, which was exactly what he was doing on that Sunday in 2013.

The Pali Chair, as locals know it, is rightfully called “the center of the universe” at Arapahoe Basin. At the time, it was an older, fixed-grip two-seater, which means it was relatively slow, taking about 10 minutes to ride from bottom to top.

When an attractive stranger asked if she could ride the Pali up with him, McWilliams, who was single at the time, happily complied. The conversation was easy—it helped that they were both in accounting—and when they neared the crest, the woman suggested they take a ski run together. McWilliams had no plans to slow down, though. “I was trying to get as many laps as I could,” he says. “I thought, If she keeps up, she keeps up.

Linsey kept up, and the couple married in 2019.

In summer 2020, Arapahoe Basin had to retire the original, 42-year-old Pali Chair. But rather than installing a fancy, high-speed quad, the resort stuck with what it knew. “I think it’s the only brand-new, fixed-grip two-seater, probably in the world. Nobody in the industry is doing that anymore,” McWilliams says. But he’s glad. “It adds a special vibe. If I had been on a fast chair with other people, I might not have had the chance to talk to Linsey the way I did.”

As for the original lift: The ski area knew demand to buy the decommissioned chairs would be high, so it raffled off tickets for the opportunity to buy one. These days, Andrew and Linsey aren’t sure if they drink their coffee on the exact seat they met on, but they don’t mind. They’re convinced that when it comes to the Pali lift, they hit the lottery twice.

Mike and Layne Were Meant to Ski

Love on the slopes runs in Layne Shea’s (née Potvin) family. Her parents met on Aspen Mountain in 1973 when her mom signed up for a ski lesson and fell in love with her instructor. Shea, however, wasn’t necessarily expecting to follow in their ski tracks on that February day in 2005.

“It was a sleeper powder day,” Shea says, one of those rare times when the top of Aspen Mountain had been blessed with a stoke-inducing eight inches of fresh snow, while the town below was flake-free. She’d been out since first chair, lapping the terrain off of Bell Mountain and Gent’s Ridge via the Silver Queen Gondola. Skiing on a weekday—one of the additional perks of working an evening waitressing shift—meant she was still getting fresh lines even by midday.

“I was getting on the gondola, and I looked back and saw a young boy behind me,” Shea says, remembering that even though he had a “preppy” vibe that belied his East Coast roots, he was still super cute. “I stalled for a few seconds so we could both get on the same gondola.”

Mike and Layne Shea
Photo courtesy of Mike and Layne Shea

There, the two started up an easy dialogue of “where are you froms” and “what do you dos.” Shea recapped how she’d grown up in Aspen and had returned after college to begin integrating into the family’s growing real estate business and be close to her parents. Mike said he had just moved from Massachusetts, deferring a job to spend a winter skiing and taking a break from the fast pace of life on the East Coast.

The conversation soon turned to where they planned to ski next. Shea described a little-known connector route between the Back of Bell over to the Bingo Glades. The newcomer was intrigued and asked to tag along. “We ended up skiing together for the rest of that day,” Shea says.

When Mike asked her to join him for an aprés ski coffee, though, she apologetically declined. “I had to catch the bus home, get my clothes, and be back at work in 25 minutes,” she laughs.

But the pair kept up their easy friendship, often hitting Main Street Bakery for eggs benedict and then heading for the slopes. By that summer, their relationship blossomed into something more, and now, two sons later, they’ve been married for 11 years.

(Read more: The “Sweetheart Couple” Behind Loveland’s Valentine Remailing Program)