Tinder in a snowstorm

That one time social media and online dating saved my lonely life in a snow storm.

If there’s one thing I have learnt while living in a ski town in Colorado for a winter it’s that Mother Nature can really screw with your plans. Flights are cancelled, two wheel drive cars can’t make it across any pass and roads get closed. The only thing you can plan for is that you can’t guarantee a plan.

Which is how I found myself alone in a swanky three bedroom condo at Solaris in Vail on the closing weekend. Snowmaggeden had hit and was dumping four feet of snow in the foothills of Denver and heading my way to the front range of the Colorado Rockies.

The i-70 motorway was closed in both directions and while I had planned ahead and arrived the night before, my friend who was going to take one of the bedrooms in the swanky condo, had not. Instead she had made it as far as Copper Mountain (a mere 20 minutes on a good day down the road) before the road uniforms came in and shut her plans down, leaving her with no wifi and bad cask wine on the side of the road in a run down tavern.

The weekend of mayhem and frivolity was not looking good with cars simply abandoned in snow in the middle of the motorway. What’s a girl with three days of alone time ahead in a powder storm on a closing weekend to do?

Any friends I thought I had in Vail had already left for the off season or were working. The end of the season is depressing enough without spending it as Nigella no mates.

Enter social media. Instagram, to be precise. I simply posted this

Who is in Vail right now? #Vail #colorado @vailmtn #roadwillclear #waiting #needacocktail #powdermadness

A photo posted by misssnowitall (@misssnowitall) on

Within moments I had a new friend to meet for a drink at a bar that evening. In the meantime I had taken to Tinder and Bumble, two dating apps that allow you to set your geographic search range so I could reach out to any potential dates who were within the vicinity.

Once I sifted through the Tinder pics (bathroom naked selfies, pics with your ex girlfriend, fondling your beloved car and holding a rifle need not apply) and extracted the crema on top I hit up Bumble and reached out to various guys that looked like they wouldn’t throw my body into a wood chipper. Then I waited.

As it turned out one Tinder guy was actually having a drink at Matsuhisa watching the snow fall while I was alone in my apartment upstairs in the Solaris building where Matsuhisa is. What are the chances? Well, if you’re a stalker then pretty good.

So I took a screen snapshot pic of him sent it to my friend drowning in bad red wine near Copper Mountain and said I’m off for a drink with this guy, if I don’t return look for my body in the dumpster and send the police his way.

Only trouble was when I hit the Matshuhisa bar there were two guys sitting there with a spare seat between them and at first I wasn’t sure which was my date but I felt strangely comfortable knowing that surely if one tried to kill me the other would stop him. Law of averages, right?

My Tinder date and I got chatting and the other guy joined in and before you knew it we had quite the crew or rather the makings of a threesome if you were that way inclined. I’m not.

The non Tinder guy was swimming in Canadian whiskey while waiting for his friends who were also stuck on the i-70 somewhere in the snowstorm. Meanwhile my Tinder date was knocking back drinks like sugar water and encouraging me to do the same. Until I asked him what he was drinking and it turned out it was straight coke. Right then.

But I wasn’t to worry as he had arrived baked (stoned) earlier so we were even although his buzz was starting to wear off. So far not so good.

He was leaning towards luring me away from non Tinder guy and hitting up another bar, the bar where I was to meet the Instagram girl only to do so I’d have to leave alone and walk across the village through back alley, with him, the coke drinking guy who wanted me to drink martinis and happened to be in the same building as me when he reached out to my like on Tinder.

Yes, yes, I may be overthinking it as he certainly was nice enough. Pleasant demeanour, sweet nature, good skier, worthy of a second date to explore a friendship under non snowstorm circumstances.

But by now the i70 had reopened, if only for a moment, and my friend was racing down the motorway before it closed again. So my arse was saved from the wood chipper.

The Tinder guy ran away after my friends arrived. Probably to re-ignite his weed buzz.

The non Tinder guy stayed and partied with us until his friends arrived and then invited us to join their party.

But my friend and her friend and I hit the village to celebrate the closing weekend instead, the way the original plan was intended.

I wish this story had a happier ending. You know the one, where I met the man of my snow dreams and we laughed at our candle lit wedding festival in the woods about the way we met that day in a snowstorm when we both swiped right.

But I reckon my friend making it alive to Vail while driving in a snowstorm and me surviving my first Tinder date with all my limbs intact is happy enough.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.

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