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Apps and ‘chairlift dating’ help skiers find soulmates on the slopes

Apps and ‘chairlift speed dating’ have helped skiers and snowboarders find romance on the slopes.

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Why waste time with winter-sports wimps? New ski dating apps are helping solo skiers single out their slopeside soulmates all over North America.

Getting entangled on a chairlift actually sealed the downhill deal for snowboard enthusiast Bradford Carter.

He and his date literally fell for each other at Loveland, Colo., during a chairlift speed-dating event held in conjunction with the LuvByrd app (luvbyrd.com).

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Since then, they have gone on to snowboard together all over Colorado.

"Canada is very high on my list of places to ride next," Carter says. "I would really love to ski Whistler since it's on the Epic Pass, but Revelstoke is where I'd like to go first."

Having used Tinder and Bumble before, Carter says he preferred the LuvByrd app because it drove him straight to similar-standard snowboarders.

The app is aimed at outdoorsy types who sign up to various sporty interest groups including skiing, hiking, biking and swimming.

Despite a mutual powder passion, it took Carter two months to go from rugged riding to real romance, but the couple has been exploring the outdoors together ever since.

With intimate interest "peaking" everywhere, the LuvByrd app has expanded across North America and into British Columbia this winter.

Chairlift speed dating is growing in popularity, too, with events held annually at Brian Head, Black Mountain, Saddleback and Mount Hood.

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Closer to home, Mount Norquay, Banff, has been running a Lifts of Love Valentine's event since 2013.

Sun Peaks includes chairlift dating in its Snowbombing Festival, Big White has speed dating on the Bullet Express every Feb. 14 and Red Mountain runs "Skied Dating."

Other ski dating apps include SkiPals (skipals.com), a worldwide vacation hook-up platform that matches vacation-mates, fills spare rooms and replaces cancellations. Based in Britain, it groups singles into packaged ski vacations to facilitate fun, flirtation and affordability.

For backcountry buddies, there's Snowflake (thesnowflakeapp.com), a location-based meet-up app targeting snowboarders.

Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are among the Canadian cities covered, although founder Catherine Marston has plans to expand worldwide. Glitches discovered last season have been overcome for a December relaunch.

"People loved the app last year, but the feedback from a survey allowed us to make a few conclusions – there were a few bugs in the app, the user interface wasn't as great as we liked and users wanted to input the dates they were planning on going to a specific mountain," says Marston. She plans on reaching 20,000 users this year, mostly millennials and Gen Xers.

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SnowPals (snowpals.org) is a Tahoe ride-share app, prompting many an on-hill liaison since 1999.

The free service is aimed at reducing carbon footprint as well as widening postcollege riders' and skiers' sporty circles. Users post accommodation shares, too, and can personally scope out potential powder pals at monthly mixers. With its comprehensive Rideshare Guide and Etiquette guidelines, complete with safety and security tips, no adverse experiences have been reported to SnowPals in 17 years.

In Europe, the Ski Gathering (theskigathering.com) groups sociable singles from all over the world in suitable chalet vacations. And lofty love is in the social-media air too with Twitter launching its SkiSingle sector (twitter.com/SkiSingle).

Mike Keshian, the founder of LuvByrd, admits his initial ski-dating website forum launched in 2014 was a ploy to find himself a winter-sports-wild woman. It worked when he met snowboarding soulmate Kelly Simmons on his first date through the site.

"Before LuvByrd, I was dating women I wasn't able to connect with in the outdoors but, because I knew Kelly liked to snowboard, camp, hike and travel, I had great confidence we would hit it off, and we did," Keshian says.

Since then, he has responded to similar success stories by expanding the website into an app.

"I've had dozens of e-mails from users asking me to remove their account since they've met someone on the site," Keshian says. "There have even been occasions where we've been at local events and LuvByrd members have walked up to shake my hand and express their gratitude."

Skiing singles are signing up from as far afield as Sweden and Russia.

To avoid stalkers and spammers, members can flag or block others and, if sufficient proof is available, LuvByrd will remove the flagged user.

This year, Keshian has speed-dating events planned at Loveland again and has chosen to launch at Crotched Mountain, N.H. (despite the potential for some below-the-belt connotations).

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