Riding solo on the double chair. PHOTO: JOHN CLARY DAVIES

I’ve always assumed I’d meet my future wife on an old, slow double chairlift.

So when I heard about the speed-dating event Mount Hood Skibowl was hosting on Valentine’s Day, I figured I’d speed up the process. All my friends were being cute with their girlfriends that night anyway, so why not go fall in love myself.

Here’s how it works: one line for single guys, one line for single girls, one long magical chairlift ride. If the date goes well, “you take it to the next level,” as the guy in the ski shop told me, by taking the subsequent double chair to the Upper Bowl.

This was going to be too easy. I figured I’d fill up my phone with numbers, then take some lucky brunette back to my cabin in the woods, and make a roaring fire. We’d rip off each others pearl-snap flannels and make like 10,000 damn babies, all of whom would grow up to be expert skiers and doctorate students.

I even prepared. I trimmed my mustache. I put on my most expensive pants. Before I headed to the hill, I bought chocolates called “Bliss” for all my future girlfriends and filled my flask with medium good bourbon in case we needed to loosen up.

But nobody got in either line. It was just me. The lifty gave me a pitying smile, and then I rode that long, slow, dark double chair solo. I thought about my friends and their girlfriends. It was even Thursday, which means its college night at Skibowl, and anybody with a student ID gets a half-priced ticket. Where were all the precocious, academic babes looking to try new things? We were supposed to discuss Nietzsche and post-post-modern art tonight.

After a few lonely chairlift rides and icy laps, I did what any single guy would do on a Valentine’s Day date where he got stood up by the entire single female skiing population of Oregon. I went to the bar.