Stu's response(Stu Campbell asked me to post this on his behalf)
Mom Nature has been about as kind to me as She's been to the Northeast, where it poured all last night -- at least here in Stowe. In November I was stricken with pancreatitus -- something I don't recommend. That's fine now, but some surgery was called for (a) to head off any recurrence, (b) to remove a hiatal hernia the size of Texas, and (c) to move some innards to where they are supposed to be.
What should have been a simple three-hour laparascopic procedure turned into an 11 hour marathon with three surgical teams at work. The docs deem it a huge success, but I'm dubious since they cut me every which way from Sunday and I hurt everywhere. Feeling better every day, but a normal two-recovery period is now extended to eight. (I'm trying to negotiate with the primary surgeon for six, and may or may not be winning...)
So I'm crushed to miss the western ESA for the second year in a row. (Last year I had a prior engagement in Sun Valley.) I have had opportunity to teach clinics all over the world, on all kinds of levels, on myriad subjects, in every snow condition and terrain situation. From my point of view as a coach, the ESA provides as fine a learning environment and experience as can be found.
The best part about coaching skiing is how much the coach learns each time out. I always insist after each session that nobody has had more fun than I -- and I'm never exaggerating.
Given all these opportunities for enlightenment and epiphany (;-)), combine that with the curious nature and intellect of the typical ESA participant, and you've got a coach's wet dream.
That's why I'm so sorry I won't be rolling into Big Sky later this month -- a place I've never been BTW. But I'll be thinking about you. Have as much fun as I would have.
See you when the wind shifts.