or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Priorities (long)

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
A thread in another forum got me thinking about my ski boots. I wear a pair of Lange X9's that I bought in Southern CA in 1994ish. I had to special order them because I have small feet and had them custom fitted after paying full price. At the time, they were very expensive. After wearing them for about 30 minutes on the mountain, I knew they were perfect. No other boot I'd worn had every felt that comfortable while delivering great performance.

A year later, I was living in Topanga, CA; a small town in the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu. Anyone who cycles in the Valley knows the town; it's a great place for road or mountain bikes. Anyway, we lived right at the top of Old Topanga Canyon Rd, surrounded by high desert forest. I worked in Torrance, about 40 miles away on the coast. One day when coming back from work, I saw a huge plume of black smoke up north. I arrived at my office and everyone told me that Topanga was on fire and I should go home NOW. I fought LA traffic and in about an hour was at the base of the mountain, stopped by the fire department. Acrid black smoke filled the air even though we were still 3 miles from the fire and ash fell like snow. I explained that my two dogs and all my things were in my house and told them where I lived. The fireman sadly told me that everything in that part of the mountain was destroyed. My wife worked on the other side of the mountain, in the Valley so I found a payphone and told her what was going on. She was on her cell and stopped by the Fire Department on the other side. I told her I was going to get the dogs. (By the way, I didn't like either of those damn dogs, but she did.)

I jumped back in my Jeep and hit the trails. I knew the terrain pretty well from mountain biking all over the place and managed to sneak my way back to the remains of my house. To my surprise, it was undamaged. Four houses sat near mine in a large draw and the Fire Department had set the fire break 75 yards from our front door and saved them all! I skidded into my driveway and jumped out. I grabbed my panicked dogs and shoved them in the back of the jeep. I ran into the house and the phone was ringing. It was my wife calling to see if I had made it. She was in the same spot but a neighbor was with her. The neighbor was in tears because her dog was in her house as well. I told them the houses were OK and I'd get her dog. She said "do whatever you have to." Hehe...gladly. Doing my best imitation of an action movie star, I ran though the smoke and ash to her house and kicked the double front doors. Ouch. Kicked again. Ouch. Body slam. OUCH...but the doors flew open. I put her dog in the car with mine. As I was doing that, a fire department jeep came up to the house and a blackened fireman got out. "GET OUT OF HERE!" he yelled. "The wind's shifting and this area will be gone in 2 minutes." He tore off and I looked up at the ridge and could see the tops of the flames. Yikes! I ran in the house and stood in the living room. I had 2 minutes to decide which of my possessions I wanted to keep and which I'd never see again.

I drove down into the valley and met my wife and neighbor. I told my story and they were both extremely relieved that I had gotten the dogs. My wife looked in the back of the car and then looked at me inquisitively. With a shake of her head, she reached in and pulled out the contents to show the neighbor what I had saved: Our wedding album and my ski boots.

We actually never did lose the house. The firebreak held and we were allowed to return to the area 2 days later. The fire burned for a week or so and everyone living on that mountain took turns watching the line of flames all night so we could have some warning if the wind shifted. To this day, in the beginning of each season when I'm clomping around the house in those teal boots, my wife looks at them and shakes her head.
post #2 of 9
shakin' her head at WHAT?

(great story, by the way.)
post #3 of 9

G R E A T story.
post #4 of 9
Great story,
I remember that fire. My sister lives in Santa Monica so we were watching the whole drama play out. Her Wedding was in the Topanga Canyon so I remember it well.
post #5 of 9
I'm crying my eyes out. That was SO beautiful! Thanks!

Be Braver in your body, or your luck will leave you. DH Lawrence
post #6 of 9
Dude, that's really good. I agree with the priorities though I hope you grabbed the boots before the wedding album. Are they foamed? You should send that to ski magazine or something. (Maybe add some photos of cute female firefighters covered w/black soot)
post #7 of 9
Not sure why but got a little teary myself.

Great story, thanks for the post.
post #8 of 9
Courage and a big heart! Very nice KevinH! I am sure the dogs appreciated that, as did you wife and neighbour.

As for the boots, I understand, but remember that with enough money, you can replace any equipment.

post #9 of 9
Personally I probably would have grabbed more photos (including valued ski photos) over equipment, but I've never had that much trouble getting boots to fit (my current pair were fine out of the box).
Good priorities--glad your house ended up OK.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Skiing Discussion