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ski trip from hell

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well, once again it's that time of year for planning.....

Who's had a ski trip that was just so ridiculously bad and fraught with misadventure that only the span of time has allowed you to look back on it and laugh?
post #2 of 14
The year was 1994. I was married in April of 1993 and was looking forward to introducing my wife to skiing. The introduction was not going to be easy. Throughout dating, she made it abundantly clear that she didn't like cold weather, didn't like heights, and hated the thought of being on ice. Nonetheless, she was willing to give it a try. From April through October, I searched for the perfect ski resort -- A resort that had good beginner areas, a good ski school, and plenty of other things to do in case she hated skiing. The time was pre-internet for me, so it was the good old fashion kind of research that took forever.

Ultimately, I came up with Beaver Creek. Much more money than I wanted to spend, but this was the trip that would make her fall in love with skiing, so I was willing to go broke. As if Beaver Creek wasn't expensive enough, my wife, being a non-skier, had no gear whatsoever. She needed everything from toe to head and full rental equipment.

Six months of planning and eating peanut butter and jelly for lunch finally past and we were off to Beaver Creek. We landed at Eagle on a Saturday afternoon and were taken to the Hyatt, where we checked in. My wife had a little cold, which I didn't want to get worse, so we took it easy that night rather than party. I thought to myself, "Hey, we've got seven days. If we have to skip tomorrow because she's sick, that'd be fine. I'm sure she'll let me sneak in a few runs." We had dinner and returned to the hotel.

By the time we settled down to bed, I was beginning to feel a little strange. And then a little more strange. Before long, I was in the bathroom as nauseous as I've ever been. Then came the fever. My wife bought a thermometer and took my temperature. 102 degrees. Not looking good.

My wife went down to hotel store to get me some water. When she got back, she thought I was asleep. She touched my head to see if I still had my fever. At this point, I don't remember much of what happened. According to my wife,my fever had gone up to 104.5 and I was completely out of it. My wife said I couldn't answer questions and was drifting in and out of sleep/consciousness.

The next thing I remember, I looked up and there were six fireman in full uniform in my room. According to my wife, she had called the front desk for a doctor and they had called the ambulance. My next memory was being wheeled through the lobby of the hotel in my jammies on a stretcher, smack dab through a black tie event that was being held in the lobby.

I was taken to the emergency room at the Vail Valley Medical Center. My wife was left in the lobby for at least 90 minutes with no information. Finally, a nurse came out and said, "You can go back and see him now. Oh! And don't let the blood scare you, we had a little trouble getting the I.V. in." My wife said my hospital room looked like a scene out of a horror movie, as my sheets were covered with blood.

The next day, my fever was down in the 101 degrees range and they let me go. I rested that day. Still sick and way too weak to even think about skiing, we flew back the next day.

Six months of planning; six thousand dollars and I didn't so much as touch a freakin' snowflake.

[On the plus side, the hyatt refunded us all of our unused nights. In addition, I found out later that a hyatt employee volunteered to drive me to the hospital (which was about 30 minutes away) so I didn't have to take an ambulance. They even picked me up from the hospital the next day. I've been a Hyatt fan ever since.]

[ October 29, 2002, 07:21 PM: Message edited by: Skidmo ]
post #3 of 14
Heeey I think I used to date the same girl
post #4 of 14
and I thought being stuck in the chairlift at keystone halfway up the mountain with no trees to block the wind on about the coldest day you can imagine, you know wind howling gray sky no sun , it doesn't take long not moving to get cold, oh yeah lets see the rest of the party is packing the condo as we have to leave for the airport but I always have to sneak in the last runs, so after sitting for 2 hours freezing & begging the ski patrol for a rope to climb down on they finally get the thing going so I go to the top they offer for us to go in the lift hut to get warm - no time, then they give us a coupon called mountain money, don't know what its worth but I still have it, then I get to slide down the mountain for the last time no fun because I'm freezing & out of time, duck the rope change in the parking lot head for the airport, bad thing is if I had been late & not the first one in line I would have been skiing, when this lift broke they fired up the next one over so while I sat & froze for 2 hours I got to watch everyone else get in my last turns, so lets see wasted a lift ticket, froze, almost made us late for the plane, all in one day, now I just can't wait to go back [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #5 of 14
Originally posted by Skidmo:
[QB]Six months of planning; six thousand dollars and I didn't so much as touch a freakin' snowflake.
I was just sitting here thinking...


2 plane tickets:
1200 total TOPS

2 nights in hotel:
1200 total TOPS if you're right on the mountain, i'm erroring high.

500 bucks if you spend a lot

getting her gear 500 bucks.

this all equals 3500, and that's all erroring way high.

I'm all about cheap, so my whole 5 day trip cost $515. You coulda not been extravigant if you wanted to save money.

Taht does suck though, man I'd be fricken pissed!
post #6 of 14
Last March 2002 my wife and I had our prepaid trip to Big White all planned out and talk about total snafu. NO KIDDING, the week before I told my wife I got this strange sense of dread about the ski trip although I was dying to get there. Anyhow everything is going fine and we even leave the gate 5 min early on Air Canada and we're thinking wow, smooth. 15 min into the flight the plane starts to vibrate and lurch and I'm telling my wife that's not a normal vibration. She doesn't agree until she sees flight attendants running around with this anxious look on their faces. Captain comes on and says we lost #2 , don't sweat it, the emergency vehicles next to the runway are just a precaution. No big deal. But then they make us wait for 2 hours on the plane in Hawaii heat with one cup of water. To add spice to the mix they open a door for some air and send a lady into a severe asthma attack from exhaust fumes from a nearby jet. Me and 2 other MDs stabilize her till the ambulance can remove her. So off we go again heading out to Canada when near the same spot there goes the plane again, vibrating and tilting. My wife says "see, I told you that was normal, it's happening again". #2 farts out again and we return to Honolulu. I spend hours on the phone changing my connections and accomodation arrangements only to have the flight crew show up one hour late the next day which leads to another delay which blows my itinerary all to Hell again. To make a long story short I never got to Canada despite hours at the airport on 2 days, two check ins and baggage retrievals, and big bucks and vacation time down the toilet. The best part was the Air Canada gate agent giving me grief the second day as if it were my fault that my trip was screwed up. No fun. skidoc
post #7 of 14
This thread is depressing me. I was fed up with planning trips every year, lining things up, spending butt loads of money, traveling long distances, yada yada yada..... So I quit my job, sold what I could, rented a U-haul, broke up with the girlfriend (in that order) and moved to Aspen. Now if my ski day is going downhill (no pun intended0 [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] , I'm feeling sick, or the conditions suck.. I cruise home or to the bar and wait until the next day
post #8 of 14
Originally posted by skidoc:
Last March 2002 my wife and I had our prepaid trip to Big White all planned out and talk about total snafu. NO KIDDING, the week before I told my wife I got this strange sense of dread about the ski trip although I was dying to get there. Anyhow everything is going fine and we even leave the gate 5 min early on Air Canada and we're thinking wow, smooth... skidoc
I remember this story. Can you dig up the thread with your ill-fated efforts to get reimbursed by Air Canada?
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by thexcop:
This thread is depressing me.
Never had a ski trip that wasn't fun somehow, but i've gotten close:

One was with a group of 4 friends the 2nd year of college:
Stayed at a hostel in Steamboat. Everyone immediately came down with the flu, so the bathroom was constantly occupied. Colorado went thru the coldest spell on record - summit county shut all ski areas down for two days. We were at the top of Vail - Far east - when the patrol told us the mountain had closed and they needed to escort everyone down -- (-29 degrees with a wind chill factor <no joke> reaching -80 degrees farenheit with the severe winds). One of the patrol fell on the way down and while we helped him get his equipment together I could literally see the frostbite & hypothermia set in on him. The snow was so cold at MaryJane that it bound to our ski bottoms like crazy glu - wax was useless. Two of us had a 3-day pass at Steamboat taken away from us for skiing too fast...? The door of our bunkroom froze so solid over one night we had to bang on the neighbor rooms wall to get the management to chop us out with a hatchet. One of our group was skitching behind our car on the way home from a bar and, well, we unfortunately forgot about him till we got back to the hostel - 20 years later he's still not speaking to us. Out of 5 people, we had 1 broken wrist, a dislocated knee, one burned-off eyebrow, and one set of bruised ribs from slamming into a tree. And we almost completely totalled our rental car near Kremmling when the road disappeared in a sheet of white mailstorm coming back from A Basin late at night. What a great trip anyway!
post #10 of 14
James, to update you I spent hours on the phone with their "ombudsman" and it really was like trying to get blood from a stone. He was as objective as one could be when you consider he is paid by Air Canada. After months of back and forth as to what would be fair he finally gave me what I had asked for from the start. While he was polite and helpful I would liken the process to trying to buy a car with both sides VERY far apart. He acted as if I wanted the car for free and he acted as if full sticker price and free floor mats was a good deal. skidoc
post #11 of 14
One of the more popular travel magazines (I think it's Conde Nast) has a weekly column called Ombudsman. People write in with horror stories, many very similar to yours, and he contacts the offending airline, hotel, or travel firm. Because they don't want such high-profile negative press, they usually go out of their way to settle both quickly and generously.

Sounds like you could have used the (Conde Nast, as opposed to AC's) Ombudsman's help. Funny, I wouldn't have figured Air Canada to be so niggardly with compensation, but they've been losing boatloads of money for so many years, so who knows...
post #12 of 14
Just though I would add my story from hell,

It was a typical Australian winter, bugger all snow, but the weekend had been paid for months in advance so we thought what the hell we'll go anyway and drink ourselves stupid with our friends. My car had been playing up so I got the other half’s brand new car and had some new roof racks fitted by a shop that is supposedly specializes in roof racks. Being a gutter-less car my suspicions about the strength of their grip were aroused. The day was as windy as hell, and forecast to get much worse with thunderstorms and squalls forecast.

The plan was to take up the rock hoppers, but I loaded the brand new fisher's anyway as I though I would drop them off at our ski club at Mt Buller on the way home. After a bad day at work, we left a couple of hours late, and the storms were getting worse but we left anyway. Just leaving Melbourne the winds on the road was unbelievable, the car was almost being lifted up and moved sideways. At this moment a semi-trailer decided to pass us, it was then that the entire roof racks; fittings and all decided to blow completely off the roof of the car. I look behind us to see the skis and roof racks smash into the trunk of the car (they put a huge dint in the trunk, on a 1 week old car) onto the road and then blow into the front of another semi trailer (lucky it wasn't a car as it would have gone through the windscreen).

My other half who was driving refused to believe this, but I made her pull over, as we had to get all the junk off the road. The wind was getting stronger, and we could hardly stand up. We walked back down the highway towards the point where everything blew off. As we approached we could hear a strange vibrating noise, as we got close we could see that this was caused by the steady stream of traffic running over my brand new skis! As we got closer a truck hit one of the old rock skis and sent it hurtling past us at about 100kph (60mph) missing us by about 2 feet. It was at this point I thought it was time to report the accident to the local cops, and boy have I never been so happy to see them, and handball the job of cleaning up the mess. The cop told us there was nothing we could do, so keep going and drop back on the way home, and find out if there were any damage reports from people hitting our gear. (Fortunately there were none.)

We got back onto the highway and kept going, about 15 minutes later the lightning storm of a lifetime turned up, it starting raining so hard that you couldn't see the front of the hood of the car, so we pulled over to the side of the road. We weren't alone I have never seen so many cars pulled up on the side of highway, even semi trailers were stopping it was so bad. Considering we were already spooked by the roof racks this was making it worse. Eventually the rain eased and we were able to keep going. The rain was bearable and the lightning and thunder never went away, the lightning put on an incredible light show all the way to the mountain. As we pulled into the hotels car park, it stopped raining and started hailing as hard as I've ever seen, in 10 minutes the road went from black to 6 inches deep in hail. After the hail stopped I moved the car to the overnight car park, what an experience driving a 2-wheel drive buzz box through the hail-covered road.

Any way from that point onwards the weekend wasn't too bad, as there was bugger all snow, the skiing was crap, but plenty of beer and rum so I was about as happy as I could be considering the trip we had had.

When we got back we approached the roof rack guys to follow up. After reading the roof racks manual they didn't recommend them for snowboards or skis (some experts!). Basically they blew us off, and told us to take it up with the national distributor of the product. To cut a long story short they blew us off too, so we took them to the small claims tribunal... eight months later, the day before the hearing, they eventually they coughed up for the repairs to the car, replaced the new skis, and refunded us the cost of the roof racks. Just in time for our trip to Canada for the epic snow of 98/99. So I guess it all ends up OK, if you are prepared to stand up for yourself.
post #13 of 14
Ha. I love these stories.

Skidmo, what in the world did you have? DCB, yours is my constant nightmare - I've never had it happen, but I've also never really trusted roof racks and cringe every time the wind blows hard.

Here's mine. It's a backcountry trip, but I think it qualifies.

In March of '74, two college friends and I decided to take a winter skiing/camping trip into the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. We were all from Iowa.

This was long before telemark gear became popular, so we had rail-thin cross country skis and skimpy little cross country shoes. None of us could actually *ski* on that stuff, but for some reason it seemed like a good idea at the time.

We drove to Buffalo, WY, in my Dodge Polara (big, heavy, 2-wheel drive, REAR-wheel drive boat) and headed up a pass through the mountains on Highway 16. Gorgeous, sunny spring morning in the Rockies, right?

We reached the gravel road that led to our trailhead and there was *no* snow anywhere in sight. So rather than leaving the car at the highway and hiking from there, we kept right on driving up the gravel road through big, open grassy meadows. If this were a Greek tragedy, this would be fatal error number one.

Three miles of gravel later, we came to the actual trailhead. Parked the car, loaded up the gear, and took off up the mountain.

As we climbed, the snow got deeper and it got prettier and all was well. Sun out, great snow, wonderful trip. We set up camp in some pine trees next to a pretty lake with some beautiful untracked, north-facing glades and spectacular peaks. Late in the afternoon, we went "skiing", which basically consisted of going into the fall line on our flimsy gear, trying to make a turn any way we could, diving over the tips of our skis, doing egg-beaters in the powder, and cackling like idiots.

That night, we ate supper, planned our next-day assaults on the big peaks above, and crawled in our sleeping bags.

When we woke up the next morning, the roof of our tent was sagging practically to our noses. It had snowed about over a foot and was still snowing. Cool! Fresh, deep powder!

So, we're sitting around the campstove eating breakfast and the same thought occurs to all three of us at the same instant:

"If it's snowing up here, you don't suppose it's snowing down where the CAR is, do you???"

"Uhhh. Maybe not. There wasn't ANY snow at all down there yesterday."

"Yeah, you're right.... still, maybe we should go check?"

"Yeah, maybe we should."

So, we put on our skis, leave the camp (fatal error number two), and spend about a hour flailing down the trail to the car until we come out of the trees to the car. Sure enough, there's about a foot of snow on top of the car and there's a vast, empty wasteland that looks like the wind-blown steppes of Russia between our car and the highway.

We get the car pointed toward the highway and I start driving downward. My friends are walking in front, shuffling their feet to try to find the gravel of the road. We go this way for about an hour and get all the way to a little creek crossing a quarter of a mile from the highway. Between there and the highway is a little hill. I try to drive up the rise and bog down halfway. No traction, snow's too deep, shoveling doesn't get us anywhere. We're stuck.

The only alternative seems to be a tow truck, so we hike to the snow-covered highway and stick out our thumbs for a ride back down to Buffalo. A pickup truck coming down the pass pulls to a stop on the traveled portion of the highway (and here's strike three). One friend gets in the passenger side and I hop in the bed. As my other friend is starting to climb over the tailgate, I see a car barrelling downhill at us, wheels locked, full skid, hands clamped to the steering wheel. *Just* before she clips our rear-end, my friend gets over the tailgate and we get whacked.

Our pickup gets knocked about twenty feet and the car goes sailing over the shoulder and down the hill about fifty yards, coming to a stop in some brush and a creekbed. Thankfully, nobody's hurt, but now we've got two more people riding in the back of the (damaged) truck.

By the time all this has transpired, it's fairly late in the afternoon. We all pull into a big service station on I-25 in Buffalo and tell our sad tale. The station owner decides it's too late in the day to try to pull out both cars, so he tells us to spend the night in a motel and come back first thing in the morning. He heads up to pull the other car out of the creekbed.

We show up early the next morning (bright, beautiful, sunny spring day) and find the owner. Conversation goes something like this:

"WHERE is you boys' car, again?"

"Just up the Storm Lake trailhead road from where it meets the highway."

"WHAT were you doing there?"

"Ski camping trip."

"And you drove a TWO-WHEEL-DRIVE car up to a trailhead in the mountains in the MIDDLE OF THE WINTER???"

"Well, there wasn't any snow when we drove UP there."

Long, uncomfortable silence.

"Where you boys from?

"Uhhh, Iowa."

"Damn flatlanders," he said, with the most dripping disgust I've ever heard in my life.

We hung our heads in shame.

He then tells us he likely needs to use the semi-tractor wrecker to get us out, and he thinks he'll probably need two more sets of chains so he'd have chains on all the tires. He has to drive to Sheridan to get chains that big, so we wait for an hour and a half 'til he gets back, and then we head up the mountain.

We find the road and help him put all the chains on and then he starts backing toward the car, which is just below a little rise. He gets to the top of the rise and decides he might not be able to get his truck and our car up the hill if he backs down to us. Great.

Then, he looks around and spots one pine tree. The only tree for five hundred yards in any direction. He figures out that if he attaches his front cable to the tree, backs as far down the hill as the cable will let him, and then runs his rear cable as far as it will go, it *just* reaches the car. Eureka!

The car is rescued and back to the highway. We ask him how much. We're all very poor at that point, and we're envisioning this massive towing bill.

He says, "Well, fellas, let's see. I had to go buy the chains. That took awhile. We had to drive all the way up here. It took about an hour to get you out... How's $35 sound?"

We were floored. We were expecting the bill to be *hundreds* of dollars. Paid him, tipped him, thanked him profusely, and watched him drive down the road.

Of course, at that point our trip wasn't over. We had brilliantly left our camp way up the mountain. So, we slogged for hours back up to the camp. Dug everything out of the snow, loaded up the snowy junk, and then slogged all the way back to car.

And then we *still* had to drive back across Nebraska.

What a trip.

post #14 of 14
LOL.........you want the ski trip from hell? well trip being the operative word, let begin.

ok, Colin and family fly off with a well known budget airline from London Luton - Barcelona Spain, taxi into Barcelona city centre to collect a hire car from the same comp that operates the airline. (no problems so far) We unfortunately get a little lost trying to excape the clutches of a very busy Barcelona during mid afternoon.

Eventually we manage to locate the correct road and head off to our destination of Andorra....."Dad we're thirsty"
So we stop at a motorwat service area at a place called Montserrat, duly refreshed we head back to our car....shock horror, windows smashed and every single case, boot bag, ski jacket stolen :-( yikes, not a good start, there we are in only the clotes we're stod in, two kids 11 and 8 are distraught.

Local Plod are summoned (thats cops to my american friends) but unlike in civilised countries, the Spanish have three differing police forces, each responsible for varying laws and offences.

They fill in a report and then direct us to the next town, Manresa, this being to complete the neccessary insurance documentation. After an hour of trying to find the correct police station, my wife luckily manages to attract the attention of the local drunk, he directs to the correct station and we complete the required forms.

So 4 hours after leaving Barca, we head off to Andorra, minus windows and suffering extreme cold (9.00pm) Unfortunately the car hire company would not attend and replace the windows as the car was still mobile (thx Mercedes)

We arrive in the resort, tired, upset and very,very cold. The next day is spent playing hammer the credit cards, new clothes, new ski gear, new everything. The holiday itself was great, and we didn't think things could get any worse (how wrong was I)

On the day of our return, the UK had a dusting of snow, this led to Luton Airport and a few others closing. Anyway we made our way back to Barcelona, got rid of hire car and made our way to the airport. As we walked through the main doors we were greeted with a queue that must of stretched 100metres at the EasyJet info desk. So we joined the queue, eventually we were told that our flight should be ok, as it wasn't due to depart until 11.45pm that evening, but if it was cancelled we would be allocated seats on the same flight 24 hours later.

Time passes, I phoned England, unable to get through to Luton Airport etc........eventually our flight was cancelled, we said ok, we'll take the flights tomorrow !!!!!!!! at this point the ticket clerk looks a little sheepish, "Sir there is only one seat on that flight"

"Ok when can you get us home"?

"Ummmmmmmm, the first seat available are in 3 days time"

"your having a laugh"?

"No Sir, I'm telling you the truth"

Can you imagine how we felt? robbed, no passports, no tickets, no clothes and now destitute in Spain !!!!!!!!

At this point Wifey flips, Colin, we are going home today !!!!!!!!!! We then search for an airline prepared to take us home with no passports, not an Easy task.

Step forward Iberia Airline, the national carrier of Spain.

So I ask for 4 singles to London Heathrow, "Sir its cheaper to buy return ticket (as if I wanna go back) Anyway I agree to buy 4 tickets, she prints the Credit card slip and presents me with a bill that looks like the population of China (£960) or $1440
To be honest I'd of paid whatever it cost to get home.

So we go to check in, hand in my tickets and the girl tells me that I can go home on the strength of the police report being in my name, but my wife and kids would have to stay in Spain until they had new passports (kids start to cry) Colin's not happy now, and pleads with her to let him take his family home.
After she consults with her superior, they agree to take up, wahooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

We board the plane and we all let out a sigh of relief. Son ask me......"Dad do we have to pay for food and drinks" ?
No son, we have shares in the damn thing now lol

On arriving at London Heathrow we are faced with one more slight problem, the car is sitting at Luton !!!!!!!!
Here we go again, £85 ($127) is invested in a taxi to be reunited with our car. No, no other bad fortune was experienced.

So if anybody says they had a nightmare ski trip, show them this, its 100% genuine and to be honest I've omitted some of the smaller problems out of it lol.
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