lady-Salina, Old Boot, deliberate1 & Mrs. 1, Indyhokie , Vail snopro, Bazzer Jr., (a.k.a. The Kid,) Bazzer
Aletha, Patrolman Rob, The Ragin’ South Africans, soon to be Mrs. Indyhokie, Miami José and his two kids
Missing in action
SkiNebraski and his posse of ripping flatlanders, Jon Wills
Mrs. B. drops The Kid and I off at the airport at 6:00 AM on Valentines Day. Bribed her with a nice bouquet the night before, so missing the holiday was not a MAJOR blemish on my domestic record.
Find that our 8:00 AM flight has been canceled at the last minute, but are rushed onto a direct flight to Denver at 6:55. Arrive in Denver much earlier than planed. Way cool. Run into my old friend José and his two children, (his son is the same age as B. Jr., and they’ve been friends since before they had teeth,) at the airport. They’ll be skiing at Vail for 4 days so we make plans to hook up for turns. Also way cool. Pick up our bag of clothing and The Kid’s skis at the luggage carousel. Bump into another pair of old friends. Nice idle chatter. However, due to flight change, my skis are not in Denver. Check with convenient self-help baggage tracking computer confirms that my trusty Dynastar Mythic Riders are indeed safe, and are on their way to either Denver or Lima, Peru. An hour of bureaucratic maneuvering will hopefully arrange their delivery to me sometime before the end of this decade.
Hop in rental car, drive fast, stop to put fuel into The Kid, arrive in Vail, exchange pleasantries with hosts, grab groceries, and head off to Bart and Yeti’s for my first meeting with Vail snopro. Unbelievably friendly and vivacious, he’s also really big. I mean almost NFL linebacker or strength and conditioning coach big. Handsome too. More on VSP later. Stop and arrange demo of Dynastar Mythic Pro to replace my skis, which are presumably on their way to South America.
Miracle of the cell-phone puts me in touch with lady-Salina and her other half, Old Boot. This pair of transplanted Canadians has never been to Vail before, so B. Jr. and I pick them up in our rental car, show them around town a bit, then have a bit of Southern BBQ with them before turning in. On the way back to our hovel, The Kid and I are way-layed by a flock of young South African temp-workers. Teach the enthusiastic youths a bit about whisky drinking, lie about my life for a while, and then grab a wee bit of sleep.
White trees bode well riding up Game Creek
The next six days went by in kind of a blur. It’s been a little while and I can’t keep the days, names, and other particulars straight. Following are some random photographs, a bit of commentary, and what little I can recall of a tremendous week in Vail.
Rob & Aletha want to get some.
The Kid and I spent our first day together with our old friend Aletha, and ex-Vail-patroller Rob. Got right to the goods and hit Seldom as soon as the rope drops in the back bowls. Lots of sun, soft snow, and smooth turns get The Kid whipped by mid-day, so he stops for fuel. I don’t.
The Kid makes a turn
Then decided to straightline to conserve his sharp edges
Old Boot and lady Salina are either a match made in heaven or a couple that deserves each other. It’s a matter of conjecture or your perspective. In any case, they are a dynamic, friendly, and overwhelmingly good-natured husband and wife skiing tag team whose love and sense of joy is incredibly infectious, and it was my sincere pleasure and good fortune to spend parts of several days in their company. Oh yeah. They are also instructors and do not in any way stink to ski with.
lady-Salina with her Diane Keaton headband breezes through soft, little bumps.
Old Boot plows through a few inches of fresh...
but sometimes tires early. No worries. Smoke em if you got em.
Indyhokie made the trip over Vail Pass from Breckenridge to hang for a day, and I’m glad that he made the effort. A smart, fit young man, (engaged to marry too,) Indy’s propensity to follow others down almost any trail on the mountain belies his obvious good sense and strong intellect. Perhaps that’s how he got to ski so well in such a short time. He got to spend a bit of time with VSP, and that’s a good thing for any skier.
Old Boot show Indyhokie how it's done.
Indy drops in.
deliberate1 has been skiing for more years than I’ve been shaving. Look at the photos though, and it’s obvious that I’m an advocate of closer shaves. A Mainer, he and his lovely were making their first trip to ski in The West, and he’s never had the chance to ski pow before. I’m witness to his loss of virginity. Amen.
deliberate1 gets a taste of first tracks.
Then asks for some more
Mrs.1 makes what I believe is her first ever foray into fresh powder.
Looks as if she liked it.
Vail snopro is an inhabitant of the most rarefied of ski stratum. I don’t think that I’ve ever had the chance to ski with someone with skills that surpass his. He is in my estimation a consummate professional. His Epicski moniker “snopro” is by all means superbly apt. He’s also a ton of fun to spend time with, on the hill or off of it, and a class act. ANYONE interested in taking a lesson could not wish for a finer instructor.
VSP moves kind of fast on the hill, and I only had a point and shoot camera. Managed to make one blurry shot of him in motion.
He does however like beautiful women, so I look for some bait...
And get VSP to hold still for just long enough to grab a shot.
lady-Salina moves fast too.
Old Boot, ever the helpful companion, helps clarify a subtle aspect of alignment to deliberate1 with his usual grace and suave dignity.
Somewhere in the mix, The Kid took a pair of lessons and spent a day skiing with his friend from home.
Bazzer Jr. checks out the line he just skied on Resolution, a favorite run of ours in Blue Sky Basin.
I was supposed to meet SkiNebraski and his gang on my first day for some thrills at the Stone Creek Chutes at Beaver Creek, but he did not respond to my call the night before we were going to hook up. I trust that he’s okay, but I’ve not heard from him since we first made plans several weeks ago. Upon my return home, I looked up his profile on Epic and noted that his last post was on Feb. 5th. If anyone’s been in touch with Ski, please let me know if he’s okay. Wandering Briton Jon Wills had tentative plans to make the trip to Vail from Breck, but circumstances caused him to alter his plans. Such is life.
Traveling skiers, SCUBA divers, and fishermen often spend many months fantasizing about their upcoming trips. Then, upon their arrival at far-flung and eagerly anticipated destinations, are often times met by conditions that are disappointing in relation to their hoped for expectations. The locals refrain to these somewhat dismayed travelers can often be similar to the phrase, “You should have been here last week. The fishing/skiing/diving was just spectacular.” Well, for those six days at Vail, I WAS there last week, and all was grand.