While writing last week’s article, a lot of old memories from our short time in Colorado came flooding back. As usual, plenty of those recollections won’t make it to print, and to censor them wouldn’t be fair to the factualness of the stories. But a few I can share.
The key to living in a ski town is to find a job that offers a free season ski pass as a benefit. I had several years of slope experience from many family trips to Minnesota and Colorado, and my dream was to become a ski instructor – a job that I soon realized wasn’t as glamourous as I had imagined.
Most of the time, I was relegated to the Kids Vacation Ski Center. My days were split between instruction, bathroom breaks, carrying equipment back and forth, assisting in getting ski gear on and off, eating dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets, and picking kids off the snow that were immobilized from their overdressed winter gear. A few times at the top of the mountain, one would seize up with fear, and I’d have to carry him or her down the run with their skis still clipped on their boots.
At night, I drove a shuttle bus for a resort. From 4:30 until 5:30 I would run a circle from a pick-up line at the Mountain back to the condos. Some of the vacationers needed help with their gear as well, whether they were that tired from a day of skiing in the altitude, or too much time during apres ski at Slopeside Bar & Grill. Once the run from the ski hill was finished, the guests of the resort would take the shuttle to various restaurants, shops, and activities downtown. Often times they would leave their leftovers as tips, which was much appreciated. Once, a nice couple left a pretty full doggy bag in the front seat for me. While I was waiting at the front door for my next clients, I started eating the food while still in the driver’s seat. Unfortunately, they didn’t mean to leave it as a tip, and the husband came back for it just as I was finishing their filet and orange duck. Oops.
When we visit Ski Town USA now, I wonder what kind of stories this generation of ski bums have to tell. Do they also have to share the apartment hot tub with the neighbor dog Red? Is the favorite nightly activity still sledding down a black diamond on the protective mat from the lift pole? And can locals still get a 24 oz. goblet of PBR from The Smokehouse for $1.00?