by Tommy Kirchhoff
"Good mornin' Ralph."
"Mornin' George." We greeted with the usual "let's go make the donuts," morning-
routine hello. Both a little groggy, we headed off to work for the millionth
It was the exact same routine as always, but we both knew we weren't going
up to work. The fifth day of this cherubic, February storm would be a pleasant
end to a paycheck killing week.
Thirty inches of groomed powder sat silently on the race hill, with another
seven on top of that. The race department followed through the 45 minutes
of early morning company procedure - calling ski school, management, ski patrol,
sales points, grooming and girlfriends.
We battened down the hatches, then paddled down to Three and Four, trying
to come up with a chairlift plan. Up Three, down to Nine, over to six? Or
up Four, down to Five, over to Six? The latter seemed faster, and less populated.
Two people in the line for Four had fatties on, but as it turned out, they
went with plan "A."
We made it over to Six with no lift complications. We went up, crossing our
fingers that the valley stayed clear. Half way up, a K2 5500 came chunking
down Apex. We cringed a little bit, and waited to see the others. But no one
came. Six dumped us off, and it was empty. We looked up at the top of Nine;
it wasn't even running yet.
I remember hearing harps... We buckled down, dropped under the shack, and
bla, bla, bla down Allia's solid, thigh-deep dumpage. We reached the lift,
covered with white clumps, to exchange head buzzes, high fives and hives.
We jumped back on the lift and checked out tracks. My line, his line, his
line, my line. Yes! And still no one came.
We hit Allia's again - face shots, face plants and inverted landings. Two
full runs in utter privacy.
We headed back up the lift, and they started to come. A few hacks trickled
down Apex; a couple rippers skipped down Allia's; teliers and snowboarders
were squirting out of the trees all over the place.
The privacy was over, but it was just as much fun to watch them party down
and destroy our lines.
We unloaded from Six, hung a louie and sped down that little trail toward
Apex that has no name. We spontaneously launched off the trail onto Sullie's
and ripped, ripped, ripped.
For two hours, I told my boss how this had been the best skiing I'd ever
had. He was smiling beneath an icicled mustache, and telling me how letters
would have to be written that night. Midwestern boys in bonding.
Then after six or seven mindblowing, binding releasing runs, Gold Hill opened.We
were there when they pulled the closure. A Saturday. A scheduled work day.
A real bummer.
I had to stop twice on the hike. While the boss was jogging in place by
Electra, I was the out-of-shape jogger, standing there wincing and pinching
my left lovehandle.
We hiked to the Little Rose sign at 12-two, mounted up, and traversed over
to the boundary.
Yup, yup, yup. Right.
Words could never do it justice.
Both of us snorkeled down, completely drunk on Telluride champagne. You couldn't
even call it face shots. Every turn submerged us, down down through heavenly
clouds of angelic playland.
Beats the living hell out of the Midwest.