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Chasing the dream

Joel Stonington
Kelly Hayes skis at Aspen Mountain on Thursday morning. Hayes planned to surf later in the day at Waikiki in Hawaii but missed a connecting flight. (Joel Stonington/The Aspen Times)
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The plan: have a delicious breakfast, ski Ruthie’s on Ajax, fly to Denver, fly to Honolulu, surf on Waikiki beach, chill out at the Halekulani resort and enjoy a mai tai.Kelly Hayes was sitting in Montagna at Little Nell at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, enjoying a breakfast of lemon soufflé pancakes with raspberry syrup, smoked bacon, fresh orange juice and hot coffee. “You can surf and ski in one day in places like California,” Hayes said, chomping down on pancakes. “But Aspen and Waikiki are such iconic surf and ski spots, probably the most famous in America, and 3,232 miles apart.”

Hayes is a lighthearted, middle-aged man who lives in Old Snowmass. He just wanted to have some fun with a vacation. It seemed like a cool thing to do, so he figured what the heck, might as well go for it. “It’s just whimsical,” he said. “I don’t know if anyone’s done it before.”After breakfast, he walked out toward the gondola in a dark one-piece, ready to cruise up the hill for first tracks on the corduroy with ski patrolman Dan Roman.

“What I really wanted to do was take Ruthie’s,” Hayes said. So after a quick interview with Plum TV, he headed over to Buckhorn, traversed to Ruthie’s Run, scooted down Summer Road and Strawpile.It was just after Strawpile, heading toward Little Nell, when he said, “Absolutely gorgeous day, isn’t it?”He had a pleased look, and truly the morning was as bluebird as it could be – but not bluebird enough, evidently.

Later, Hayes’ United flight 5337 sat on the runway at Sardy field for 35 minutes because of wind, with Hayes sweating bullets. The flight arrived in Denver at the exact departure time of the flight he needed to make in order to hit Honolulu with enough time to surf. “Missed it by that much,” he said.Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com


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