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From warm islands to cold highlands

Michael Appelgate
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
Michael Appelgate/The Aspen TimesCarolyn Flaherty and Steve Fisher pose in front of Aspen Mountain and their vehicle, the Maui Ski Bus, on Tuesday morning. Fisher and Flaherty visited No. 38 of 100 resorts on Monday, when they skied Buttermilk. They plan to hit Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass Thursday.
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ASPEN – Some people can’t stay away from white, powdered mountains and the excitement and joy of skiing.

Steve Fisher is one of those individuals.

The Maui resident and timeshare salesman is in the midst of a tour of 100 ski resorts across the continental U.S., which he began before Thanksgiving in Big Bear, Calif. On Monday, Fisher and his travel companion and girlfriend, Carolyn Flaherty, skied and snowboarded down Buttermilk for No. 38 of 100.

“I’m a frustrated ski bum living on a tropical island,” Fisher said. “I decided to combine the two of them and be a tropical ski bum.”

Fisher got the idea last year when his boss would not let him take time off to go skiing. This year, the man who grew up skiing in Michigan wasn’t about to take “no” for an answer.

“I told them I was going to take off and going skiing for the winter,” Fisher said. “They told me, ‘You’re crazy … we want to go.’ I didn’t know where I wanted to go, so I decided on 100 of them. I’m attempting to do 100, but it’s a tough season to do 100.”

He found an old airport bus on Craigslist and converted it into a camper. He painted the outside of it yellow and named it the Maui Ski Bus. Inside, the bus has space for four adults to sleep comfortably and is fitted with a bathroom and small kitchen. The floor of the bus is made out of different sands from the beaches of Maui, and the ceiling is a map of the U.S. and all the places Fisher and Flaherty have gone already.

Along for the ride are also two dogs: Franklin, a dachshund mix, and Gykaiya, a black Lab mix.

“The most impressive part of everything I’ve experienced is from the ski resorts themselves and what they have done to manage the snow,” Fisher said. “How they have been doing the grooming and snowmaking and making do with what they have is incredible.”

Fisher’s journey is sponsored by Fischer skis and other small companies he has picked up along the route. He says he also is being sponsored by more than 120 individuals. According to his mission statement on his blog, MauiSkiBus.com, he wants to encourage healthy living for young children and raise money for the Livestrong Foundation and the Maui United Way. Twenty percent of money he raises goes to those charities.

On his blog, he shares his experiences with the resorts and the people he meets there. According to Fisher, his blog has more than 100,000 hits so far.

His quest to visit 100 resorts in a single season is not the only bold venture Fisher has undertaken in his life. In 1997, he windsurfed from Los Angeles to Maui in 47 days, a world record. While his goal is daunting, Fisher and Flaherty are enjoying every moment of the journey.

“I’m going to go all the way to the end of April to make 100,” Fisher said. “If I have to hike, I’ll hike.”

Flaherty added, “You only live once. The opportunity to ski 100 resorts and see them is a chance of a lifetime.”

Fischer plans to ski down Ajax, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass today and then travel to Jackson Hole in Wyoming. They plan on going as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia, and eventually visit resort No. 100 in the Lake Tahoe area.

mappelgate@aspentimes.com


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