On the Hill: Of adaptation
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Sometimes it catches the lesser-developed of us off guard. And while this has always been the case, now seems more confusing than ever. But we adapt. Heeleys, basically ski boots with wax on them, were victims of natural selection in the mountain- traverse food chain, for instance.
I find myself constantly modifying my on-mountain decorum, such as lift etiquette. To wit, sometimes I leave my iPod earbuds in. Why listen to the juvenile banter of teens when I could be elevating my intellect through Tenacious D?
Other times, such as on the Cloud Nine lift recently, I know enough to take them out. A guy in the single line had zoomed in to join me and another skier, also a stranger. He had wild gray hair sticking out from his ski cap and goggles. He smiled broadly. I tucked the mini-jute box away.
As we rose through the pristine day, his Bavarian accent carried the story of how he ended up in Aspen some 40 years ago. He said he came here after the town and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, became sister cities in 1966. He traveled here, saw Aspen, went home and settled his affairs, and moved here.
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The lift, for once, was moving too quickly. I asked about the mundane: What did he do? He owned a small con struction company, but after his present job, nothing was on the horizon, he said. We discussed the recession. “Plan on keeping my head down for a while,” he said.
He asked about us. “Oh, with Mary Hayes, huh,” he said after I told him what I do.
He wished us a great day of skiing as the end approached. How often do you ski? I asked. Oh, every day. A run or two at lunch. We disembarked. I had more questions.
But there was no way to keep up. He was quickly out of my view, skate-skiing with feline grace and ease, in an environment he had taken to long ago.
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