Pebbles in the pond |

Pebbles in the pond

The Vail Daily

VAIL ” Seeing the Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld in a green-and-purple ski jacket at Golden Peak Lodge likely caused more than a few double takes by some the masses skiing Vail Mountain on Saturday morning.

Rumsfeld met with Iraq war amputee veterans skiing Vail Mountain as part of Vail Veterans Week. He skied with the vets Saturday.

“They have to be special people to do what they do regularly in their lives,” Rumsfeld said. “They are so ready to try things out and do something else.”

Rumsfeld and his wife, Joyce, posed for a group photo with the veterans, their families and the ski instructors who have been working with the vets since Thursday.

“We’re just so grateful to the Vail community and [Vail Veterans Week organizer] Cheryl [Jensen] for all they have done,” Rumsfeld said. “The instructors are truly wonderful.”

The veterans will go home after skiing, and their ripple effect will inspire other amputee veterans to try activities that may have seemed off-limits to them, he said.

“It’s like dropping a pebble in a pond,” he said.

The event also makes the vets feel appreciated, Rumsfeld said. “They take with them confidence and a real understanding about the fact that the American people appreciate them,” he said.

Rumsfeld, who also worked under President Gerald Ford in the 1970s, a longtime Vail Valley resident, described himself as an OK skier.

“I like to go fast as opposed to look good,” Rumsfeld said.

Backcountry avalanche danger in the Roaring Fork Valley is moderate above and below treeline.

Watch NW-N-NE aspects above treeline. Below treeline, watch sunnier aspects, especially southwest, midday to afternoon. Some major factors in assessing avalanche terrain are slope angle, aspect and elevation. Current conditions illustrate how important it is to keep these factors in mind.

Avalanche danger details provided by the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center. For more information, call 920-1664 or visit For conditions around the state, visit

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