Ski Instructors Confidential
In the early days of Vail, there were never enough ladies’ rooms. Compounding the situation, the men’s rooms were always deserted. So, one of the dilemmas that I faced throughout the season was how to quickly attend to my basic needs and get back to my class within the allotted time.I had been “spoken to” about this in the past and had experimented with ways to correct the problem before it came up again during my annual review later that afternoon. After struggling with the problem, I finally came up with a satisfactory solution. I figured out that if I tore off my name tag, put my hair up under my hat, pulled my goggles down over my eyes, while pulling up my neck gaiter, I could disguise myself long enough to dash into the men’s room and head for one of the empty stalls. I managed to pull off this ruse for the majority of the season. That is, until one fateful day…Leaving the men’s restroom one afternoon, I went to dash out the door just as another instructor was coming in. Standing face to face, the other instructor somehow recognized me. Without hesitation, he yelled, “Gaylord? What the @#$%^ are you doing in the men’s room?” I froze like a deer in the headlights.Standing at the urinals, the ski school director and two of my supervisors craned their necks to see what all the commotion was. Taking a moment to zip himself up, the director walked up to me before I could escape and said, “Uh, Katie. See you at 4:00?” Katie GaylordVail, Colo.
At the beginning of the week, I was booked for a private lesson with Adele, a sophisticated, middle-age woman hailing from the South. She progressed quite well and we continued to ski Vail Mountain for the rest of the week.On Friday, she and her traveling companions were in the mood for something different, so we agreed to drive over to Beaver Creek and spend the day on their intermediate slopes. At the end of the day, while I was leading her down Latigo, the sun rapidly dipped below the horizon, sending deep, cold shadows across the front of the mountain. Arriving at the top of a relatively steep face, Adele suddenly froze, losing all of the confidence she had accumulated from the week before.”Steve, Steve, ‘ah can’t move,” she screamed down at me.Exasperated, I yelled back up to her, “Adele, you’ve got to come down. It’s getting dark and the mountain is going to close.”Once again, Adele screamed down at me, “Steve, Steve, ‘ah can’t move. ‘ahm stuck. ‘ahm froze up!”Just about this time, a group of 10 snowcats rounded the corner behind her and started to descend Latigo with their sirens blaring and lights flashing. I screamed up at her, “Adele, come on, the snowcats are coming.” Glancing behind her with a look of terror, Adele instantly dropped down into a tuck position and shot straight down the face, blowing past me where I was waiting for her.Since that day, Adele has become one of my most treasured clients, skiing with me at least once a year. But she still accuses me of calling Mountain Operations to have a posse of snowcats chase her off Beaver Creek Mountain. Stephen DeGroatVail, Colo.These stories were taken from “Ski Instructors Confidential: The Stories Ski Instructors Swap Back At The Lodge,” a collection of more than 160 tales from ski teachers around the country. The book, compiled by freelance writer and ski instructor Allen Smith of Vail, is not in stores yet, but can be purchased at http://www.snowwriter.com, or by calling 1-800-201-7892, ext. 97. The book is $12.95, plus $4.95 for shipping and handling.
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Friends of Colorado Avalanche Information Center has contributed to the state’s avalanche center for several years to help with forecasting for backcountry visitors. It cannot hold in-person fundraisers this year so its asking supporters to sign up for an annual membership.