Ski Stories From the lodge
The Foggy Mountain Disappearing ActOne day I was relaxing in the base lodge on a day where a thick shroud of fog blanketed the top of the mountain. Recognizing my ski instructor uniform, a non-skiing gentleman walked up to me and asked, “Excuse me sir. Can I ask you a question?”I said, “Sure, go right ahead.””I’ve been watching all those people ride that chair thing up into the fog. And I notice that all of the chairs on the other side of the cable seem to be coming back down empty. What happened to all of those folks?”I did my best to maintain the seriousness of the moment and said, “Well, you see all of those people skiing down the hill?” He nodded yes, that he had. “Well, that’s them. That chairlift takes them up to the top of the mountain and then they get off so that they can ski down.”He backed off, and then looked at me as if I was trying to sell him some Nevada beachfront property. Desperately trying to understand “the joke,” he walked off shaking his head.”Getting off at the top. Heh, heh, heh. That’s a good one.” Mark A. AndersonCannonsburg Ski Area, Mich.A Lesson in Animal LifeOne of the many things I enjoy about being a professional ski instructor is not only teaching people about the sport, but also shedding a little light on the great outdoors to folks who have spent their entire life in the city.Case in point: While cruising down Dealer’s Choice one afternoon with a lady from New York City, a snow-white ermine shot across our path. Having never seen one before, she asked about the other indigenous wildlife in the White River National Forest.”Oh, we have porcupine, beaver, fox, bear, deer and elk,” I said. I expounded on the animal cycle when the deer and elk migrate to begin their calving season. I also explained to her how you could determine the age of a buck by the number of points on their antlers.I thought I had made great strides in educating her on the ways of the wild. But arriving at the top of the mountain, she looked at me with a straight face and asked,”At what altitude do the deer turn into elk?” AnonymousThese 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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A ski season surrounded with uncertainty kicks off on Wednesday. The six inches of new snowfall Tuesday will allow opening of an additional 62 acres on Aspen Mountain, bringing opening-day total to about 160 acres.