Being a part of the dream | AspenTimes.com

Being a part of the dream

Alison Berkley

I am here to tell you that there is some truth to the saying “too much of a good thing.”That much was apparent last weekend in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where my favorite ski movie-maker boys from Teton Gravity Research held the world premiere of this year’s flick, “Tangerine Dream.”Forget about the movie, Jackson Hole is Man City. The place is so flooded with testosterone you could throw on your bikini and go swimming in it, or God forbid, accidentally get pregnant just walking down the street. I sometimes wonder if sperm could be airborne there. Everywhere you turn, there are men who look eerily alike, with shadows cast over their unshaven faces by baseball hats with the brims bent just so, their long arms dragging in the dusty gravel. The unique type of woman who can survive in Jackson Hole most likely has a boyfriend or has already slept with everyone there. So when you’re a new female face, the men look at you like they might just open their mouths and swallow you whole right there on the street. It’s like being a bunny in the middle of a pack of wolves. At one point, I went into the bathroom just to make sure there wasn’t a cottontail sticking out from the butt of my new True Religion Joey Woodstock jeans.These guys don’t waste time with cheesy one-liners, and they certainly don’t bother hiding their unbridled desire to drag you into some cave. They just stare you down as they slowly walk by and say things like, “you’re hot” or “I want some of that.” They call girls “lovelies,” and you definitely get the feeling the feminism train doesn’t have a stop in Wyoming. Don’t get me wrong, that’s precisely what attracted me to Jackson in the first place. (Oh yeah, the skiing is pretty epic, too). But when you combine big mountains with beer-slugging, tobacco-chewing, pot-smoking, whiskey-drinking and après-ski sessions that don’t end until dawn, you get a little girl from Connecticut who is in way the hell over her head. That much was obvious after hanging out with the TGR boys for a few months, traveling with them even. I know I’ve told you this story before, but it’s one of my favorites so I’ll tell it again. I fell in love with their scene the way a groupie falls for a rock band. I went on tour with them. There were parties in hotel rooms, bar brawls, one-night stands and the whole nine yards. On more than one occasion I hurt myself.”Berkley, you’re a f—ing hazard,” was the way my dear friend Steve Jones put it after the helicopter door flew open when I (allegedly) didn’t shut it right. We were up in northwestern British Columbia at a heli-ski operation and I was the lightest, so they had me sit in the front seat. It was my job to close the door.”But the mechanic said the latch was broken!” I replied.”He just told you that to make you feel better,” said Jeremy, Steve’s younger brother.Then there was the day that I missed the landing zone (designated pick-up spot for the helicopter marked with bright orange flags) because I couldn’t make the traverse on my snowboard. I could hear the guide blowing her whistle, but I couldn’t make it up and over this ridgeline to where they were waiting. The helicopter had to take off and loop around to find me, which took all of two minutes since I was standing about 100 yards away. Believe you me, I will be reminded for the rest of my life about how much those two minutes cost.Then there was the time we arrived in Murren, Switzerland, a town perched atop cliffs that can only be reached by a train and two trams, and I realized I had left my passport on the bus. “Did you Berkley your wallet again?” Steve asked, having created a new synonym for “lost” or “forgot.” For the rest of the trip I had like five dads, always making sure my pockets were zipped – identification, money, and lift ticket properly stored in the right places. I thought they were going to tie my mittens together and string them through my jacket sleeves with those clip-things we used to have in ski school. I lasted one season with the guys, and that was enough for me. It felt climactic in some way (there goes that sexual innuendo again), like there was no possible way to sustain a feeling that good and that intense for long.Turns out I was wrong. At least from what I could tell from watching “Tangerine Dream,” the boys have kept up the pace just fine. Forget about the fact that they’re getting married, having babies and buying houses in Idaho, of all places. All these years of dedication have cumulated, led them to the highest peaks, the steepest lines, the biggest mountains and the farthest reaches, that token helicopter buzzing around in the background. It seems they chased after their goals the way I chased after them – the only difference is, they were able to capture them. I just barely touched it, and I think I burned my finger, at that.The film’s intro features a montage of years past and just for a split second, an image of me flashes on the screen. I’m in a hot tub in British Columbia, and a helicopter flies overhead, water from the tub spilling over the edges and spraying in its wake. I’m laughing, with my head tilted back, face up toward the sky. I still can’t believe I was part of it, the making of a dream. The Princess invites you to the Aspen premiere of “Tangerine Dream” at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Wheeler. Don’t miss the Olenick brothers’ awesome segment and the first TGR shoot ever in Aspen, helicopter included. Send your loving e-mail to alison@berkleymedia.com

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