Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I have been admiring Barbara's and Jodi's fantabulous snow scenes in their blogs. I'm jealous, so here goes. I have a snow blob. And it ain't no snow job. In fact, like most grandpas from the faraway hills, I have endless snow stories, but, mercifully, I will only drop one snowflake on yez today. Sorry, no pictures.

I grew up in the crown of the Rocky Mountains, (the literal crown) in Alma, CO., near Breckenridge. Funny thing. Mother Nature gave the Breckens the best ski slopes and the best snow. The North wind brought heavy snow into Breckenridge and gave us a bit less. I'd have argued that at the time. There weren't many kids in tiny Alma, so I was called upon to shovel heavy snow from August 'til June. Oh, alright. November through March. I shoveled driveways, walkways, doorways and paths to the woodshed. I even shoveled under clothlines so ladies could hang out the "warsh". People would tell me that their car was located somewhere under a drift. I would dig 'til they were mobile again. Hour after hour, I shoveled, then it was off to Chuck Bilto's store to spend my cache on a couple of Heath Bars. Life was good.

We had no ski resort. I'm not sure Breckenridge did either. We were just two abandoned old mining towns. Times, they have-a-changed. Breck is "world-class" and we're still the po-folk neighbors. However, when I was about 8 years old, some entrepreneuring genius decided to build a ski resort, about a half mile north of town. He cleared the timber and built a rope-lift. He sold hot chocolate and stuff. The rope-lift consisted of a thick rope running through a series of old automobile wheels. (No tires, just rusty steel rims.) The more wheels, the more needed tension for the rope. I guess. Everything was driven by a Model A engine. Thence to the top of the mountain (okay, hill.) with the rope. Thence through another couple of rims on a pole and back to point A.

Miraculously, this thing worked. Folks would grab the rope and go flying up the hill. I thought the rope looked to be infinitely more fun than skiing back down. On the first actual ski day, I scrounged up a pair of skis somewhere. Maybe the "resort" rented them to me. I dunno. I headed for the rope. No one else had any trouble latching onto the rope. But the rope latched onto me. It flung me onto my teakettle. I dusted myself off. (does anyone really "dust" wet, packed snow off?) I tried again. Same result. Why didn't someone help me? Oh well. I was too embarrassed and too hurt to try again. That rope could really jerk me about. I started up the gigantic mountain (moderate hill) on foot. To my horror, there was insufficient room between the lift and the traveled slope for foot traffic. Get hit by a skier going up or get hit by a skier coming down.

And, oh the language! "Hey, kid! Get off the %&$*?" course!"... "Hey, kid.You're puncturing the snow!" Exhausted, wet, cold and frightened, I stopped climbing at about the halfway point. I strapped on the skis. Oh. Oh. I couldn't ski. Plop. Stand up. Go again. Plop. Lose a ski. Chase it. Look up the hill. Dodge for my life. Plop. when I finally got to the bottom of the hill, some well meaning adult said to me, "hey, kid. Ya gotta learn how to do this before you do this."

I think this is the first time I have told this story. (I hope a haven't told it in my Alma book. How funny, to write it and then forget it.) The reason I have been holding it in is because there is no punch line. No climactic moment. No blazing finish. No great lesson for living.

So here is your assignment. Comment. In your comment put a short finish on the story. You could say that I used that setback as motivation to become a great Olympic master of the slalom. Strike that. I still can't ski a lick, though I live in the shadow of Snowbird and Brighton. Put YOUR finish on the story.

This all happened almost 60 years ago. Yipe. I'm still young. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Sixty years? Double yipe. Incidentally, the ski resort failed during its first or second season.

Post script: One fun thing eventually happened on that hill, about ten years later. The hill was so steep that we would have been afraid to go down it at top speed in Richard's old Model A. But the hill had begun re-growing a beautiful stand of quakie trees. We found that we could go racing down the hill at break-neck speed, plowing the trees before us. What fun. I go now, before I think of more goofy stuff.

Post post script: If I had had a million dollars in the late forties I could have bought one hundred thousand Model A's at a rate of 10 bucks each. They were EVERYWHERE! I swear I go now.


Cabin Fever said...

The ski patrol took you off the mountain ( piggy back - no less )
and told you to never return.
Ask Mayberry to blog the heath bar.
Drats that is to easy. One of your "falls" created a swirling black sink hole and sucked you under and spit you out into an old ladies yard. She hung you out to warsh!

Cabin Fever said...

P.s. my new favorite story that was not in your book.

Brian said...

You dust yourself off (yes, dust), grab back on to the rope, get back to the top of the hill determined, and proceed to fall much worse than you did the first time. The people were wayching this time and appreciated the genius of it. "Clumsy Geno" becomes a national hit. His antics get press in every newspaper with headlines like "Clumsy Geno cannot start motorcycle he was trying to use to jump the Grand Canyon" and "Clumsy Geno forgets to skydive out of the plane because of being distracted by the formation of the clouds and the airplane peanuts".

flagboy said...

Huzzah! Huzzah! Cabin Fever has hung me out to warsh. Brian has got my number on peanuts. Actually, I think I made it out of the plane. I just forgot my chute. More! MORE! Thanks, youse guys.