In Colorado, I was buried in the snow in a mock avalanche rescue drill to teach dogs how to find people who may still be alive. Kevin from Breckinridge dug out a very nice cave in the snow so that when I laid down in it felt like a cross between a tanning bed and the egg in Mork from Ork. Once in, Kevin started piling the snow up to close up the opening completely. I heard him ask on his walkie if the dog Lucy was ready but she wasn’t, in fact she was about twenty minutes away. I was told I would only be in this slightly claustrophobic situation for five minutes. So there I lay. I am sure when someone is truly caught in an avalanche and buried alive under snow their thoughts tend to be of the more serious kind: death, leaving of loved ones, things never done. Mine were more of the what should I order for lunch? Hamburger and fries? The chili in the bread bowl — a ski resort staple? But after ten minutes I found myself getting cold so I started to do sit ups just like I did back in Ely Minnesota while camping out on the ice I found that the shivering to death really made it hard for me to get a good night’s rest. Doing sit-ups to keep warm while lying on ice once in your life is an experience but twice?
I am really loving this episode. I love the winter and winter sports. I ski, snowboard and snowshoe and I will be able to take advantage of all that while here. On Friday we head over to Copper Mountain where I get to join the ski patrol as they re-create the coke commercial everyone knows and loves by skiing down the mountain after dark with torches. There’s of course some trepidation on the Copper Mt. part about my safety but luckily there has never been one on the side of the production company who loves to see me in all manners of danger just to get the “realness of the situation” but I’m not worried, I’m a pretty good skier and there’s nothing like two fire arms one in each hand to keep you upright. It’s when they light the two torches at the top of the mountain that my own internal light goes off and I realize that good skier or not this is my first time down a mountain in three years and I’m not sure just how rusty I am.
The feeling of being on the top of a mountain with only blackness around you, no sounds and a steady frigid breeze is absolutely thrilling. Once all flares are lit a great noise generates thru the crowd of a hundred or skiers and it’s away we go. With no light you feel the mountain under your feet more. Thru a waxed ski and hard plastic boot the subtle changes in the slope guide you, I soften my knees to let the earth do most of the work and I stop fighting the fact that I can’t see a whole heck of a lot accept for the slightly darker shadow the ski lift and its thick as sequoia trees support poles — I make sure I always know where that is. It’s a great feeling. Glad I signed the waiver.