Thank you all for your support yesterday, what a beautiful day, and, as we left the church, we saw the pinks in the sun setting that Father Harry told us to look for and knew that Kimmy was close...
Anyways, back in 1990, I was a manager with Toys R Us in Philadelphia (where I worked when Kim made me her infamous hard boiled eggs that she cooked for 2 hours and me and my team played hockey with). I was asked to go to Colorado to open some new stores there, as Toys R Us expanded into that state. Kim was concerned that Colorado would be much colder than Pennsylvania, but I told her that the winters there were actually milder, since they have a lower humidity level - the cold doesn't bite your lungs quite as badly as in Pa.
The day we flew in to Colorado, there was a huge blizzard - our flight from Denver to Colorado Springs was canceled, so we decided to rent a car and drive down anyway. We got onto the highway, it was pretty late in the evening, and slowly made our way. It was snowing so hard at one point, that it was actually easier to see with our headlights off, as the light from them reflected off of the falling snow in a glaring way. While we were on the road, we heard on the radio that the highway was closed! They have these big gates at the top of the ramps preventing people from getting onto 25 when it is closed - so I didn't want to get off, as we were in the middle of nowhere - we kept going, seeing no cars and made it through. I remember there was even lightning during this crazy storm.
The next day, Kim wanted to try her hand at skiing. The nice thing about Colorado, was, if you were a resident, you could go to any supermarket, like Safeway, and buy a lift ticket for $10 to any resort except Vail and Aspen. We chose to start at Breckenridge.
We started out route 24 from Colorado Springs, an incredible, twisty, turny ascent into the majestic Colorado Rockies. The Arkansas river flows beside the highway - in the summer, you can see people shooting the rapids in rafts, fishermen and people just enjoying the river. As we got deeper into the mountains, Kim began gesturing wildly - she had spotted some big horn sheep pretty low down one of the moutain faces. We pulled over and took some photos and watched them until the leader of the herd took them higher up the slope.
We also saw deer, elk and marmasets, a racoon like animal.
Breckenridge is a beautiful resort and the views from the top of their slopes are breath taking. We took Kim on a 'bunny slope' first, to get her ski legs and then she wanted to get right to the top to have that bird's eye view. We took a lot of photos and just stood up their in awe, in God's presence.
I had explained the trail marking system to Kim before we started down the slope. Black Diamond = expert, Blue Square = Intermediate and Green Circle = beginner. We would follow a lazy, winding trail marked with the Green Circle. Ready to go, I told Kim to follow me and stay close.
Kim was doing great, but, about halfway down the mountain, there was a small crowd of skiiers we had to navigate through - when we passed them, I looked over my shoulder and Kim was gone...
She had veered off down a small off-shoot of a trail that had crossed our Green Circle trail. I quickly got turned around as I saw her gaining speed down it. Yelling as loud as I could, I got going as fast as possible and as I turned onto the trail, I noted with growing dread that Kim had just entered a Black Diamond trail!
I was getting closer when I saw the mogul field about a hundred yards ahead. These moguls had been groomed high and close together, so a experienced skier would know to crouched down, keep the knees loose and just 'pop' off each mogul hill quickly to reduce the transition between them...Kim was not aware of this - we hadn't covered that on the bunny slope and there was no way I could catch up, although I was now at break neck speed and screaming her name at the top of my lungs!
Fortunately, there was virtually no traffic on this particular trail and Kim had entered the moguls and although shaky, was holding her own. My heart welled up with pride as I watched her make the best of a difficult situation (so what else is new?)...however, as she neared the end of the field and back to a calmer section of the slope, she came off the top of a large mogul, kissed the top of the next and wham!!! Dissappeared in a plume of powder so thick that I completely lost sight of her!! Those of you who are old enough to remember ABC's Wide World of Sports that used to air Saturday mornings, might recall the opening segments that they used to show to introduce the program...'The thrill of victory...and the agony of defeat'...the agony of defeat segment was of a skiier totally biffing it down a steep slope and being obscured by snow - that is what Kim looked like. I panicked and threw myself through the rest of the moguls, coming to a stop next to where Kim was partially buried, face down,- still screaming her name and frantically trying to turn her over I suddenly heard something...sweet laughter...Kim was laughing!! Her goggles hung askew, face bright red from the snow and her head soaked...she had survived the ultimate mogul slope that Breckenridge had to offer and despite the harrowing journey and killer crash, could lay there laughing! God was truly with Kim that day.
We headed back to the lounge, where they brew their own beer, and sat warming ourselves in front of a fire for a few hours before heading back out for saner slopes.
Over the next few weekends, we also skiied Copper Mountain and Keystone. We had a lot of fun, but nothing matched the first day on skiis for Kim!
When we moved back to Pa., we loved to get up into the Pocono mountains to ski there, although it was not nearly as scenic and the conditions were not as favorable as those incredible Rocky Mountains, we still thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Thanks for being there,