Janet Day: Have Westword’s knees given out?
March 31, 2008
We’re the Best. Westword’s “Best Of” issue hit the newsstands and internet last week. Year after year, Winter Park Resort has won for “best bumps.”But, curiously, no bumps this year. Maybe Westword’s knees are giving out. A day on the slopes with Patty “Two Turn” Calhoun, Westword’s editor, has always been about spending most of a day heading straight down the groomed trails, not jangling joints on Volkswagen-sized moguls.
The lack of a bumps category doesn’t mean Winter Park got shut out this year. The Panoramic Express won the Best New Ski Lift designation by the staff and the People’s Choice award for the same category. Westword’s award, in its entirety, reads:
“When Winter Park opened its Parsenn Bowl, it introduced skiers to miles of great new runs and untracked tree skiing ” but also the sort of lines it hadn’t seen in decades, since there was only one very slow, two-person chair for taking you to the top. But all that ended this year when the resort added the speedy, $8 million Panoramic Express, North America’s highest six-person chairlift. The name ” supplied by Winter Park fan Pat Barron, who was inspired by a train that once had that moniker ” is fitting, because the Panoramic takes you above 12,000 feet, where you get a stunning view of the mountains and the valley below.”
Westword’s vote for the Best Old Ski Lift is, hilariously, the Winter Park Ski Train (Calhoun’s a regular rider in January). Denver’s alternative weekly newspaper notes that “Between increasingly heavy traffic and Texans who’ll never learn how to maneuver in snow, the drive up I-70 has become a double diamond, the toughest run you might make all day.”
Family Beats Being Fast. Congratulations to Dale Eversole of Winter Park Resort’s utilities department for having his priorities straight. Although he trained all season to qualify for the Nastar finals competition at Steamboat Resort a couple weeks ago, and placed ninth in the first day of races, he left to be with his son who had dislocated his elbow. Dale spent the second race day in an emergency room instead of on the race course. His son is recovering and Dale vows to compete again next year.
The Sounds of Spring Break. Easter being early this year spread the Spring Break season out over all of March, with most of Oklahoma and Texas visiting early, followed by several states in the Midwest and, finally, Denver-area school students and their families. The bus-loads of novices and never-ever skiers and boarders make for some interesting and entertaining eavesdropping and people watching. Heard at Winter Park Resort in the past two weeks:
– “We’re up here in this Discovery Park place and need to order us an instructor to teach us how to get down.” Would you like fries with that order?
– “I don’t know how she manages to ski. Her backside is the size of a beer truck. That’s got to upset your balance.”
– “Can we get back to Denver without driving on that squiggly road?”
And then there was the tiny older woman in pink Ugg-style boots walking laps around the North Bench parking lot with a Costco-sized jar of pickles held under her arm like a football, the little girl crying because all the ski-lesson talk of pizza wedges made her hungry, and the teenaged boy laughing on the Super Gauge lift when his mother said she hadn’t seen him smile that much in years.
Wildlife Woes. One of the ickier sides of our tremendous snowfall this winter and the rapid melt of recent weeks is the sudden exposure of months of road-kill that got buried in the piles left by snowplows. The legs of one deer and the muzzle of another are sticking through the snow on the near side of Berthoud Pass. And I spotted at least a dozen dead deer between Hot Sulphur Springs and Kremmling, a handful more up and over Rabbit Ears Pass.
Spring also has brought out the live creatures, and they’re hungry. The foxes are sniffing around front steps again in my neighborhood, moose are again pulling down dried-out hanging plants outside empty condos, and baby birds are squawking in the trees. Mountain lions, too, are prowling around for, and from what a friend heard outside her Granby home one night last week, finding prey.
Gala Changes. The ever-popular Grand Gala, which benefits the Grand Foundation and provides the Valley’s one big dress-up occasion, has some changes in store for this year’s event, to be held May 17 at Devil’s Thumb Ranch. The standard seated dinner will be replaced with a progressive meal event that takes guests through three settings at the ranch with separate menus, music and silent auction items. Walking from station to station might burn off just a few of those calories.
Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to JDayQuilts@msn.com.
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