Close Calls, Generational Skiing, Ugly Sweaters

The road out of Granby took me to Kremmling, and then up to Hwy 134. I was supposed to take Trough Road Hwy 1, but Google won out. I wasn’t quite sure where to turn to get onto 134, and by the time I saw the turn, I was past, and had to do a hard left to catch the road. Seconds after I turned, I saw the shiny chrome bumper of a semi-truck whip by me. I glanced in my rear-view mirror—it didn’t look like he had a stop sign. He had to be coming at me at 60 mph. But for the grace of a few seconds, I could have been the T-bone to his fender.

The close call shook me to the core. My brother Robert, a few months earlier, wasn’t so lucky. He was hit broadside by a train.

I am usually such a careful driver. I have logged over 6000 miles to date on this trip. But I was distracted, thought I had missed the turn, a bit flustered. It wasn’t my day to be hit and likely killed. I drove on, unscathed, except for that mental scar that even now, as I think back on that moment, gives me chills.

But that was a few hundred miles ago. I was headed to Eagle, Colorado, home to one of my extended family relatives. Ellen Broadus Caruso has been a friend of mine for over 45 years. Ellen grew up outside of Lame Deer, Montana on the family ranch. Her niece is my best friend and sister-in-law. Our lives are entwined and stopping here was like visiting family. And her two daughters are amazing skiers. I had planned on skiing with Tanya, the younger daughter, but she was recovering from a concussion. Tanya’s daughter Kaia still wanted to ski, so we set a date!

So in less than a week, I went from skiing with a 70 something woman to following a teenage girl around the mountain! How can it be that I learn so much from EVERYONE? Kaia took me down blues and blacks, her turquoise jacket and white ski pants easy to see, and her back became my target. Kaia is a goalie on the Vail Valley boys hockey team has the easy confidence of a good goalie. I followed her down the Beaver Creek ski runs, but I showed her the fun of thrift shops. We had many funny, laughter filled moments, the funniest when I tried on a ski sweater, forgetting I had three layers of thermal ski wear and a fleece vest on. I looked like the Michelin Tire Man and I STILL bought the sweater. I thought it was classic, with a ski jumper on the front, and diamonds and flakes knitted in. When we got back to Ellen’s we laughed again when Ellen, in all seriousness, said, “Oh, you got one of those ugly Christmas sweaters…”

I loved my time with Ellen and her husband Fred. We all had deep conversations together and one on one. Sometimes I had to look at Fred very closely to determine if he was kidding or serious. We got to spend time with Tanya and her husband Karl who runs Lakota Rafting in the summer. I’m going to plan a rafting trip this summer.

The next day I left for Glenwood Springs. My Ikon pass was waiting for me to use at Aspen Snowmass, Ajax & Highlands and I was looking forward to meeting up with Ellen’s other daughter Andrea and another good friend I had met on SSS1 in Sun Valley.

No rest for me.

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