Department of televangelism: When you get a chance check out the new Fall 2005 print issue of Ski Press USA. Study it hard. In 65 pages you’ll see plenty of backcountry, a few snowboards, one breast, and NO telemark turns whatsoever! What gives? I mean, are not tele turns a regular, if not iconic image in nearly any ski magazine these days? It seemed weird to see not one lifted heel. Or set me straight, is this normal, and I’ve just been reading Couloir and Backcountry too much?
Crash survival: And speaking of televangelists, telemark author and Garmont gear guru Paul Parker was recently injured in a bicycle accident. Paul is a good friend who I admire greatly — the Dawson family wishes him a speedy recovery so he can get out there and out-ski me again with free heels. (It sounds like he’s on the mend.)
Ski Hall of Fame: It still feels weird to write about this. I mean, I’ve had to spend my life as a self-employed shamless self-promoter, but when this kind of thing happens it’s more of a humbling experience than anything else. Who better knows their faults and shortcomings then yourself? Thus, when you do get props like this it becomes a dance of the “why me?” feelings and the “hey that’s cool, thanks, I’m honored” point of view. If anything, it sure makes me think deep and take stock of my life.
The induction gala is this coming Saturday — I even went out and bought a new dress jacket! For my family it’s turning into somewhat of a reunion for the siblings on my side of the marriage. I’m the oldest of four brothers. C. (the second in line) and I did a huge amount of backcountry skiing and climbing in the 1970s, and I’ve spent many days skiing with my other two bros as well, T and T. It’ll be cool to see them all, and swap a few lies about the old days around Aspen.
Here is one story for you: As many blog readers know, I’m not a big fan of closed roads. Well, back in the early 1970s (well past statute of limitations, so I can tell the tale), the Independence Pass road out of Aspen was NOT gated during shoulder seasons. They quite plowing eventually when the winter dumps came, but all fall and early winter you could drive up there and rock climb, ski, or whatever.
Then, one dreadful day around 1972 we drove the Indy road to go climbing and a huge steel gate had been locked across our path to paradise. Stunned, we drove back home and ranted, whined and cussed, but didn’t know what we could really do to get our access back.
A few days later, one of my siblings (we shall use no names) went back up there to see if by chance the gate was a temporary thing. Alas not. But, near the gate was a pleasantly large Caterpillar bulldozer. With the keys in it. And the rest is family legend. For a few years after that the road remained ungated year around. As as I drove through the former closure I’d see the mangled gate lying in the weeds, a smile would split my face, and I’d be glad that D-9 was aimed in the right direction because not one of us ever knew how to really drive a bulldozer!
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.