Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Further thoughts on the Ski Area's of Colorado

   It is hard to distinguish between Beaver Creek and Vail. It like someone saying the difference between Arapahoe Basin and Keystone. Vail is big, giant big, the back bowls go on forever. I used to know them all by heart, they have added Blue Sky Bowl since I stopped skiing there. I am sure also at Arapahoe Basin they have added terrain in what used to be out of bounds. Over the top and in to Montezuma Basin. I am sure they must have put a lift. I suppose I could research it and find out.
   My most favorite little Ski Area is Ski Cooper. I believe the history of Ski Cooper is that it was developed for the men of theTenth Mountain Division. There is a Ridge with a cornice named Chicago Ridge that you only ski by taking a snowcat to. It was a wind blown cornice and the cat would drive along the ridge and let you out so that you could ski down the face of the ridge. It wasn't a long run but it was fun.
   It reminded me of the Snowcat Tours of East Vail. East Vail is known for it's chutes. They are steep and very scary. They slide often and so not many people ski them. The developer of Vail Mountain, Pete Siebert's grandson was killed in an Avalanche while skiing there several years ago. It was a shame to hear. A young man in his prime taken. It is the inherent danger of the back country. It is the allure that wants to make you step beyond the edge to temp fate so to speak. Unfortunately fate some times wins. My friends and I were very fortunate that fate did not take us. The places and terrain that we skied lent itself to sliding very easy. I suppose that we were meant for greater things in life. You have to respect that and try your hardest to fulfill that destiny. Destiny makes us all brothers and sisters. Sometimes you have to reach up and grasp the brass ring. Sometimes you miss the mark. It doesn't mean that you stop trying. If your down get back up, and jump into that couloir. Who knows you just might ski it this time. Often in life just when you think you are defeated miracles happen from out of the blue. Embrace the future.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Remembering Beaver Creek

   Beaver Creek is a wonderful mountain nestled in a hilltop outside of the town of Avon, Colorado. It was my distinct pleasure to spend a lot of time there in the late 1980's. When I first arrived, there was no base building. A large white plastic dome served as it's main building. What made Beaver Creek so unique at the time is that the terrain although not as high in altitude as many other mountains has some incredibly challenging runs. Birds of Prey serves as the downhill portion of many competitions.

  Former President Gerald Ford made his home in Beaver Creek and this lent for great excitement and very good promotion for the ski area. While working for the Beaver Creek Children's Theatre it was my honor one Christmas to play Santa Claus and to ride into the Christmas Gala with Gerald and Betty Ford. For me although a bit corny, the adulation of the crowd was a fun and wonderful  time. They were very gracious hosts and wonderful human beings. Betty Ford well known for her work with the Betty Ford Clinic would chair the Local A.A. Meetings.

   It was a wonderful time then and Beaver Creek was the host of the 1989 World Alpine Skiing Championships. The festivities and joy of the period prompted me to make the area the setting for a ski novel that I had been thinking about writing. If you check out My Stories you will find two short stories that are chapters of my ski novel. A lot of the chapters are partially written and will take some time to bring them into form. It was a time of great revelry. Beaver Creek was young and growing and it just lent itself naturally to my work. It was a great time of personal growth for me. I was to eventually spend 5 years in the Vail, Beaver Creek Area before moving to Aspen, Colorado.
   It was during that time that I had some of the greatest outdoor experiences of my life. Those areas really were a young peoples towns. The average mean age I believe was the late 20's and early 30's. Hiking, mountain biking and climbing, along with snowboarding and skiing were some of the predominant sports of the times. I was fortunate enough to meet my climbing and mountain biking partner Christian there. There are quite a few climbing and grueling mountain biking expeditions I hope to write about in the future.

   I look forward to the work on Out Of America just for the fond memories of the area and recreating the people and places that made the times so exciting and joyful. Enjoy the stories although my characters are fiction.I do not wish to offend anyone with my work, but life does lend itself to create good fiction. So this is pure fiction!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spring Has Sprung

     Full on Spring has begun in the Rockies, and I can't be happier. We have had an exceptionally warm and mild winter. I am sorry for the East and the rest of the Country. It is great to see the blossoms of the fruit trees and soon the greens of all the shrubs and brush will be happening. I have always been amazed at how green the green colors get and how many shades of green that spring brings out. The Colorado River swells and fills the banks and flows wide and full. Not quite as full as I have seen on the mighty Columbia on the Washington and Oregon Border. We think of Oregon a lot, however it is really not time yet. There is a time and season for everything and that will come. Hopefully not in the long distant future but sooner than later.

     All our worries of the future and what to do are falling in place. Let's hope that we can move forward with them. I have reposted two new stories in my story page, feel free to browse them.
I hope to soon revamp my poetry page and to have posted the final chapter of "Out of America" I am retyping it and will have it ready soon. The harder part will be filling in all the other chapters. I look forward to the work in the future.
     Just started a nice Blog about Robin a Paint horse we worked on with the Massage School and had fallen from a 70 foot cliff and survived. She was being used as a Brood Mare and had a tremendous amount of issues. It is certainly a miracle of a story precipitated by our students and the desire to heal. Look for it soon. Enjoy Spring in your area. I sure am.
     It will be a challenge to figure out how to purchase our Oregon Vehicle but we found it at a RV show today at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.
A Song Of Redemption
"Redemption Song" Bob Marley

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Aspen Colorado City Limits ( The Cross Roads Blues)

  If you use all available outward means, as well as  your natural abilities, to overcome every obstacle in your path, you will develop the powers that God gave you- unlimited powers that flow from your innermost forces of your being. You possess the power of thought and the power of will, utilize to the uttermost these divine gifts.

Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda

    I was a young man with many unhealthy obsessions, extreme skiing was one of them, not to mention several others. While it has made for living an extremely hard life, (Sometimes) it is the grist for extremely good literature.

   Our home in Battlement Mesa is finally set to close on Friday the 20th. It has been a long and difficult sale. Stressful to say the least on all of us, our plans for Oregon as you have seen have been temporarily put on hold. I have way too much inventory to sell and we just could not down size so quickly. Seven years of being relieved from our ball and chain of a bad investment in real estate  in Colorado since the economical debacle a few years ago, especially living in Gas Land. Home of gas drilling in Western Colorado. We lived in the boom or bust region and it went bust. Leaving our local economy in the Pits, no pun intended, well maybe a little one. We are leaving the safest neighborhood in America. It would have been a wonderful place to raise children, the Gas Company donated a new fire house, larger than in most cities of New York. They donated a new health clinic and new middle school. All of this was done for the express purpose of drilling ten gas wells within the town limits. There is currently a controversy over directional drilling. It is drilling a multi-well head in different directions from the same head. I do not have anything against progress, but Drilling and Fracing under suburban homes seems to me to be a recipe for disaster. When it comes to the rape of the land and the safety of the surface dwellers for the sake of gas in the ground, I draw the line on reason.

   It was premature of us to think that we could liquidate a large house, sell my inventory from my plumbing and heating business and move across country with a geriatric golden retriever all in one fell swoop, without the use of a semi and incurring large expenses. The move to Grand Junction, Colorado, the gateway to the West, has always made sense to us. It is the home of the Colorado National Monument and some very beautiful walking parks.

   I have vowed to redouble my effort to bring my short story collection, White Dreams, and my unfinished novel, Out of America, and my research on my Historical Novel to fruition. The Historical work is the life and times of the people inhabiting Arapahoe Basin Ski Area through the winter of 1978-1979, their hopes, their dreams an their struggles. I have no doubt that the owner Joe, bought and built the mountain with the intention to sell to whatever company owned Keystone the larger area down the mountains and retire in Montana. What I would like to know by interviewing all the people there at the time was what where their hopes, their dreams, and where have they gone an what have they done with their lives since, and how did they feel about the mountain. Did they love it as much as I? What did they feel when it was sold? There is a greater underlying truth that still evades my perception. It is one of those obsessions that have made for hard living on my part, but as I have said it makes for great literature.

   We are settling in to our new little home. Soon I will develop a good writing routine and the stress of the move will be over. I have a lifetime to continue this quest. So over the next year, if we stay here after liquidating all our top heavy possessions, look for snipits of my short stories and chapters from Out of America. It began as a tragic short story (of course) titled a Terribly Bitter Ending. Another obsession, that has blossomed into a a Romance Novel of love, commitment, joy, and the personal fulfillment of unrealized dreams, and the triumph of one man against the odds. I will probably show the end chapter. It's Never Over Until It's Over first. The work is set in the 1989 World Alpine Skiing Championships of Beaver Creek, Colorado.

    Rome was not built in a day and writing careers don't happen overnight. They take years to establish. I am not foolish enough to think I will have overnight success. I know successful writers who have spent years at their craft and faced multitude of rejections. The most intriguing rejection I have ever received was for a story I wrote about a ski bum character. The rejection said that your central character has no obvious means of support. Really, that was the whole point of the story, that you sacrifice a lot in life to pursue a career of an extreme ski enthusiast.

   Now down to some serious writing and blogging. Spring has sprung in Western, Colorado. Yes I can go and see the Metropolitan Opera broadcast live in a theatre near us. Good to be back in Civilization!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Beau and Murph

Beau in his PJ'S

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Thoughts for the Day

I am in a quandary. Over the years I have had a passion and obsession about the story of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. I have even gone as far as getting permission from the principles involved to write it with their blessings. I have written as a hobby in my spare time. I have outlined a historical novel and written the first act of a screen play.  In my youth, I put together a music score for the film script with my muscian friends, who are currently in Nashville. My wife, Kathy will complete the music score. She, also as a former radio personality, will do all the necessary interviews. If I were bidding for a plumbing and heating contract in Aspen for a 25,000  sq. ft. home I would know how to proceed in getting a contract to do the work. I am out of my league here and need the help of a professional.

I am totally committed to this project and have researched and worked on it for years. Often it has gotten the better of me. Man against man, man against nature, and ultimately man against himself. It has taken all these years to work it out in my mind, and to be quite frank about it. I am above my present organizational abilities. I know what needs to be done and am willing to put in the necessary work to see it through to friution. I once  wrote that you accept the challenge an conquer it or it will forever conquer you.  I am ready! My good friend Yogi Beau taught me to ask for what you need, I need the help of professionals.

A woman I admire greatly wrote a book titled "It takes a Village." I need a village of support to complete my project.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Opening The Stall Door

   Do you believe in miracles. I do. I have witnessed many over the years in our Equine Massage School, Aspen Equine Studies. They ranged from minor personal growths in individual therapists and awakenings in attitudes. I witnessed a miracle with a horse named Dunny. A Hollywood Dunnit reigning horse.

   Our Massage School was cutting edge and we were fortunate enough to have students that came to study from all over the world. It just so happened that we were in session and had a full group of 6 students. We arrived at a client's ranch to find Dunny stall bound. The Vet had checked him completely and could not find any broken bones or torn ligaments.  However he was standing in a stall and in obvious discomfort. My wife Kathy, who designed the 7 day program, assigned a handler and instructed them to stand quietly and allow the horse to focus on the therapist. The student therapist approached Dunny and stood quietly, facing the way the horse was, next to him. Dunny gently reached over and acknowledged the student, allowing her into his intimate space. Starting at the top of the pole the student took her thumb and gently, with moderate pressure palpated along the top line from the pole to the tail. She was careful to stay a few inches from the horse's spine. The student found several small muscle spasms along the horse's back.

   Alternating, the students each took a section of Dunny and began massaging him. Each time a student passed the withers they were careful to place a mother hand in the horse's stifle, so if it were to kick, they would be able to protect themselves. They massaged out adhesions in several of the horse's muscles. It wasn't until they found a large knot in his hamstring did Dunny show any obvious discomfort. He shied away and kicked his foot on the ground. The student gently kept working in his hamstring area until Dunny slowly lowered his left hip. By lowering his hip, he relinquished his flight mechanism and showed that he was allowing the student deeply into his intimate space and enjoying his therapy. She had relieved his large tender spasm and given him comfort. Each and every student worked on the remaining sections of Dunny using all of their massage strokes. As the session progressed, Dunny went from standing rigid with his feet planted, to standing relaxed with his hip disengaged and rocking gently with the rhythm of the body work. He began licking and chewing as the toxins were being released.

    When the students were finished I had the handler move Dunny to the middle of the stall and stretched all four of his limbs forward and backward with gentle pressure to increase his flexibility. I stood alongside Dunny with my back pressed against him and held a carrot by his withers. He stretched his neck over to grab the carrot and engulfed my body in the process. I repeated this on the other side. We then backed him into the stall corner and I reached between his front legs with another carrot and he bowed down and tried getting the carrot. I slowly moved the carrot further and further back allowing him to thoroughly stretch his neck and back.

   The students opened the stall door and as customary, I walked him out and started down the lane toward a round pen. I could tell right away that there was something different about him. He was antsy and slightly prancing. By the time I reached the round pen I could hardly control him. I released him into the round pen and Dunny exploded. He started crow hoping, bucking and jumping. He laid down rolled completely over and jumped back up in the air. He began shaking his head from side to side as if amazed at the freedom of movement in his neck.

   The owner was in tears and the students were cheering. The miracle of Dunny's transformation was complete.

   Look forward to many more horse stories in the near future about our former Equine Clients. There are many and they are all minor miracles. There may even be a few student miracles included.


Friday, March 6, 2015

Let Go and Let God

   The decision is made and we are finally sweeping the closets clean and moving to a darling down sized little home in Grand Junction. It is within walking distance to Mesa State University. We have merely delayed our Oregon dream for a year. Our golden Gracie is aged and we fear the move will be too stressful for her. I often arise at night and find her sitting up and staring into the thin mountain air. I have seen the look of death on our years at our rescue ranch. It was my responsibility as the man of the ranch to work with the Vet each and every time and animal went to rest. Each time a little bigger piece of my heart was opened. The hardest of all was the Raja and his wife Sage. I remember backing Sage out of the horse trailer she was terribly crippled. She was feisty and full of life in a crippled body. Her husband Boobala Raja yelled to her when he couldn't see her. He was a proud arrogant military horse who often ignored her until he couldn't see her and then he professed his love for her by yelling to her. The young Vet Tech assisting me looked at me in amazement and said, "They're married." I have looked death the destroyer in the eye each and every time I have laid an animal to rest. We have the time and wish to become part of the downsizing movement. My writing star is on the rise. I am reminded of a book that I have read Shambala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. In the book the author says that the majority of people have a setting sun mentality and that you need to expand your mind to have a Great Eastern Rising Sun Mentality. 

   This past summer my wife and I have renewed our wedding vows at the Ocean in Ventura, California. It was a simple ceremony between her and I sitting in our little chairs watching the sun set. We exchanged new silver rings, hers with ocean waves and mine with the mountains. I will take her to her rest in Oregon at the ocean's edge. Eagles mate for life. I am reminded by this each and every time we drive toward our new temporary home in Grand Junction. The trip leaves the lower mountains where we live and proceeds along I-70 west and the Colorado River into Hogbacks and then into Mesas. When you start down a long curving road that brings you to the rivers edge there is a sign for the entrance to the county that says "Welcome to Mesa County, the Home of Monuments, Mesas, and Memories." When you reach the rivers edge there is an Eagle Sanctuary along the river in the trees and in the spring like now, you can see the big white heads of the mother's brooding with the father sitting in the trees, his eye on the prize, the prey in the river. If you are lucky enough you may even see one on the wing , the prey in its talons for the young.

    A footnote ending. Our good friend Little Fox died tragically in a trailering accident.  Some day I will find the strength to write of it. To comfort our buddy Jack London who was devastated, we purchased an alpine goat named Daisy, who at the time was pregnant and we didn't know. She had Justin's Little Rose and eventually the whole family went to the Brand Inspector. The Brand Inspector's wife took a liking to our friend Jack and called to ask why he didn't like his grain. We explained that he preferred Folac and now Folac Jack gets his bucket every day and probably passed eating it. I have been taken by the name The Brand Inspector's Wife and I think it would make a good book title.

Now all the closets are swept and the spirits have been cleared. I hope that you have enjoyed the little foray in our Equine Rescue Ranch and journey into an awakening. All the characters have been set and one day, all the cats, horses, goats, and oh yes, the big cougar will make it into my masterpiece.

Beau reunited with his brother Murphy after a long absence.

Paramahansa Yogananda's Mahasamadhi is March 7.

Sri Yukteswar's Mahasamadhi is March 9.

They're Prayer
"Heavenly Father, it is Thou who dost diretly sustain my body. Awaken within me conscious will, conscious vitality, conscious realization, O Eternal Youth of body and mind, abide in me forever and forever."