Dec 6 Warren Miller comes to play
Three snow riding buddies carved their boards and skis across the freshly groomed slopes. The sky was a pure blue glowing overhead. Cookster, Barrman and the Big Boarder consumed the vertical of the mountainside and connected in an alpine wonderland.
As the lines grew longer time slowed. The connections continued as the three adventurous friends stood and waited for the return trip to the sun-baked mountaintop.
The story started in the lift line. But in reality, his story started long before that. Cookster looked to his friends and began to reminisce of simpler times on the ski hill. He began to tell his story of meeting a legend and his hero.
“Hey, cover your face please.” These words interrupted Cookster as the two snowboarders and one skier crossed the gates and glided to the loading area. The liftee looked past them at the group behind as a young skier pulled up his neck tube.
His mask painted with a smile, Cookster shrugged,” Let’s wait till we get on the lift. I have a great story to tell.”
The high-speed quad chair lift swung around and they eased themselves into the seats. With a rush, it lifted the friends back toward the top of the mountain.
The story was from a simple time and Cookster was with his father when they heard the news. Warren Miller was coming to the bar at the local ski hill to play the newest Warren Miller movie. Cookster loved his movies and had them all on VHS.
“Dad, I am going to see Warren Miller when he comes. I have to.”
Cookster’s dad looked over at his son. “ You aren’t allowed in the bar son, you’re too young.”
“Dad I am going, I can’t miss this chance.” Cookster stared at his Dad daring him to say no.
“OK, but don’t tell your mother.”
The big day arrived, Cookster and his dad walked up to the slope-side bar and stood outside in nervous anticipation.
Dad looked down at his seventeen-year-old son and smiled, “you wait here and count to fifty, then come in. I will be sitting in the back. Walk straight to my table, do not stop just come there and have a seat.”
The young man walked through the bar saw his dad and sat down. His dad grinned and slid a stubby bottle of the local brew toward his son. Cookster looked questioningly at the bottle of Kokanee in front of him, stunned, unsure what to say. His dad smiled and nodded to go ahead. The anxious teen hesitantly picked up the beer and took a quick deep drink from the ice-cold bottle.
It was at that point the waitress walked up to the two and frowned. ”You aren’t old enough to be in hear are you?”
Cookster’s dad interrupted her next words. “My son loves Warren Miller and he is here to see the show and get his autograph.”
“I’m sorry but I will have to see some ID.” The waitress nervously looked around as if she wanted to be anywhere else.
“Sorry, miss he is not going anywhere. You can call the police if you like, but he has already been drinking so they might frown on you for that.”
“He can stay for the show, but no more drinking.” The flustered young lady turned and stormed off.
The movie began and the two men, father, and son connected to the amazing stunts and scenic turns of a Warren Miller movie live in person. After the show, Warren himself stopped to say hello to the father and son duo.
“Hello Mr. Miller, my son has been your biggest fan for the longest time. He has every one of your movies and watched them all at least three times.” Cookster’s smiling dad handed the movie icon the VHS tape of the newest Warren Miller movie.
Warren Miller smiled back and signed his name with a flourish. ”Son you should come to the lift first thing in the morning and ski a few runs with us.”
Cookster couldn’t believe his ears and he almost fell over his tongue,” Yes sir I would love that…”
Cookster woke up way earlier than everyone else, he paced through the house dressed and ready. By six am the excited young skier stood with his equipment ready and a smile painted on his face. They arrived at the base of the ski hill at seven am and he stood in anxious excitement waiting for his hero to arrive. The next two hours felt like the longest moments in the young man’s life.
By 8:45 they had started to load the old wooden T-Bar and Cooksters dad pushed off toward the lift. ”Son I’m going to do a lap, don’t leave without me.”
Cookster was paralyzed by the excitement and waited for his idol to appear. He stood watching the Tees come swinging out of the wooden hut at the bottom of the hill. With each turn of the diesel-powered bullwheel he counted down the seconds waiting in pensive anticipation. Caught between anguish and glory the young skier stood feeling mocked by each T as it swung past.
His dad returned to the lift and waved to his perplexed son. Still no Warren Miller, Cookster thought he would burst.
From the corner of his eye came a flurry of activity. Then they walked up to the lift, Warren, his cameraman, and an entourage of excited skiers. Cookster slid over. “Hello Mr. Miller, my name is Cookster and you invited me to ski, is that still ok?”
“Young man, I can’t wait to see you ski.” With that, the ski legend pushed off toward the lift.
Cookster finished the last of his story as the three riding buddies slid off the top of the chair lift… ”And that was one of the best days of my life.”
A sense of normalcy descended on the three men. For a moment they forgot about all the chaos of the coronaverse and connected in the exciting telling of a story from days long past.