Aspen Ski Vacation
In Aspen we didn’t end up in a bomb shelter this New Year’s and Charlie Sheen wasn’t arrested, but that town never lacks excitement. With not much snow yet, Aspen was so jammed during the day you couldn’t get into a restaurant and we were living on hotel pillow chocolates and these horrible protein balls that the crazy husband eats. I wouldn’t have minded joining the masses in the streets for the passed whiskey that flowed freely, but of course—you guessed it—we opted for seeking adventure and skiing on dirt. Hey, if adventure is what you’re after, snow conditions are perfect—in places the moguls are deep and carved up, in others the terrain looks like a glazed doughnut. I had to sidestep down a boulder field, dodge tumbling rocks, and ski right over a fallen tree. But it’s breathtaking to be absolutely alone on a mountainside, with no possibility of being medevaced. A ski instructor told us that a woman had taken too much cold medicine and fell asleep in the trees and her husband didn’t report her missing until 7 the next morning—right about the time the ski patrol found her when they did their morning sweep. Alive, fortunately. Where was the husband all night? Hmmm. I’ve got to write a story about this mystery. I wouldn’t try spending the night on the slopes, but if you ski near the trees or on the manufactured snow it’s not at all bad, and in any case, the excuse that I was “cold” didn’t work. The crazy husband rigged up my ski boots with two scrappy heaters and duct tape—I was a little ticked off, thinking that this really is getting to be pyromania, and that much of what I write in my novels is barely subliminal. With wires and flashing lights on my boots, I looked like a suicide bomber. My feet were on fire, but I have to admit that I was never cold once.
By the way, duct tape has a lot of uses—my dad always carries a roll when he travels to tape along the doorjamb in case of a hotel fire, and check out the rolls offered like toilet paper in the ski lodge! After all that fun on the hill, it was nice to get back into town, which is a character itself with its jeweled sweater dogs, the waiters from Transylvania, and the very popular former sheriff, Bob Braudis (hard to miss at 6’6”, long trench coat, shock of silver hair), who was buddies with Hunter S. Thompson. But when the always over-the-top fireworks rocked the town at midnight, I was too wiped out to watch, and the explosions only sounded like gunfire from my bed. On the flight home, it was nice to get upgraded to first class, but the dinner looked like what we’d been living on all week.