For the sixth winter in a row, my slowly dwindling family of three (once a nice, uneven five) has the resort ski mountain-aided privilege of traveling every other weekend for junior-level ski races.From as far south as Purgatory all the way north to Sun Valley, Idaho, we've spent at least a weekend at just about every resort in between with enough vertical to place a dead minimum of two dozen gates in the fall line of budding tween and teen ski racers.And these aren't just dorky kids on expensively curved sticks, but those with enough cajones (or whatever the female version is) to pound through questionable conditions toward a blue line in a nowhere-near-home finish arena.This past weekend was a visit to Mitt Romney territory, so we padded our luggage with mucho bottles of fire water and anything else we might not be able to purchase while enjoying the latest snow dumps that Park City had to enjoy.Six hours is a long way to drive, and I'm spoiled enough (my wife calls it self-pampered) to use wings if six hours and one minute, but we made the northern route drive in about 5:45 with only one quick stop, so I didn't complain too much (out loud).Qualifying U-14 boys and girls from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail had earned the right to compete in an Intermountain Division Junior Championship qualifier (Colorado is in the Rocky Mountain Division, duh ...). Even if a Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete won, though, they would, of course, not actually qualify for another division's championships. But that was not the point.The simple honor of representing their club, hometown and state takes precedence, at least as far as the parents are concerned. But to these young men and women, I do believe it's the thrill of competition, combined with running around a hotel at night looking for members of the opposite gender to impress by doing or saying something "stupid" or "sick."My, my, how things have not changed.Anyway, I must admit most of my polygamy jokes went unappreciated by the masses (who knew they were so damned sensitive), yet in spite of all the silly stereotypes, Park City is a pretty cool place.Not only were they hosting our kids, but the FIS Snowboard Championship finals were taking place at the same time, and the town was full of more saggy pants and too-cool-for-school attitudes than Golden Peak will be this weekend.At the risk of sounding pretentious (oh no, Richard, say it isn't so), suffice it to say Ski Club Vail kicked some Latter-day Saints squarely in their magic underwear.Seriously, not only did our Vail girls do themselves proud, but the boys owned the podium and took 80 percent of the Top 10s across the board.Not too shabby.But here's my favorite moment: At this tiny little market right next to our hotel (and by tiny I mean smaller than the discount ticket window in Vail Village), I was standing patiently in line when an older lady in front of me complained about the ridiculously high price for a single bottle of Gatorade."That seems awfully high for just one bottle," she snorted. Without missing a beat, and of course having no clue where the now snickering man behind the lady was from, responded: "Yeah, well, at least we not as expensive as Vail."I felt so proud.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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