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Leap year day leap of faith

Friends and family gather Monday at the Holy Cross observation deck atop Vail Mountain for the matrimony of Kate Dubtsova and John Gorsky. The couple wished to be married on leap year day.
Townsend Bessent | Townsend@vaildaily.com |

VAIL — Leap Day rolls around once every four years, so John Gorsky and Kate Dubtsova made theirs count.

They got married at 1:11 p.m., Feb 29, because that’s what they wanted.

Unlike tattoos and most political affiliations, it didn’t just seem like a good idea at the time, this idea actually is.



The site was the Don and June Simonton deck at Eagles Nest, atop Vail Mountain. Somewhere, Rev. Simonton was smiling.

“You look into your heart and decide whether to take that leap of faith,” John said. “We decided to take it, and it gave me a push in the right direction.”

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On Jan. 3, John asked Kate about getting married on Feb. 29.

“As a guy, I thought I could offer it up and she’d say no,” John said.

She said yes, and that’s how they ended up on the wedding deck on Leap Day.



“I knew you were the one when you gave up a 15 inch powder day in Steamboat,” Kate said.

He smiled like only a man in love can and said, “It was 17 inches,” as the crowd laughed, knowing he was on the winning end of that equation.

It turned cold during Monday’s ceremony as the storm front blew in, but Kate was raised in Kazakhstan. She studied English in college, wanted to travel after she graduated and landed in Summit County.

The road to love

It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but it came on pretty fast.

John was working in a local grocery store, and Kate came on board as a manager.

“When I saw her I grabbed a buddy’s arm and told him, ‘I think I’m in love,’” John said.

It turns out he was, and it also turned out she was his boss.

They started talking, as folks will do, and the next thing you know …

She was transferred to Summit County and he was transferred to Steamboat Springs. But, as through the ages, love will find a way. Usually, the way was over Rabbit Ears Pass.

The drives were occasionally eventful. They hit a couple deer along the road, including one on Kate’s first-ever motorcycle ride.

John’s senses were a little scrambled, as they would be when you get that sort of physics lesson in mass versus velocity.

The EMTs arrived and John couldn’t quite grasp why they wanted him to ride in their ambulance. He wanted to get back on his motorcycle.

Kate was still his boss at the time, so she bossed him into the ambulance.

The EMTs told her she couldn’t ride in the ambulance, which snapped John right to attention. They were going nowhere, he told them, unless she came with them. And so she did.

Their grocery store jobs ran their course, and John didn’t know what he wanted to do next, except he wanted Kate to be part of it.

She picked him up from skiing one day, and John was watching Kate instead of the road they were traveling.

He started talking around what he wanted to say, and after they were stopped, Kate looked him straight in his eyes and said, “Are you asking me to marry you?”

He hit his knee and popped the question.

She said yes.

Adventure awaits

So they had themselves an adventure.

They had Epic passes, so they headed west to Utah, and Kirkwood, Heavenly and Northstar in California.

They had their skis in the back of their Hyundai, but still managed to create enough room to sleep in the car — a motel every now and then, but then back in the car.

Along the way they stayed in Reno, Nevada, and John suggested getting married in a chapel there.

For one of the only times, Kate said no. Actually, she said John’s mom would be heartbroken if she wasn’t at her son’s wedding.

“Really? We’re not even married yet and you’re playing the mom card?” John asked.

Yes, she responded, she was.

“I was told you’re supposed to have two months’ salary in the bank. I didn’t have a job, but I had a fiancee,” John said.

He didn’t have a ring, but she has one now. Somehow a cheeseburger box worked its way into the picture of it, and his friends on social media kept asking, “Dude, tell me you didn’t propose with a Big Mac box.”

No, he didn’t propose with a Big Mac box. He proposed with his heart.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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