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blog: Growing up in Vail

Christopher KlaschikVail CO, Colorado
Christopher Klaschik
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Once upon a time. No, no thats not right. This by no means is a Fairy Tale. And then again, I guess it was a fairy tale growing up in Vail!

It all started when my father had business in Denver. My parents flew to Denver from Indianapolis in November 1971. I was 6 years old at the time and stayed with friends back in Indy. Some friends of my parents told them that they should head over the pass and check out this beautiful European village called Vail. At that time, the Eisenhower Tunnel was not complete so they went via the Loveland Pass. My mother tells me that when they got out of the rental car the first thing she heard was the bells from the chapel. She was so thrilled by the sound and the area that it reminded her of her home back in Germany. You see my whole family, mom, dad, brother and sister are all from Germany. I am the only Damn Yankee in the bunch. Not adopted, mind you, but born in the states none the less. Anyway, where was I Oh yes, the bells! So she told father that this is the place to be. Long story short they sold the house in Indy and loaded the U-Haul. My sister stayed behind with friends to finish school and my brother wasnt about to leave his beloved Indianapolis. I officially became a Vail-ite in 1972.The folks decided to open the now infamous Hansel & Gretel restaurant located in Lionshead next to the old Gondola building. For all of you that dont remember, Vail had two Gondolas. The first in the village where the Vista Bahn is and the second in Lionshead. There was a very tragic accident with the Gondola in Lionshead and since the one in the village was older they decided to dismantle the village Gondola and revamp the Lionshead one. I was attending Vail Mountain School which was accessed by bus, riding my bike or walking. I found the time to come up with some real whoppers to tell my mom just in case she found out what I did. Like I said earlier they always knew before I got to the restaurant. But I think deep down they loved hearing my stories. Punishment was sitting in the corner of the kitchen right next to the oven on the greasy floor where my mom could keep an eye on me. She would stand there waving her wooden spoon yelling at me all the while getting the food out. I was tucked away like a scared Raccoon in a dumpster. Oh those were the days. And then, after a few punishing hours, I would sneak behind the bar and suck down as much Maraschino Cherries as I could. Yummy! Most of my friends parents owned restaurants or shops in the area so we all got to hang together and keep each other busy taunting the tourists and Bumper Skitching on the town bus.There was one man, one special man, that also watched out for us. Officer Oscar Holden. I remember Oscar picking me up in the village somewhere and driving me back into Lionshead in his patrol car. Wow, that was fun. Fun enough to get into trouble just to get a ride and play with all the cool stuff in his car. Or ask him questions about bad people or who he arrested that day. Not much crime back then. It was the usual drunk tourist or local getting out of hand. Nothing to serious that I remember. I really miss him. Speaking for all of us kids growing up back then he was a great man and an awesome cop! Okay, okay I need to move on now, Im getting a little verklepmt here.More next week!

Christopher Klaschik can be reached at klaschikart@hotmail.com.


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