Bridge bustling from Vail to Cordillera |

Bridge bustling from Vail to Cordillera

Carolyn Pope
Special to the Daily/Carolyn PopeJoni Maxwell, Marcia McCalden, Rebecca Matlon and Tom McCalden

CORDILLERA – There’s some serious stuff going down Monday afternoons in the Cordillera Valley Club. A group that sometimes swells as large as 40 is coming together, stealthily, and planning to change the world. Watching them, you can almost see the brain cells regenerate. Stone-faced, they plan their next move, how to out-maneuver, out-think and out-play their opponents. One hand at a time.You may still consider it your parents’ game. Yet, if you have some spare time on your hands that you’d like to spend at a thinking man’s game, this could just be the answer. In a world filled with “Halo” and “Lara Craft, Tomb Raider,” Bunko, and “Alias”, bridge is, believe it or not, new, fresh and stimulating. Headed up by bridge guru Marcia McCalden and her husband, Tom, the group meets each Monday afternoon at Chaparral. It’s only $5 to join and $10 during the summer, but that includes the buffet lunch. The club also meets on Wednesday evenings at the Sandstone Creek Club in Vail.When the McCaldens arrived in the valley in 1998, each Wednesday night a regular group gathered at the Evergreen Lodge. Marcia took over the Vail Bridge Club in 2000, and, after taking an exam to become an official bridge director, the club is now nationally sanctioned. The Bridge Club has spawned many smaller bridge groups that meet all over the valley, which often attract 30 to 40 players, many of whom are visitors to the valley.

Maureen Kirsch, who splits her time between Vail and New York, has been playing 12 years.”I was retired and wanted to keep my mind active,” She said. “I like the competition.”Duplicate bridge has been in existence in the valley since the early days as a social game until the club was sanctioned in 2001 and became an official member of the American Contract Bridge League, capable of issuing master points for club winners. The club has many accomplished players who not only play here in the valley, but travel far and wide to attend regional and national tournaments.With thousands of people attending these tournaments nationwide, Tom McCalden hopes that, once the convention center is built in Vail, the town might draw a national bridge tournament to the valley. His heart is definitely in the game – he met Marcia playing bridge and now has a partner for life.Dee Androus has been playing four years. She says bridge is a game of communication, and great for the brain. Apparently, she’s on the right track. Recent studies from University of California at Berkeley show that after only an hour and a half of playing bridge, healthy white blood cell counts increase, giving players an improved immune system.

So, it’s clear -to invigorate your health, meet new friends and keep your mind challenged, bridge can be the answer.==========================================Heard at high altitudeApparently, some elk don’t know about biting the hand that feeds you. “BV,” a Beaver Creek Snowboard instructor, had an antlered friend at the door. Retrieving some lettuce from his fridge, he tried to make friends with the wildlife. The elk, however, thought that his gesture was actually competition, and knocked him on his hind side. So much for being kind to the local wildlife!==========================================

==========================================To Learn MoreFor more information regarding bridge in the valley, call Tom and Marcia McCalden at 926-9326.==========================================Vail, Colorado

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