Florida man’s lost ashes claimed by friend who’ll spread them in Vail’s Back Bowls
VAIL — This is a happy ending story about one man’s end, and his circuitous route to Vail’s famous Back Bowls.
Ray Flow and Darrell McCall were friends for almost 60 years and skied Vail for at least half of that.
Flow and his family lived in Palm Beach, Florida, on the water. But part of him wanted to live in the mountains, and so part of him does.
McCall and Flow were part of a crew that started coming to Colorado in the 1980s, setting up in some central location and skiing all around the region.
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They settled on Vail, and McCall had a place on Whiskey Hill for the better part of two decades.
The Gator Club
Cancer finally got Flow last year, so Flow’s wife and several friends from the Palm Beach ski club, The Gator Club, were in Vail last week. They made the pilgrimage to the top of Chair 3, looking west over the Back Bowls where Ray loved to ski.
They took in the spectacular view, swapped some stories and spent some time, as friends should, and spread some of Flow’s ashes.
Most of the group headed back down Vail Mountain, but McCall decided he wanted to take a run or two in his old friend’s honor — and to sprinkle some ashes in their beloved Back Bowls.
He skied down to the spot he wanted, but when he reached into his pocket, the small can of ashes was gone. He fretted a little, but not long, and finally decided that the can would eventually give way and the ashes would spread themselves.
“He’ll be on the mountain somewhere,” McCall finally decided.
McCall later told Tom Higgins with Vail’s American Ski Exchange about it. They smiled and laughed, and didn’t think about it much more until Higgins spotted a small story in Thursday’s Vail Daily.
Higgins called McCall.
“Those ashes you lost? They found them,” Higgins told McCall.
Last Thursday, Feb. 8, some of the folks working in Vail Mountain security were skiing under Chair 26 on Vail Mountain and spotted the small metal can.
They listed it in the company’s lost and found and contacted the Vail Daily to help spread the word.
By Friday morning, the ashes were claimed. By early March, part of Ray Flow will live forever right where he wanted.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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It’s fitting that Eagle County is proceeding through its reopening phases of COVID-19 in an analogy to ski run difficulties — green to blue to black. Monday marks the transition from the green beginner phase to the blue intermediate phase.