Miss Stuckinslush brings out the beach chairs | VailDaily.com

Miss Stuckinslush brings out the beach chairs

Daily Staff Report

Years ago, I was teaching at a small Australian resort called Smiggen’s Hole. It was the last day of the season and the snow had turned to rain-drenched slop. No one felt like teaching. So, to while away the time, the non-working instructors collected inside the base lodge to guzzle large schooners of beer, which inspired them to harass those of us that were working.The director came up to me and said, “Karl, I need a big favor. We have one person that showed up for ski school and someone needs to give her a class. Just give her a couple of hours. I would really appreciate it.” How could I refuse?Ms. Wipplestein was a big woman. A little over 5 feet, she must have weighed 300 pounds. Because of the deteriorating conditions, I was forced to conduct the lesson outside the lodge where my inebriated friends happily provided me with moral support.With lousy end-of-the-season snow and only two hours to work with, I thought, “What on earth am I going to teach her?” When she informed me that she didn’t know how to turn, I knew with her size that a straight run would send her crashing into the ice-cold creek at the bottom of the hill. So, I decided to focus on her snowplow. I lured her down the mountain as she started to master the art of speed control. The next time we pushed off from the top, I decided to try teaching her how to turn. She started off with a nice turn to the right, then one to the left. I glanced up briefly at the gaggle of instructors making faces at me through the windows. When my eyes returned to Ms. Wipplestein, she had abandoned all attempts at turning and was heading straight for the creek. Picking up speed, I yelled at her, “Miss Wipplestein! Sit down! Sit down!” I knew that if she reached the water, things would get ugly.Miraculously, Ms. Wipplestein spread her skis and sat down. She hit the slop with such force, that she plowed up to her neck in the heavy, wet snow. After several futile attempts to pull Ms. Wipplestein from the slush, I motioned for the instructors to come out and help me. Being true professionals, they immediately snapped into action: They ran out onto the snow with their beach chairs.- Karl Hochtl, VailVail, Colorado

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