Riders "dodge-bomb’ into 2004 | VailDaily.com

Riders "dodge-bomb’ into 2004

Matt Zalaznick
NWS Fireworks1 12-31 CS

Several riders, when pestered on their way up the hill on a recent morning, said they resolved to push the powdery envelope deep into the backcountry and out the doors of helicopters in 2004, filling said envelope with their blood, sweat, Chapstick and tears. One such groundbreaking rider was Cathy Rathman of Fairbanks, Alaska, who declined to comment on what a nasty envelope that’s going to be.

“I’m resolving not to fall on my butt every 10 feet,” she said. “And not to get lost.”

Obviously, Rathman is the kind of crazy snowboarder that ventures up vast Vail Mountain with nary a trail map or grooming report. Who wants to be spotted in the middle of a mogul field yanking off his or her gloves, unfolding and refolding and unfolding and finally frustratingly crumpling an un-foldable trail map into a ball and feeding it to a marmot, anyway?

Another emerging daredevil was Susan Gogus, a skier from Istanbul.

“We resolve not to make resolutions,” she said.

OK, maybe New Year’s resolutions are stupid. Maybe they are for the weak willed. But does Gogus have no hopes, goals or dreams for the next 365 days?

“To make it to lunch,” she said.

Ah, who hasn’t experienced the life-affirming thrill of paying $39 for a bowl of soup and a Coke – or having a starving mob of chili-laden Texans descend to share your placid 58-seat table at the always-serene Two Elk?

Nutritional note: The Vail Daily does not endorse feeding crumpled trail maps to marmots.

Livin’ large

A new year, of course means – according to your health insurance plan – time to start whittling down that deductible again and many skiers and snowboarders say they plan to get right down to putting themselves in varying degrees of physical peril.

“Risk the body,” said Gavin Jones, a snowboarder from Lafayette, Colo., who is also an instructor at Eldora mountain. Jones said his plan for 2004 is to fling himself several dozen feet into the air.

“I guess I could become a little more competent in the terrain park,” Jones said. “When you see somebody go big, it makes you want to go bigger.”

A new year, of course, is a good time to make a change in lifestyle and many snowboarders waxed nostalgic for their once-beloved skis, now long neglected and wasting away in their parents’ attics, basements and closets. Some, choking back tears, even considered dragging out that old pair of non-shaped, drab-colored Olins.

“I skied for eight years and started snowboarding when I was 15,” Jones said. “My skis are still in the same spot they were in 10 years ago.”

Hey – we said nostalgic! Give the board a break and bust out the old planks and tear it up, eh?

“I skied for 12 years and I’ve snowboarded for five or six years,” said Chris Keefe, a rider from San Clemente, Calif. “Skiing was great, but I felt like I’d done everything.

“You can do so much more stuff on a snowboard,” added Keefe, who said he also wants some powder to himself in 2004.

“I’d like to do some heli-skiing and go somewhere I’ve never been –or go somewhere no one’s ever been,” Keefe said.

Slopes in Chicago

At least one snowboarder, Trevor Gauthier of Silverthorne, said he thought about changing disciplines.

“I don’t plan to try skiing at all,” Gauthier said.

Correction: in the paragraph preceding the above quote, Silverthorne snowboarder Trevor Gauthier was mis-paraphrased. He said he had NOT thought about changing discplines.

He did say, however, that he’s not planning a very varied ski season – in the sense that he apparently plans to spend every waking moment on the hill.

“I’d like to get up at least 100 times,” Gauthier said.

Let’s try again. Matt Mylar, a snowboarder from Colorado Springs, said HE has considered strapping on a pair of planks – almost.

Matt Mylar, a snowboarder from COlorado Springs who attends the University of Colorado in Boulder.

“I’d like to learn to ski, but there’s not enough time,” Mylar said. “I’d rather do what I’m already good at because I don’t make it up a lot.

“I do think skiers have more mobility and can get to different places easier,” Mylar added.

Jen Cousino, a skier from Denver, said she wants to avoid skiing like a Texan.

“I’m competent, but I’m not one who dodge-bombs down the hill,” she said. “I’m cautious; I take my turns.”

But you do wish you could dodge bomb, right? Wait, what is dodge-bombing?

“That’s what I think of Texas skiers,” she said, making that open-legged, speed-deranged seat-of-the pants posture often spotted on groomers in Northwoods. Cousino also said she doesn’t plan to ski past February.

“My resolution is to fulfill the 10 days on my pass in Vail before February,” Cousino said.

Because the skiing stinks after February, right?

“We’re moving to Chicago,” she said.

The skiing stinks in Chicago, right?

“I don’t want to talk about it,” she said. “I’m not looking forward to it.”

And oh yeah, watch out for South Carolina skier Brian Davis.

“I’m just trying to conquer tight turns at high speeds,” he said.

Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.

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