Sensational Saturday at Minturn Market
Editor’s note: Dick Hauserman is the author of “The Inventors of Vail” and a regular contributor to the Vail Daily. These are his weekly impressions from the Minturn Market, where he signs copies of his book at the Vail Daily tent Saturday mornings.
The Minturn Market Saturday was more active than usual, despite the other festivals going on in the area. Things were really buzzing from one end of the market to the other.
Sitting next to me in the Vail Daily tent was a close friend of 40 years -Scott Carpenter, one of America’s first astronauts and a member of the original Mercury Seven who went into space in 1962.
Scott’s new book, “For Spacious Skies,” is a must read. This was evident when a line began to form 45 minutes before the market was scheduled to open for business.
The crowds were so overwhelming, all of Scott’s books were sold out by 10:30 a.m. Scott promised to come back to the market this Saturday with plenty more books.
It was a thrill for me to watch the action. Even young children between 5- and 10-years-old were in awe of shaking hands with one of our national heroes, who happens to live part-time in East Vail. Although he ran out of books early, Scott stayed until noon greeting and taking pictures with his many fans.
When I asked Scott to give me his reaction to his time at the market he said, “It was the most fun I ever had at a book signing.
“This is the salt of the earth – people with an honest interest in their community,” he added. “The people you meet in this part of the country – the High Country – are the best in the world.”
The lost boy
Midway through the morning, a 53-year-old man sat down beside me to say “hello.” It was Marty Koether, who, as a 14-year-old boy scout from Winnetka, Ill., was lost in the yet-to-be-developed Game Creek Bowl on April 1, 1964.
What a surprise to meet him after nearly 40 years. I had never met him, but I was part of the famous all-night search that filled the entire town with grief.
Near the end of a day of skiing 40 years ago, Marty made a wrong turn into Game Creek Bowl. Near the bottom, in deep snow, he lost his skis. Being a boy scout, he had the presence of mind to bed down for the night in the hollow around a pine tree.
I was a leader of a search team that included Pepi Gramshammer and Ricky Candenmattin, an elite Swiss ski instructor from Zermatt. We scoured the mountain until 3 a.m. and I remember feeling a kindred spirit with Marty.
The next day, after Marty’s exhausting all-day climb, he was spotted by the ski patrol around 4 p.m. The news spread fast and jubilation and celebration embraced the town.
Last week was Marty’s first trip back to Vail since that ill-fated day and he could not believe his eyes as to how much Vail had developed. Marty, his family and friends are planning a 40th anniversary reunion on Vail Mountain in April at the top of “Lost Boy” in the now heavily traveled Game Creek Bowl.
It is always nice to know more facts about the topics about which one writes.
Chuck Wiester, a longtime resident of Minturn, was nice enough to stop by to tell me why Minturn’s railroad roundhouse was built back in the town’s mining days. During the cold winter months, it was difficult to clean the locomotive engines – it was just too cold.
The roundhouse was built over a warm spring that gave off enough heat to keep the engines warm. The spring is still visible from U.S. Highway 24, just west of the Eagle River Inn. It is filled with algae and never freezes in the winter.
A nice man, Walt Fox, reminded me that there was a ski shop in Minturn before Vail was founded. The Fox Ski and Rental Shop operated in the 1950’s and was owned by Walt’s aunt, Jerry Fox.
All in all, it was a very active Saturday – not only at the book signing, but throughout the bustling market. Highlights included Scott Carpenter’s appearance, a special chef appearance and fantastic grilled shrimp and fresh corn-salsa appetizer from the staff at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, not to mention the jazzy sounds of the Kathy Morrow-Gabriel Trio that filled the air with familiar tunes.
The entire market seemed to have an electric atmosphere with everyone having a good time.
Stop by and say, “Hello,” this Saturday!
Under the sea, by way of the stars
by Randy Wyrick
As a boy growing up in Colorado, Vail resident M. Scott Carpenter, astronaut and deep-sea explorer, had a clear view of the stars and a clear dream to be among them.
He chased his dream to the Mercury space program and beyond. A lifetime of curiosity resulted in his book, “For Spacious Skies: The Uncommon Journey of a Mercury Astronaut.”
It’s more than a space man’s memoir, said Carpenter.
“The book is about Mercury space flight, the pioneering days of the U.S. space program, and my marvelous Colorado family,” said Carpenter, who will be signing books at Saturday’s Minturn Market along with Vail pioneer Dick Hauserman.
“The book really came from my need to write about my grandfather, who was my father figure,” said Carpenter. “He was a sainted man, and I wanted to honor him.”
Carpenter’s daughter is a writer and an editor of long experience, and was having no more of her father’s procrastination on the project.
“She got after me and we decided to work together on it,” said Carpenter. “I had procrastinated for about as long as I could. All the other guys in the Mercury group, except Gus Grissom, had written a book.
“Part of the motivation was that I wanted to set the record straight on some of the facts.”
Carpenter said his grandfather was a pioneer in a different time. He was born in Colorado while it was still a territory. He edited two newspapers, the Idaho Springs Enterprise while serving as the county clerk in Idaho Springs, and later started the Boulder County Miner and Farmer. His style earned him the nickname, the “Stormy Petrel” of Colorado Journalism, named for the fearless sea bird.
“He was a wise, patient man. He was my hero. When we got into the story and went through family archives, my mother turned out to be a true hero, as well,” Carpenter said. “Part of the book deals with her life with tuberculosis, and how she rose above it.”
Carpenter joined the Navy in 1949, which led him to NASA. He was one of the original seven Mercury astronauts on April 9, 1959. He flew the second American manned orbital flight on May 24, 1962, when he piloted his Aurora 7 spacecraft through three revolutions of the earth.
Carpenter’s book has been a critical and commercial success. At last week’s Minturn Market, he was sold out by around 10:30 a.m.
“I’m pleased, but didn’t know what to expect,” said Carpenter. “I’m glad to see that people are interested, but success is all relative. Current commercial literary successes will be measured against Hillary’s book.”