Ski Instructors Confidential: Moon rises early on Vail Mountain |

Ski Instructors Confidential: Moon rises early on Vail Mountain

Allen R. Smith
Special to the Vail Daily
Vail, CO Colorado

Spring skiing at Vail’s mountaintop beginner’s area, “Chair 15,” is a glorious experience. The views are spectacular and from the chairlift, one can see miles of Rocky Mountain splendor. One particular March day, the riders saw even more.

I was assigned a nice, Mexican lady and her two young daughters, who were never-ever skiers. They spoke very little English and being early in my teaching career, my ski school Spanish wasn’t much better. The lady somehow communicated to me that she had just bought a new pair of stretch pants, but read in a magazine that when skiing in the spring, it was customary to wear jeans. As a result, she was attired in brand new, tight-fitting blue jeans.

In those days, we taught beginners to get up after a fall using a three-step process. The first step was to lay face down on the snow in the position of a face down, snow angel. Step two was to push up onto the knees. Step three was to gradually push up until they were upright and bent over in a herringbone position. Most students found this procedure quite easy.

Recovering from her first fall, my lady instantly found her feet. Much to the surprise of those on the chair hovering above, there had been a clothing failure during the procedure.

My lady was half standing, bent over, with her heiney facing up at the riders. The entire seam of her new jeans had split from one knee, all the way around to the other. It wouldn’t have been so bad if she had been wearing anything underneath. But she wasn’t. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

My limited Spanish had not prepared me to inform her of the severity of her dilemma. First attempt: “You have split your pants.” Blank stare. No comprende. Then, I asked her, “Are you cold?” “No,” she replied. Finally, I just pointed to the flapping jeans. The response was an “AYE, YI YI!” heard around the mountain. She was, however, committed to finishing the lesson, which she did with my parka tied around her front and her own tied around the back.

After the lesson was over, one of my supervisors walked over to me and asked, “Can I safely assume someone has a rip in her pants?” I replied, “Yes, for the riders on Chair 15, the moon came out early today”

Debbie Blount

Vail, Colorado

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