Terror on cold, dark Latigo | VailDaily.com

Terror on cold, dark Latigo

Compiled by Allen R. Smith

At the beginning of the week, I was booked for a private lesson with Adele, a sophisticated, middle-aged woman hailing from the south. She progressed quite well and we continued to ski Vail Mountain for the rest of the week.

On Friday, she and her traveling companions were in the mood for something different, so we agreed to drive over to Beaver Creek and spend the day on their intermediate slopes.

At the end of the day, while I was leading her down Latigo, the sun rapidly dipped below the horizon, sending deep, cold shadows across the front of the mountain.

Arriving at the top of a relatively steep face, Adele suddenly froze, losing all of the confidence she had accumulated from the week before.

“Steve, Steve, ah can’t move,” she screamed down at me. Exasperated, I yelled back up to her, “Adele, you’ve got to come down. It’s getting dark and the mountain is going to close.”

Once again, Adele screamed down at me, “Steve, Steve, ah can’t move. Ahm stuck. Ahm froze up!”

Just about this time, a group of 10 snow cats rounded the corner behind her and started to descend Latigo with their sirens blaring and lights flashing. I screamed up at her, “Adele, come on, the snow cats are coming.”

Glancing behind her with a look of terror, Adele instantly dropped down into a tuck position and shot straight down the face, blowing past me where I was waiting for her.

Since that day, Adele has become one of my most treasured clients skiing with me at least once a year. But she still accuses me of calling mountain operations to have a posse of snow cats chase her off of Beaver Creek Mountain.

” Stephen DeGroat, Vail

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