Vail character: Mac "Macaroni" McEachron
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado –Eight years ago, Mac “Macaroni” McEachron began writing down the funny things that children in his ski school classes would say.
He self-published the collection in his book, “Macaroni’s Kids,” which is available at Scully’s in Eagle-Vail and The Bookworm of Edwards. Macaroni’s own good humor and humble nature is apparent when you read the “Caveat” page at the beginning of his book.
“Do not read this book if: You have an IQ exceeding 40; You don’t like kids; You don’t enjoy kids’ humor; You only read books written by professional authors.”
Vail Daily: How long have you lived in the valley? Where did you live before?
Mac McEachron: My wife, Mary Jane, and I moved to Vail from Minneapolis in 1994. We have been full-time residents here since.
VD: What prompted you to dedicate your retirement years to working with kids?
MM: I have been an entrepreneur most of my business life. I sold my barrel recycling business, Western Container LLC, in Brighton, and was looking for something to do.
I have always gotten along well with children and dogs so I decided to contact Patty Wall, the Vail Resorts children’s age 3 to 6 ski school supervisor at Golden Peak. She took a chance and hired me in 2000 and I’m still there. I really enjoyed coaching kids. Kari Corbin then hired me as a camp counselor at Camp Vail in 2002 and I was there six years.
I took these jobs as life has been good for me and I wanted to “give something back” to children.
VD: In the book you say “every child needs a coach.” Tell me a little bit about your philosophy when it comes to kids.
MM: All children, in my opinion, benefit greatly by having a coach. I try to serve as their mentor by really getting to know them and their special needs. Kids generally feel free to be open with me, and I’m one of their strongest supporters.
Coaching young students all starts with having fun. I employ a number of techniques wherein kids can have fun in my class, and this is discussed in my book.
The second most important part of my job is to instill a strong sense of self confidence in each student. I am their biggest fan and supporter, and I emphasize what they are doing right versus what they are doing wrong.
Once kids are having fun and felling good about themselves and their coach, then it is easy to teach skiing and learn wilderness skills.
VD: What made you start writing down the funny stories you heard while coaching kids?
MM: My wife, Mary Jane, gave me a number of “Nothing Books” which contain blank pages for writing notes. I had been writing notes about my business experiences for years and decided to record humorous comments made by kids. I’ve coached over 1,000 children as a Vail Resorts ski instructor and Camp Vail counselor, and I accumulated a large number of their funny stories.
Andy Linke, from Vail, was a fellow counselor at Camp Vail. I told him that I was writing a book about ski school and camp kids and would he be interested in doing a cartoon illustration for each story. He accepted and “Macaroni’s Kids” is a result of our joint effort. The book was written “for the kids” and these are their stories.
VD: Can you share one of those funny stories with us?
MM: The funniest story is difficult to pick but I guess “Safety Lesson” on page 23 of the book would be my choice.
“During a mid June day at Camp Vail, I was entertaining a small group of 7- and 8-year-olds by sliding down the remaining snow on the upper part of the Avanti ski run. Several kids would sit behind me on my space blanket and I would use my ice axe as a snow brake. Late spring snow conditions existed, with several small pine trees and rocks protruding out of the snow. Just as I started down the slope for the first time, 7-year-old Hannah was waiting her turn along the side of the trail and she shouted, ‘Macaroni, be careful or you’ll hurt your nuts!'”
Hannah is not her real name.
High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.