Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Have shovel, will dig |

Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: Have shovel, will dig

Richard Carnes
Vail, CO, Colorado

28 years in Happy Valley, 28 ski seasons, and not a single time have I dropped anything off a chairlift other than the occasional immature act of kicking skis together to surprise unsuspecting dweebs below with a quick blanket of flakes.

My wife, on the other hand, is another story.

During a recent “girls ski day,” a group of ladies was playfully enjoying a powder day in the back bowls, carving through the trees and yelling whatever it is that girls shout out when having an exceptional day in the pow pow.

Upon loading Chair 17, my bride does what she normally does whenever she has at least 30 seconds of down time – she pulls out her phone. No particular reason, it’s just that someone might have called, or sent a message, or updated Facebook, etc.

You know, important stuff.

Support Local Journalism

Anyway, as soon as they passed Tower 1 she whipped it out, only this time her wallet (a pink metal thingy for credit and business cards) attached itself to her gloved-fingers long enough to make it out of the pocket as well, allowing gravity to do its job of pulling it straight down into at least a foot of fresh snow.


By the time they skied back down, the fluffy powder had already been pushed around enough to eliminate any chance of finding it quickly, so a group decision was made to continue enjoying the day and deal with it later.

Which meant it was now my problem, of course.

We had to wait four flippin’ days before it was warm and sunny enough to give it a shot (last Tuesday), as I refused to be miserably wet and cold while digging below in wet snow and listening to sarcastic digs from the those riding the chair directly above.

With a shovel provided by Ski Patrol and a snarky “Good luck!” from those in red, we skied down through the crusty powder to begin the process.

Forty-five minutes of solid digging was highlighted by a constant stream of comments overhead.

“What’re you digging for?”

“Did you lose something?”

“Who you burying?”

“Ha-ha! Drop your phone?… Loser!”

Resisting the urge to respond in kind, I simply yelled “HER wallet!” repeatedly without wasting the energy to look up (or give them the benefit of thinking I could hear).

Completing a very symmetrical and methodical 5 by 15 by 3-foot trench in about an hour, my cross-hatch technique of shoveling suddenly welcomed me with a metallic ding! Lo and behold, about 18 inches deep, I actually found the silly thing.

Who’d a thunk? Certainly not me.

With proper thanks to T.P. and J.P. up at HQ of P, we rewarded ourselves with lunch at the 10th, followed by drinks and dessert at my single favorite place in all of Vail to hang out in the beautiful Rocky Mountain sunshine – Pepi’s deck.

Sheika’s hospitality and graciousness as a host was as unmatched as ever, and it was there I promised my lovely wife that I would not write a word about it, but only if she promised to leave her phone in her jacket for the rest of the afternoon.

Ahem … I rest my case.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at

Support Local Journalism