Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: The bold art of chutzpa | VailDaily.com
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Vail Daily columnist Richard Carnes: The bold art of chutzpa

Richard CarnesVail, CO, Colorado

Within a week of Vail’s very first Opening Day, and with barely enough snow to hide under if it didn’t work, founder Pete Seibert had the bravado to offer his new and untested slopes to the 1962 U.S. Alpine Ski Team for a training camp.With just the perfect amount of luck and confidence, it paid off in spades, immediately establishing the fledgling resort as a force in the industry to be reckoned with from that moment forward.Fast forward 49 years.Within 48 hours of his very first homecoming prom, and with barely enough testosterone to hide behind if it didn’t work, on Thursday, Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy sophomore Parker McDonald had the bravado to offer his fine and (I certainly hope …) untested self to the most successful American skier in ski-racing history, Lindsey Vonn.With just the perfect amount of luck and confidence, it paid off in spades, immediately establishing the young Nordic racer as a force in high school to be reckoned with from that moment forward.Exactly what kind of force remains to be seen, but this young man fulfilled the fantasy of just about every teenaged boy who has ever stood within shouting distance of the hottest girl in the room, only Mr. McDonald had the chutzpa to string a few words together in proper succession that actually made sense to the opposite sex.Yes, we all know teenage fantasies go way beyond verbal requests (at least for us guys, I seem to recall), but the point here is, just like Pete Seibert in 1962, you don’t have a prayer of making it to Phase 2 until first completing Phase 1.For Parker McDonald, it’s time to put a big ol’ checkmark in the Phase 1 box.He has become an overnight media sensation without doing anything wrong or stupid, without a viral video on YouTube, without embarrassment or shame to anyone, anywhere.He had the courage to ask a simple question, regardless of any potential reply, and Mrs. Vonn had the world-class sweetness to offer a simple answer, “Yes!”This was no marketing gimmick, nor was it a planned event for some early-season publicity, but a spontaneous response from a 27-year-old international celebrity visiting the same school she attended (back when it was only a tutorial program with no classrooms) and where she never had the opportunity to attend a simple school dance.Sure, she’s married (thank you, Thomas, for your apparently infinite patience), but that has no bearing on the long-term effects from last week’s pleasant surprise, much less Parker calling it, “The best night of my life!”From Pete, followed by hundreds of others, through Lindsey, and now Parker, Vail has always been a special place full of special people capable of special things.But either way, next year’s homecoming will, barring a surprise visit from Angelina Jolie, be one helluva letdown.Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.


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