Thursday, October 23, 2008

October 27, 2008-Back in the Day of Skiing


Consider This for October 27, 2008-Back in the Day of Skiing

Nostalgia. Memories flashing in my brain as I stare out the window last Wednesday during our first real snowstorm. It was raining, sleeting and snowing all at the same time.

It actually snowed twice at my house in August, twice in September but this was the first real snow where it stuck to the ground for any length of time.

I moved to Colorado in May of 1970. I drove to Summit County about the same time and decided that someday I would live here. I finally moved to the mountains in April of 1974 after driving up here just about every day when the lifts were open.

In May of 1970 there were two ski areas in Summit County. A Basin and Breckenridge. Keystone opened that fall and Copper Mountain opened in the fall of 1972. I was on one of the first lifts at both ski areas on opening day. I was obsessed.

In 1970 I 70 was not finished and the Eisenhower tunnel was under construction. The Eisenhower bore westbound opened in 1973 and the Johnson bore eastbound opened in 1979. I was part of the construction crew of the Johnson bore and did the concrete on Vail Pass before that part of the intestate was finished.

It was a different world when you had to drive from Denver to Summit County on the old Highway 6 over Loveland Pass. Parts of I 70 has been finished in the spring of 1970 but you would go from four lanes to two lanes back and forth all the way to Dillon.

I decided early on that I would ski all of the ski areas in Colorado. I actually drove to Aspen early in the morning from Denver and then drove back that night. I remember sleeping in my car many nights in parking lots at ski areas. One was a parking lot where the first parking structure is in Vail at Bridge Street.

I skied Monarch and Purgatory. I slept in a camper trailer owned by a friend in Steamboat many weekends. No running water so after three days I could not stand myself let alone my friends.

My skis were used Sears Aluminum skis with steel edges and were 250 cm. I learned to ski at Loveland Ski Basin where lift tickets were $4 a day. I think lessons were about the same price. I built immense thighs trying to turn my 250s coming down the hill in the traditional snowplow. My ski pants were jeans. My ski jacket was light nylon with a heavy sweatshirt underneath. After my first run I was soaking wet. Lunch was chili on a paper plate covered with cheese and a glass of beer. We would go to the Red Ram in Georgetown for Apres Ski.

I decided to join the Ski Patrol and a friend was on the patrol at Geneva Basin over Guanella pass from Georgetown. When it came time to train there was no snow at Geneva Basin so I trained at A Basin. I thought I was going to die. We had to put skins on our skis (remember mine were 250 Cm) and then ski up the hill. The hardest part was moving the skis.

My boots were low hard leather and my bindings were Marker bindings with a spring loaded thing to hold them to my boots. Of course that did not work. If you set them to release they would release all the time. If you tighten them so they would stay on then you had the potential of a broken leg. What a dilemma. And yes I did eventually buy a pair of compound skies and real boots with real bindings.

I finally gave up skiing as a bad habit in the 1980s after spending many days not skiing but standing in lift lines. Everytime I mention that I am reminded by my friends that there are now high speed quad lifts and gondolas to zip you up the mountain quickly. I will leave that for younger folk. I do miss the chili with cheese on a paper plate though.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

October 20, 2008-Election Picks


Consider This for October 20, 2008-Election Picks

Two weeks from tomorrow the polls will open at 7 a.m. and the race will have begun. I hope that most of you have already voted by either mail or early voting. If you did then you can kick back and just listen to the results as they come in during the day.

The following is the way I will be voting this election. I am not necessarily endorsing any candidates or issues but I want you to know what and who I will be voting for this election.

I am going to vote for Barack Obama for President. That other guy scares the heck out of me. If you liked George W. Bush then vote for the other guy. If you like the mess we have in our economy with deregulation and a free market and what has happened in Iraq then vote for the other guy.

Mark Udall is my pick for United States Senator. I have known Mark personally for many years and you will never find a better man. His opponent has painted Mark as being scary but he is not. He has been a great Colorado State Representative, United States Congressman and will be a wonderful United States Senator.

I do not like either candidate to replace Mark so I will toss that one to you.

Dan Gibbs replaced me at the Colorado House of Representatives and he was appointed to replace Joan Fitzgerald when she resigned. I am voting for Dan. He has a great background working in Washington D.C. and has been very effective at the legislature. His opponent has no experience as an elected official or in government.

Christine Scanlan hit the ground running when she replaced Dan at the State House of Representatives. I have known her for a very long time and we are truly blessed to have her represent us in Denver. She is one of the hardest working people I know. Her opponent is living in fairyland. He has more money than good sense. His proposals all sound nice but he has yet to realize that we have already tried everything he is proposing. We had a statewide election on the monorail and it failed and only passed in a couple of counties. There is not enough money on this planet to take care of the pine beetle problem and there are literally hundreds of people working today to solve the issue.

Karn Stiegelmeier is my pick for County Commissioner in District three. I have known and worked with her for many years and she is an excellent fit for Summit County. She truly has the hearts and minds of our citizens as she considers the future of our wonderful county. I do not know anyone who loves this place more than she does.

Thomas Davidson is the best person for County Commissioner in District two. I have worked with him for many, many years and there is no one in this county who understands land use and social issues better than Thomas.

On Question 1A for Summit County I am voting against the question. I feel the question is very poorly worded and too open ended. I would like to see the commissioners sharpen their pencils and come back with a better proposal. I support the Open Space part of the question but it gets very iffy after that. Why not have an Open Space question that will pass with flying colors and then another question about the other issues?

On the ballot questions I would ask that you look them up. I am only going to refer to the number and my pick. I am against the Union Bills and a couple of the “Let’s Add More Stupid Stuff” to our constitution questions. Amendment 46 No, Amendment 47 Yes, Amendment 48 No, Amendment 49 Yes, Amendment 50 No, Amendment 51, yes, Amendment 52, No, Amendment 53 (Pulled), Amendment 54, No, Amendment 55 (Pulled), Amendment 56, (Pulled), Amendment 57, (Pulled), Amendment 58, Yes, Amendment 59, Yes, Referendum L, Yes, Referendum M, Yes, Referendum N, Yes, Referendum O, Yes.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

October 13, 2008—The Very Best Time of The Year


Consider This for October 13, 2008—The Very Best Time of The Year

This is the very best time of the year.

Looking out the window by my desk I can’t see a cloud in the sky. It is as if there is a very large, blue bowl over the world without imperfection and colored the very best color of blue.

As I write this it is 2:46 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon October 8, 2008 and life is good.

The stock market is taking its daily crash and McCain and Obama are both still trying to kill each other but life is good.

It is 65 degrees right now. The poor people in the south have to spend billions of dollars each day just to have 65 degrees.

In September I had several 20 degree mornings and that was nice too. It is a precursor to things to come. Happens every year and will always happen every year.

The Aspen trees are still turning. They are so very late this year. That is fine. More time to enjoy them. I have lived here for nearly forty years and they normally turn around September 15th give or take a week. Not this year. They waited longer to give us even more brilliant colors to enjoy.

My son’s dog wants out every five minutes. She is not stupid. She knows that out is so much better than in. She wanders around the house with the large Frisbee in her mouth as a not so subtle hint it is time to play outdoors.

I even make sure that I have the very best soundtrack with XM Satellite Radio playing progressive jazz on their Watercolors channel. How sweet is that?

My car came with XM four years ago and when I was commuting to the capitol I became addicted to it. I also have it in my house. It is commercial free bliss that almost matches my view.

With high gas prices still and the state of the economy we might get less traffic this winter. Not that I want a bad economy but stuff happens right? They are things that are out of our control. Things like sunny, bright and cool days and no traffic.

We need to move forward with teleportation so that we can eliminate fossil fuels totally from our menu of things we need. Then we could move people effortlessly and probably even do away with ski lifts because people could use teleportation to get themselves right up the mountain.

Rene Descartes: “I think therefore I am.” That could be our slogan for our post recession/depression tourist economy. Think yourself to paradise in the beautiful Blue River Valley of Colorado. And then you can teleport yourself there. Yeah. That’s it.

I say this all the time but people do not come to Summit County to ski. They come for the view. They come for the environment. They come for the Rocky Mountain High. Yes, they do ski but they also just sit in their condo or hotel room and stare at the mountain views.

They come for the mountains but they stay for the activities. Our economy is based on real estate and not recreation. Real estate is the platform for recreation. The ski corporations realized this many years ago and the closer we get to build out the more critical this becomes

The economy is still going down the dumper. My portfolio is shrinking each day. There are still boys and girls dying in Iraq even though some feel the surge is working. CDOT is still working on my road for the fourth month.

We all know that someday things will get better as it always does. The election will finally be over and the war will end and we will have a whole new set of things to complain about.

But all is well in paradise. God is smiling again on the poor souls that are trapped in this Blue River Valley with all this breathtaking scenery and weather. This is the very best time of the year but you might want to ask me again in March.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

October 6, 2008-Talk of Depression is Depressing


Consider This for October 6, 2008-Talk of Depression is Depressing

It is as if it was scripted out of a 1930’s Hollywood movie. I almost expect to hear a Busby Berkley song playing in the background as hundreds of bathing suit glad women dive into a huge swimming pool.

Strains of “Buddy can you spare a dime” are playing during the introduction just before the big band jumps in with “We’re in the money.”

I doubt if either political party wanted all of this to happen right now during the final days of a presidential election. It is a distraction from all of the tall tails they were telling us about the economy and who was really at fault.

All of a sudden the unimaginable have become the reality of the day and everyone is scrambling to find a solution.

The House of Representatives refused to pass the so called bailout bill early in the week and the stock market had the greatest drop in history of 777 points netting an actual dollar loss of $1.2 Trillion in real money.

The following day everyone was expecting the same thing to happen and the market went up by almost 500 points causing the dollar loss to recover much of what was lost the day before.

Having taught this and studied it for years the whole thing does not make any sense.

In the meantime the Senate passed the Senate's own bailout bill on Wednesday. Money bills normally start in the House so that was strange also. I get so confused.

By the time you read this it will have all changed again and I would not hazard a guess as to what might have happened. I am writing this on Wednesday night so there is another several days for the fools in Washington D.C. to continue their charade of attempting to fix the world.

My greatest concern at this point is that some pundits are saying that it might take from 15 to 20 years for the economy to recover from this mess. I might not be around to see that happen.

My father Vernon Lindstrom was born in Iowa in 1909. He was the second oldest son of a railroad worker who had emigrated from Sweden to Iowa. My mother Dorothy Powell was born in Iowa in 1913 and was the youngest daughter of a farmer. My mother and father were married in Omaha in 1933. They went to see King Kong on their honeymoon. My sister Janet was born in Iowa in 1940 and I was born in Iowa a couple of years later in 1942.

My dad served in the Navy for several years during WW II in the South Pacific. When he was discharged he came home to Iowa to become a plumber and eventually the custodian at our local school.

From my earliest remembrance my mother and father both talked at length about how difficult it was to live during the depression. They talked about not having a car and not being able to take vacations. Money was always paramount in their lives.

My grandmother bought a house for them to live in and they paid $17 a month rent. I remember that my dad made $1.25 an hour as a plumber. The reason I remember that is I was also making $1.25 an hour working in a local welding shop when I was in high school. Do the math. That is $60 a week for a family of four.

I remember my father talking at length about how he knew that another depression would come some day. I probably have thought about his words most of my life. As time went by I stopped believing that it would ever happen because our economy was so huge and so strong that it could never happen.

I have been spending my days watching the unreality of the stock market fluctuating on my television screen to spending time remembering what my father used to say about the economy going to hell.

Well it still has not happened but just thinking about a depression to me is very depressing. Let’s hope that the men and women in Washington can figure out a way to protect us against the mess that we have all created.