The biggest kick I get here at Selkirk is sharing the experience with first-timers. And occasionally, this gets taken to a whole new level. I’ve been lucky enough to witness some triumphant moments with a few brave souls who, for various reasons, chose Meadow Mountain as their last hurrah. It was their courage that inspired us to rename the gentle top pitch of Rolling Thunder, one of our signature runs, Bucket List (see April 2018 blog post)
Earlier this winter my uncle Zel, and his good friend Rich joined us for a couple days. Let me tell you a bit about Zel. He’s my favourite uncle. He’s the one who always has a smile and wink, is genuinely interested in you (even as a teenager), spends most of his time helping others, and does the best Donald Duck imitation, hands down. Once the kids left home and my aunt Gail was all set to spend her winters in Florida, he joined “The Over The Hill Gang” at Breckenridge. It was there he met Rich, a ski instructor. Together they’ve been carving turns all over North America for almost 20 years. You know where this is going… Zel is 84 and is without question, the oldest first time cat skier, EVER!
Like a kid before Christmas, Zel bombarded our office with a myriad of questions, needing to know every last detail in the months preceding his trip. His excitement boiled over on his first day of skiing such that he became overwhelmed and had to sit out the day after completing his first run. The reality of skiing in the backcountry began to take hold and Zel sat out day two, as well. I sat down with the guides and we concocted a plan to take Zel up to Bucket List and set him up for success. Day three dawned clear and under a blue sky, Zel skied three runs on Bucket List with his 50 year old son, Jory, and his life-long ski buddy, Rich.
Skiing is one of those rare activities one can enjoy at seemingly any age. Whether you are rising young, freeride star or my 84 year old uncle – the courage it takes is the same. And while I don’t advocate anyone challenging Zel’s record, I will always cherish the experience.
Hats off to you, Zel!