Arapahoe Basin

Summit County Colorado

This story is in reference to the first picture in the gallery below.

Tele Skier Rescued by a Splitboarder (by Matty B)

With the snow beginning to fall, I was reminded of a funny tale, told by Matty B - a splitboarder and member of A-Basin’s infamous ski patrol.

Alex was distraught when he arrived at the shop on a Thursday afternoon in February with a single DPS Wailer 99. He had been at Arapahoe Basin taking laps on Pallavicini with a friend all morning. As the day wore on and his legs wore down he had an incident near the bottom of the Pali bumps; he somehow ejected from one of his skis, which continued down the hill, crossed the boundary rope, and launched like a missile into the thicket of small pines below Pali called the Christmas Trees. They searched the brush for a half-hour but came up empty handed, and Alex had to tele off the hill on a single ski.

Alex is a fairly aggressive tele skier so he really liked the Wailer 99s Hybrid on a tele set-up. The skis have a fairly stiff tail with minimal rocker which works well for him. He was crushed to come home sans one ski. When he got back to the shop he offered a substantial reward for anyone that could find his lost ski.

Challenge accepted, Alex.

It snowed 8" on Friday. I was pretty sure this ski was lost forever but it was going to try anyway. The snow was still good on Saturday so I spent a full day at A Basin. My legs were pretty spent by 4pm, but as the lifts stopped turning I switched over to my Jones Solution 158 splitboard and headed toward the bottom of the Pali run. It isn't the normal route one would skin up A Basin so I drew plenty of odd looks and comments from the beach revelers as I passed.

Upon arrival I spent a moment examining fall line trying to guess the trajectory of an unrestrained ski. Then I ducked under the rope and started stomping around in the brush and probing around at the base of trees. I could see why Alex had to give up; the snow would have been waist deep for someone who wasn't on skis. After 10 minutes I was pretty sure this ski had submarined into the snow half way down the hill and would not be seen again until early summer. But then I reminded myself, "don't forget to look up." I did...and then I laughed out loud...

I snapped that photo and sent to Alex, then I strapped the ski to my pack and took a victory lap to the bottom of A Basin. I wasn't sure if Alex would come through with that reward but I bought a round of drinks for my friends at the 6th Alley anyway. But sure enough, Alex arrived for work on Monday with a smile on his face and a $100 bill in his hand.

Since then Alex hasn't given me much grief for being a splitboarder.