The sounds of spaghetti slurping surrounded the Snowdown
Parade on Jan. 30 as the Winter Sports Foundation held its annual fundraising
dinner at the Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks Lodge No. 507.
The dinner is served in two seatings, one before the parade
and the second immediately after it ends. As one might imagine, a large number
of diners have children in one of the foundation's three skiing categories,freestyle, Nordic and Alpine.
The meal was courtesy of Mama's Boy, and the pasta sauce
and cookies were particularly good. Small pyramids with the eye of Horus on
them decorated the table, keeping the dinner in step with the Snowdown theme. A
team of adults and students staffed the serving and cleanup lines.
When I was growing up here, skiing was affordable for the
whole family. Since my mother, Kathy Butler, worked for Durango Ski Corp., it
was part of our family culture.
I sat with David and Laurel Waller and their
daughters Bonnie and Sarah. Laurel, née Turner, grew up skiing at
Purgatory and wanted her children to have the same experience. But these
days, the cost of equipment and passes can be a deterrent for many families.
The Wallers have made family skiing a budget priority,helped somewhat by the fact that area ski shops now let them rent children's
boots for a season, so growing feet don't cost more money.
For their family and many others, the foundation does a
good job of providing access and coaching in all three disciplines.
I'm glad the foundation is here to encourage the current
generation to ski and compete in a sport that is unique to a place like this in
snow country. Because so much of its work takes place up at Durango Mountain
Resort, a lot of people in town don't even know it exists.
And the dinner ended on a perfect note, a cup of hot
chocolate. Not only is cocoa the perfect way to end a day on the slopes, it
works pretty well after watching a winter parade.
Thanks to event coordinator Donna Bowles for
hooking me up with the dinner.
To learn more, visit the organization's Web site at
www.purgatoryskiteam.org or contact coordinator
Kirk Rawles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Getting the gift of precipitation for their birthdays are Annika
Asselstine, Mimi Hayduke, Lisa Schuba, Karen Keller, Sandy
Brown, Clyde Hassett, Paul Myers, Bev Tomberlin, Marcia
Welker, Gary Russell, Colin Ryerson, Hunter Martin, Wesley
Campano, Ami Reed, Wendy Malarsie, Ryan Johnson, Harald
Jordan, Jane Carman, Dave Schank, Dianne Milner, Dorothy
Shank, Charlie Albert, Dick Sullivan, Steve Redding,Vern Swanson, Jill Wark and Peggy Hoffman.
If you watched the Snowdown Parade on Friday, you may have
seen the big Rotary Club wheel and float full of red balls with a large group
of young people marching along handing out calendars.
Most of the folks watching probably didn't know that those
young people were Rotary exchange students, 25 in all, visiting here for what
is called an inbounders weekend. (They are inbound to District 5470, which
covers a big chunk of Colorado except the Denver Metro Area.)
Chip Lile of High Noon Rotary Club organized the
weekend, which included stays with area Rotarians. In addition to marching in
the parade - wonder what they'll write home about that! - they rode the Durango
& Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and had a big potluck at the Boys and
Girls Club of La Plata County.
The students came from Europe, Latin America, Asia and
Australia. While here, they are learning English and about the United States,often with more than a little culture shock included. They certainly got a
Durango welcome here, and we hope they'll go home with warm memories of the
first time some of them saw snow, marching in a parade and, in general, getting
a taste of the real Wild West.
And while I'm thinking about Rotary, the Red Ball Express
will take place today up at Durango Mountain Resort. It's the last chance to
win the grand prize of $5,000 or two nice smaller amounts for 2009.
Rotarians use their share of the Red Ball proceeds for a
number of activities that benefit the community and also provide area
nonprofits with a chance to make some money without having to mount a whole
fundraiser themselves. It's one of the best community building investments you
can make. Tickets will be available up at DMR during the day.
I ran out of room for this in my Wednesday column, but
don't want to forget to share the information Joan Rhoades
provided at Tuesday Literary Club on Jan. 27 at the home of Kate Errett.
Rhoades is a pilot with United Airlines who flies the
route to Shanghai, China. Bee Atwood, the president of the club, asked
Rhoades what she thought of "Miracle on the Hudson," the landing of U.S.
Airways Flight 1549 in Hudson River on Jan. 15.
She had some insights I haven't heard, which the ladies of
the club found fascinating. I thought my readers would too.
First of all, Sullenberger began his flying career at the
Air Force Academy, where they train aspiring pilots on gliders first. After the
geese flew into the Airbus' engines, it essentially became a glider. Other
experts believe that all airlines should give their pilots glider training.
There had been no traffic on that section of the Hudson
for about two minutes before the emergency landing. That meant the water was as
smooth as it could possible be. Turbulent water might have sent the plane
Two other factors were important to everyone's surviving.
The passengers and crew kept their heads and stayed calm. Any panic in getting
out of the plane, and people would have died. Finally, it took the first ferry
only three minutes to get to the plane and start loading passengers. In the
frigid waters of the Hudson in January, hypothermia would have set in quickly,and, again, people would have died.
Rhoades said that the copilot and other crew weren't
getting as much credit as they should, because it took both pilots working in
tandem to get that plane down.
So there you have it - one of our own and an insider's
analysis of the story people are still discussing. And I, for one, would want a
pilot like Sullenberger or Rhoades at the stick of any airplane I was on if it
began having difficulties. There's a lot to be said for experience.
Two pairs of Durangoans had a special ending to 2008. Jan
and Gene Roberts along with Richard and Susan Holgate flew
to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to welcome their first grandchild into the world.
Aksel Lance Roberts, an 8‑pound 13‑ounce baby boy,was born Dec. 22, just in time for Christmas. His parents, Lance and Vanessa
Holgate Roberts are both Durango natives who live part of the year in
Argentina or Brazil and the other half here.
During the part of the year they're in La Plata County,Lance Roberts manages the Roberts family's farm operation on Florida Mesa. (Jan
and Gene Roberts also own and run Wilderness Trails Ranch north of Vallecito
While not doting on their new grandchild, the two couples
enjoyed the sights in Buenos Aires, which is sometimes called the Paris of
South America. It has a population of more than 13 million.
Located on the southern shore of the Rio de La Plata (a
little connection to Southwest Colorado), its name means fair winds or good
The couples visited museums, toured the city, dined and
shopped in open air markets. The also enjoyed a stop at the Cemeterio de
Recoleta, where Evita Perón is entombed.
Little Aksel will be introduced to the rest of his
parents' family and friends when he comes to the United States with his parents
in the spring.
Celebrating their anniversaries just before Valentine's
Day are Daren and Kim Caldwell, Ormond and Jeannie
Morford and Bryson and Frances Burnham.
For information on
upcoming events and fundraisers, check Local Briefs.
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