Tag Archives: skiing

Lewis Hooper-Running

Lewis Hooper stared intently into the abyss that he perceived his life to be. His soul yearned to be extraordinary, bigger than life itself. He ravenously devoured books in hope that some grander purpose could be found within their pages. Hooper wrote poetry, prose, and songs that he would earnestly play on his acoustic guitar. This was an attempt to exorcise his inner demons. He often clambered to the mountaintops just to get a glimpse of the impossible. He was a man in constant motion. In his 40 short years, Hooper had seen and lived in more places than most folks would ever see in the space of three lifetimes.

During his stint in the Rockies, Hooper had spent his spring and summer months riding his 1978 Honda to one of a hundred mountain trailheads. He would then run the ragged single-track trails for hours. There was an inner peace in those surroundings that could clear his thoughts and temporarily calm his focus. Throughout the harsher winter months when the trails were covered with snow, he had spent his time sliding down the side of a mountain. He bitterly hated the cold but the rush of adrenaline from those black diamond slopes would always whip his focus back into shape.

Hooper should have been the happiest man alive. His trouble however, was that he just couldn’t settle into this easily captured state of bliss. Deep within his soul was a perpetual fear of stagnation. Triumph for Hooper was always alluded to but never quite attained. His perception was that he had never succeeded in any of his endeavors. Perhaps the problem was more that his definition of success had just never been articulated. He could envision his ends but the means he could never grasp. His span of attention was just too short.

The act of running generally does not require definition. It is simply the rapid forward movement of muscle, tissue, bones and blood. It is not this movement that requires definition; it is rather the intent behind the movement that seeks clarification. In search of this elusive answer Hooper often asks of himself: are you running toward something or are you running away?

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Vodka and Rossignol

January 9th, 1982, the first ski trip of the year. Throngs of audacious rich kids were bounding from their daddy’s Porsches and Mercedes Benz’ to flaunt their Telemark skis, Gore-Tex jackets and Lycra bibs for all to see. They were all shiny and new in the January twilight. From the other side of the parking lot Mouse sat glaring at them. He felt more than slightly apish in his Sears’s parka and polyester shell suit. He was always the odd one out, the perpetual loner forever seeking acceptance that he really didn’t want. Desirous to remain inconspicuous, Mouse sat in the cab of his fathers 74’ Dodge waiting for the last moment to sneak his hand-me-down Rossignols into the luggage compartment. With expertly orchestrated timing he slipped past the fashion police and boarded the bus to Park City.

At age 13 Mouse was well behind his classmates in two aspects. The boys occupying the back rows had been strapping sticks to their feet and barreling down mountainsides for years. This would be Mouse’s first time. These boys were no strangers to alcohol either. As the cowhide flask was passed around Mouse felt obliged to take a gulp of the vodka and coke therein; also a first for him. He drank heartily, having no idea what was soon in store.

As the Dutch courage began to take effect Mouse felt no need to not inform his new drinking buddy’s that he had never before attached skis to his feet. He actually began to brag about his prowess on the slopes. By the time the lift reached the top of the mountain it really didn’t matter that Mouse had lied. At this point he could barely even stand. God knows how he managed to make it to the drop in point. He stared down into the mogul laden abyss, set the Rossignols free to follow their own path, thanked god for his slippery polyester suit, then slid his way down the slopes. At least he could blame his temporary insanity on the cowhide flask. How he didn’t get arrested is anyone’s guess. Still, one lesson had been learned…

…Vodka and Rossignol do not a good mix make.

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