I Don’t Think That Is Such a Good Idea

March 29th, 2011 by Rich Christiansen

This past weekend our family and good friends went for a final ski excursion to our condo at Eagle Point  (which, by the way, is the best kept ski secret in the USA).

We drove down the night before, stopped at a nice restaurant, then went up to the condo for a good night’s sleep. The next morning we woke up, got our gear on and prepared to go out for a day of skiing. My beautiful wife suggested that she hold the car keys, but I insisted, “I think it is safest that I hold onto them.”  

It was a beautiful day of skiing. The runs were groomed. There were 6 inches of fresh powder on the slopes and my dear friend Matt Duffin and I acted like 17 year old boys racing past our sons on their snowboards. After a nice lunch, Matt and I hit the slopes again. It was such a memorable, beautiful day that I thought,  “I am going to snap a few pictures.”  You can see the last picture taken on this post.

When we got to the top of the lift, I told Matt, “I think I am going to ski for a moment or two just to show how cool this is in a video.”  Matt’s comment back was, “Rich, I don’t think that is such a good idea.“  I begrudgingly agreed, placing the cell phone in my inside jacket pocket next to my credit card, driver’s license and keys. You see, I had an ulterior motive.  I figured that I would race down the black diamond run called Satisfaction, get ahead of everyone, stop and then flip out my cell phone and video everyone else coming down the mountain. Therefore, I reasoned that I did not need to zip up that inside jacket pocket – after all, I hadn’t fallen all day.   Right . . . you can probably guess what is coming next.

Well my  problem was, my second son Matthew has set a personal goal to speed demon past Dad at every opportunity possible.  So upon getting off the lift I  immediately found myself trying to catch Matthew who was racing down Satisfaction turned on full tilt. Half the way down the mountain, I realized that I was not going to overtake Matthew or video anyone from the bottom so I paralleled my skis coming to an abrupt halt -  a bit too abrupt aRich Christiansen - Matt Duffin Skiingctual. I found myself flipping head over foot. No damage done I thought, no one had seen. I quickly recovered and reached into my pocket to get my  iphone to video Matt and his son racing down the mountain. I then realized that I had no cell phone. It had fallen out of my pocket during my little loop de loop that I had just completed. Matt and his son stopped and after a moment of panic, cool heads prevailed and we had the brilliant idea to call the cell phone. After the fifth call we heard a faint ringing deep in the snow. Ten calls later, we managed to dig up the cell phone and claimed victory as we retrieved the phone out of the deep powder snow.

I sheepishly realized that I had just cheated fate. I carefully put my cell phone back into my pocket and carefully zipped it up this time. We completed the day skiing and had a delightful time with everyone. At the end of the day, I pulled up to the lodge and reached inside my secured pocket to retrieve the keys to the van, when the next wave of panic rushed over me. The keys to the van were missing. I realized that when I had done my little trick flip, the keys had flown out with the cell phone. Buried on Satisfaction somewhere under 6 feet of snow is where the van keys now reside. Those keys are not going to be seen until Spring – or until the millennium.

Things then deteriorated and went downhill rapidly:

- The retrieved cell phone was now nonfunctional due to being in the wet snow
- Matt Duffin did not have even one extra seatbelt in his car, no ability to get anyone off the mountain here
- The car dealership was closing at the time that I was calling to get the special keys to open the van
- The new powder snow that we had found so delightful was now coming down in torrents and the roads were iced up
- They were trying to close up the lodge and get everyone out as I was attempting to rescue my family
- We discovered that the condo that we were staying in was supposed to be rented out that night so we couldn’t stay there, and we needed to get it cleaned up and ready
- When we did get to the condo, those keys were missing too (also under 6 feet of snow)
- Our spare key which was hidden had also been removed

At the moment of despair an incredibly generous employee at Eagle Point named Mark Tucker offered to drive us down the mountain in his truck. The condo next to ours happened to have a spare key to our condo, and they were able to let us in to get our things and clean up. We all crammed like sardines into this truck and inched our way down the mountain. We got to my father’s home, and his wife fed us a nice bowl of soup and gave us their car to drive home. We all crammed into their Buick and made our way through the storm. We arrived home safe and thankful, but my ego a bit bruised

The white van still sits on top of Eagle Point Ski resort at 10,500 feet. I will go back early tomorrow morning to pick it up.

 This has been a great life and business reminder to me.  I think it may actually even be funny in  say  …. about 10 years.  

Here is the lesson.   When a trusted advisor and someone on your inside circle says.

 ”That is not such a good idea,” my suggestion is . . . LISTEN!

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