The Half Fast Ski Club History
The first HFSC trip took place in Vail in mid-December, 1978. There were seven skiers on that trip. All were Honeywellers except for one:
Howard Morgan – 3rd party sales training consultant
At the time, the field sales organization reported to Honeywell Process Control Division in Fort Washington, PA where Dan Hughes was VP of Sales. Hughes scheduled Branch Sales Manager training in Denver, at the Stapleton Plaza Hotel near the old Denver Stapleton Airport. Howard Morgan was hired by Hughes to deliver a three day sales training program. When the training was nearing completion, Dan Hughes offered to pay for 2 rental vans for anyone interested in going skiing. Sam Hawkins had spent time previously in Denver as BSM, so Sam accepted the offer and suggested Vail as the destination. Sam convinced the other six to come along even though one participant, Tom Glaser, did not ski.
When we arrived in Denver on Sunday, there was hardly any snow in Vail. It began snowing hard on Tuesday and by Wednesday Vail was reporting over three feet of powder had fallen. None of us could ski very well so when we got on the mountain the deep powder caused us problems. Hawkins broke a binding and had to walk to Mid Vail for help. There were several times that I had to take off my skis to get safely down a GREEN run. Little did I know at the time that the conditions were every skier’s dream come true.
We stayed in a condo on the north side of I-70 and drove the vans over to Vail Village for daily parking to ski. There are no known pictures of that trip and my memories are foggy at best.
One thing that does stand out in my memory (probably because the tale has been told so many times) is the career mistake that Tom Glaser made. When we arrived in Vail, the skiers took off to rent skis and hit the slopes, and Glaser checked into the condo. When we returned from the slopes, all cold, wet, and thirsty we found Glaser had taken care of himself very nicely, but didn’t think about us at all. He bought one six pack of beer, and drank most of it. He brought in just enough wood to start a small fire, but let the fire burn out when he picked the best bedroom and took a nap. Hawkins was not happy.
At the time of the first ski trip, Hawkins and Glaser were organizational peers. However, as TDC 2000 was released, Hawkins quickly moved up the organization due to successful sales results in the Houston Branch. Soon, Hawkins was Glaser’s boss and an October re-organization was in the planning stage. Glaser didn’t make the cut on Hawkins’s team and was OTD (out the door).
In 1979, we once again returned to Denver in mid-December for year- end planning and sales training, and another Vail trip was scheduled to follow the close of the meeting. There were nine participants on the 2nd trip:
We have one picture from the 1979 trip. That picture showcases the sophisticated sense for high fashion ski wear that we all had, particularly Wells and me.
John Fogarty was based in Denver and quickly assumed the planning role for what became an annual event in Vail following the mid-December year-end sales planning meeting. Fogarty had little to plan early on other than finding a place for us to stay and looking for discount ski tickets in Denver, however he maintained his position in Denver for many years because of his connection to sales managers who were HFSC skiers.
Fogarty hooked us up with the Kiandra Lodge which became our HQ’s for several years. At the Kiandra, many of us slept (or tried to sleep) dormitory style with guys constantly belching, farting and snoring. I remember Jim Jenkins and Paul Brinkmann being the loudest snorers I have ever heard. The Kiandra Lodge was torn down years ago and a parking garage is now located on the site.
Looking back on those days, it is amazing how cheap the trip was for us. Our air travel to the planning meeting was paid by Honeywell so we had rental cars, food, lodging, and lift tickets to pay for. Lee remembers spending $75 on his first trip for food and lodging at the Kiandra, and lift tickets in Vail were about $20. We always bought a full day ticket for Sunday; skied half a day; sold the ticket to someone else at noon and still made connections at Stapleton Airport to get home in the early evening. The old airport saved at least one hour of travel time each way as compared to DIA.
In the early 80’s the number of skiers began to grow, so we decided to buy food and drinks for the group in Denver rather than in Vail to save money. I remember 3 cars pulling into the last major supermarket outside Denver and 9 or 10 guys fanning out in the store to buy supplies. We ended up with all cheese, chips, and beer as a result. That trip gave rise to the pre-determined menu and shopping list. Bill Hubbert and Ken Lawrence brought some order to the purchasing process….. and to the meal preparation process.
After trying to sleep in the Kiandra dormitory, we soon agreed upon some minimum requirements for our future condo accommodations:
No shared beds
On-site hot tub, within a short walking distance
Ski in and ski out
Larger unit to use as a central gathering point
Kitchen facilities to cook-in some nights
Gas grill on site
Our trips became more organized and settled into a routine: Wed night arrival, ski three days, and leave on Sunday. We had breakfast in the condo and lunch on the mountain. After skiing, we hit the hot tub for beer and soaking sore muscles. We prepared dinner in the condo every night except Saturday night when we had our end of trip celebration. Word of our trip spread and toward the end of the 80’s we had to set a limit of 25 participants, first come, first served.
The HFSC trip continued successfully into the 90’s and went global when Leopold Plattner, Horst Amueller, and Bernd Meier joined us on several trips. The Austrian-German participation brought a new level of downhill speed, upgraded ski fashions, and 24-7 Apres Ski activities!
Over the years, a number of traditions have taken hold:
- New HFSC members are initiated by jumping out of the hot tub and rolling in the snow. Most elect to quickly jump back into the hot tub.
- If a member misses a year, he has to be re-initiated by again rolling in the snow on the next trip.
- Gorilla boogers and Dove bars are HFSC food staples. Along with beer and wine, they make up the HFSC basic food groups.
- Chris Reid introduced in-condo ski hot wax and tune-ups.
- The location of the next trip and the trip leader are discussed and decided upon at the Saturday night dinner.
- Lee introduced liars dice and eventually got the HFSC on the wrong side of the Colorado Gaming Commission and certain members of the Mafia.
- Rob Crain was an early adopter of video cam technology and began videoing the group skiing in the late 80’s.
- Chris Reid introduced poker pool in Jackson Hole.
- Chris also introduced the daily tracking of vertical skied using his digital watch/altimeter.
For the first years of the HFSC, all trips were to Vail, then the HFSC decided to ski at other Colorado resorts. Typically, a condo location was selected to permit easy access to multiple ski resorts. Over the following years, the HFSC skied Beaver Creek, Aspen, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Winter Park, and Steamboat Springs.
Chris Reid finally convinced the HFSC to break tradition and schedule a trip outside Colorado. A trip to Utah was scheduled with Park City the HQ condo location. The group skied Park City and drove over to Cottonwood Canyon to ski Alta and Snowbird. On subsequent Utah trips, the HFSC also skied Brighton and Solitude in Cottonwood Canyon. Some of the HFSC did a one day trip over to Deer Valley but got busted for skiing too fast, and no one has gone back to Deer Valley.
The mid 90’s brought some complications to the HFSC. As the reputation of the HFSC grew, and as members of the HFSC rose in the Honeywell organization, women co-workers began to ask about participating in the HFSC trips. This obviously presented a problem of having single women on a ski trip with a combination of single and married men. How would the wives of the married HFSC men react to women participating? Not well, you can be assured! The women co-workers argued the annual ski trip gave men an opportunity to mix and mingle with Honeywell executives and other managers, thus providing career opportunities denied to the women. The most vocal women were three of the Division’s staff lawyers, and they hinted strongly at discrimination.
The question of women participation came to a head during the December, 1996 Breckenridge trip. The three female attorneys came on the trip after Markos Tambakeras mandated that women should have the right to attend. Tambakeras was VP/GM of Industrial Automation at the time so almost all the HFSC members and the women wanting to attend worked for Tambakeras. Tensions were high in the group and emotions came to a head in the giant hot tub at Beaver Run Resort where the group was staying. John Kaminsky, a fourth member of the Division staff lawyers, was a long time HFSC member and also on the trip. John and other senior members of HFSC privately met to discuss the situation. John advised the group that it would be best to disband the HFSC rather than risk legal action by the three women attorneys. So, the HFSC shut down the annual trips after the 1996 Breckenridge trip.
Over the following eight years, no HFSC trips were held, however during that time, Honeywell was acquired by Allied Signal resulting in many people leaving Honeywell, including HFSC members. Several members also retired during this time. So, in late 2003, the time was right to re-load and re-start the HFSC trips. A trip to Vail was scheduled in Jan, 2004 and 11 HFSC members attended.
Fortunately, no one has ever been seriously injured. Lowell Stein did break a finger on his only trip, but that was the worst injury. However, we have sadly lost Butch Wells and John Kaminsky. We have had several sons of HFSC members on the trips, including Todd Lawrence, Randy Hawkins, Kevin Bogle, and Jon Rottier. Kevin came on the Telluride trip after a long absence, and showed he could run with the big dogs. Jon Rottier will attend the 35th Anniversary trip after a long absence, and I’m sure we will have trouble keeping up with Jon. That’s quite a change from when Jon participated in the 10th Anniversary trip when he was about 12 years old.
2004 HFSC Reloaded Vail, Colorado
The HFSC stayed at the Mountain Haus at the Covered Bridge in Mid Vail.
Participants: Sam Hawkins, Boris Pavichevich, Jack Punzak, Peter Smith, John Kaminsky, Ken Lawrence, Doug Cooper, Lee Williams, Chris Reid, Frank Rottier, and Don Bogle.
Trip Notes: Sam Hawkins brought his Sam Hill Winery Pinot Noir on the trip to showcase his winemaking skills. It was good wine. Unfortunately, Sam retired from skiing after that trip, leaving Frank Rottier and Don Bogle as the only remaining founding members still skiing. Frank scared the hell out of everyone by being escorted to the Vail Hospital ER with chest pains. After he was checked into the hospital, all ten other HFSC members went to the hospital to visit Frank. We were asked by the nursing staff to leave after being too boisterous. Frank stayed in the Vail Hospital after we left, and was cleared to go home with nothing serious being detected.
The Vail trip was a success, Frank’s ER visit notwithstanding, so a trip was scheduled for 2005. Chris convinced the group to go to Whistler/Blackcomb in British Columbia. It was agreed to schedule all future trips in the Jan, Feb, Mar timeframe rather than mid-December, so we could avoid the conflict with Christmas preparations.
2006-Lake Tahoe (Heavenly and Kirkwood), Nevada-California
2007-Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Participants: Lee Williams, Boris Pavichevich, Chris Reid, Jack Punzak, Peter Smith and Don Bogle
Trip Notes: Lee organized the most interesting accommodations since the Kiandra days. Chris introduced Poker Pool to the HFSC, and Peter fell out of the saddle at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. Boris “retired” from skiing after this trip.
2008-Sun Valley, Idaho
Participants: Rob Crain, Peter Smith, Lee Williams, Jack Punzak, Chris Reid, Don Bogle and HFSC first timer, Rob Adams
Trip Notes: Peter was the trip organizer and scheduled excellent accommodations. The hot tub was “just a short walk” away. Snow conditions were excellent for this trip. Lee’s and Don’s flights were cancelled on departure day, and they decided to take a beginner’s snow board lesson. This was the start of Lee’s meteoric rise in snowboarding expertise.
Participants: Frank Rottier, Lee Williams, Don Bogle, Chris Reid, and Rob Crain
Trip Notes: Chris invited his business associate, Gerry Sullivan, to ski with the group. Gerry had one skiing speed….terminal velocity. The group enjoyed a spectacular fireworks display over Snowmass while enjoying ribs that Chris had grilled.
2010-Beaver Creek/Vail, Colorado
Participants: Jack Punzak, Lee Williams, Don Bogle, Chris Reid, Frank Rottier, Frank Lynott, Peter Smith, Roc Crain, Mark Hammer, and Frank Rottier’s brother-in-law, Richard Keating.
Trip Notes: Jack Punzak entertained the HFSC group with his long list of jokes…one of which created the legend of Nookey Green. The HFSC set a group record for vertical skied with 34, 426 feet, 19 laps and 7 hrs, 6 mins of skiing time…..without the use of a helicopter. Chris tracks the vertical and time on his GPS wrist watch. Jack Punzak “retired” from the HFSC after this trip.
Participants: Peter Smith, Kevin Bogle, Don Bogle, Lee Williams, Frank Rottier, Mark Hammer, Chris Reid, Frank Lynott, and HFSC first timer, Lowell Middleton
Trip Notes: Peter Smith made his beautiful condo available to the group. Kevin rejoined the HFSC after a long layoff. Lowell Middleton joined the HFSC for this trip, and Lee’s missing green dice cup re-appeared. After years of practice, Lee reached the Apex of his snowboarding capability.
2012-Big Sky, Montana
Participants: Peter Smith, Don Bogle, Chris Reid, Rob Adams, Mark Hammer, Rob Crain, Frank Lynott, Frank Rottier, Lee Williams, Lowell Middleton, and HFSC first timer, Ed Szkaradnik.
Trip Notes: Ed Szkaradnik joined the HFSC for this trip. Chris introduced the helmet cam to capture the HFSC high speed, bump skiing. There was a Blue Grass Music Festival being held during our visit, and Rob Adams was a knowledgeable and enthusiastic after hours fan.
2013- Vail: 35th HFSC Anniversary Trip
To celebrate the 35th anniversary trip, the HFSC returned to Vail and stayed at the Mountain Haus where the HFSC stayed for the 2004 HFSC Reloaded Trip.
Participants: Rob Adams, Mark Hammer, Lowell Middleton, Rob Crain, Chris Reid, Frank Rottier, Jon Rottier, Bernd Meier, Leopold Plattner, Peter Smith, Ed Szkaradnik, Lee Williams, and Don Bogle
Trip Notes: Bernd and Leopold re-joined the group after a long layoff and demonstrated top skiing form during the three day trip. Jon Rottier joined the group for the first time since the 10 year anniversary trip in 1988. Day 1 brought 4 inches of fresh powder and blue sky. The HFSC skied 31,788 feet of vertical on Day 1, high point for the trip.
On the evening of Day 2, the group held a 35th Anniversary HFSC Awards and Recognition event that showcased the highlights….and lowlights…of 35 years of HFSC skiing. Among the many distinguished awards presented, Bernd received the 24-7 Apres Ski Award; Leopold received the Mogul Meister Award; Lee received the award for attending the most trips over the 35 years; and Rob Crain was recognized as the best skier in the group.
2014-Park City, UT
The HFSC skied in Park City, UT Feb 26-Mar 2, 2014. Mark Hammer was the trip organizer. The group stayed at the Snow Flower condos with ski-in/ski-out access.
Participants: Don Bogle, Kevin Bogle, Rob Crain, Mark Hammer, Lowell Middleton, Chris Reid, Frank Rottier, Ed Szkaradnik, Peter Smith, and Lee Williams. Kevin re-joined the group after skiing with the HFSC three years ago in Telluride.
Trip Notes: Upon our arrival, the temperature at the Salt Lake City Airport was 57 degrees and it was a warm 46 degrees in Park City. Snow conditions were not good to start Day 1, however fortune smiled on the HFSC. It started snowing just before lunch, and 6 inches fell in the afternoon. We had more snow on Days 2 and 3, so the skiing conditions were really good.
Lee introduced new “You Almost Can’t Lose” rules for Liars Dice. Kevin blew out his ski boot while skiing with the big dogs, and Lowell was introduced to Jupiter Bowl. Chris severely injured a calf muscle when he stepped in a hole while walking from the ticket window to the lift line and was not able to ski on Day 3. The HFSC has never had a skiing accident result in lost skiing time, and the record is still intact because Chris’s injury was judged to be a “pre-skiing” injury.
Mark “volunteered” to be the organizer for future HFSC trips.
2015-Crested Butte, Colorado
Participants: Bernd Meier, Leopold Plattner, Mark Hammer, Peter Smith, Lee Williams, Frank Rottier, Jon Rottier, Chris Reid, Rob Crain, Ed Szkaradnik, and Lowell Middleton.
Trip Notes: The HFSC made a first time trip to Crested Butte. Don and Kevin were not able to attend when their flight was cancelled due to snow and ice in Nashville. The snow conditions were marginal for the entire trip at CB.
Although the snow conditions were disappointing, the accommodations arranged by Mark were outstanding. Mark solved the problem of not having a gas grill at the condo by buying and disassembling a grill in Denver. Then he strapped the grill onto his car for the drive to and from Crested Butte. That is HFSC creativity in action.
Lee introduced the dice game, Pig. Everyone enjoyed the new game, and Lowell and Rob Adams were the big winners. Bernd described his recent airplane crash as a “good landing,” because any landing you walk away from is a good landing.
Departure day brought several flight cancellations at the Gunnison Airport. Chaos reigned until Leopold took command and arranged a shuttle to the Gunnison Airport. There Leopold. Chris, Bernd and Lee picked up a rental car for the frantic drive to Denver. En route, Leopold performed the “Manneken Pis” in an unfriendly man’s front yard in rural Colorado. Denver flight connections were barely made for Leopold and Bernd. All is well that ends well.
2016-Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Participants: Frank Rottier, Jon Rottier, Lee Williams, Bill Williams, Don Bogle, Kevin Bogle, Peter Smith, Chris Reid, Mark Hammer, and Rob Adams. Mark was the trip coordinator, and, once again, he did a great job.
Trip Notes: The HFSC returned to Jackson Hole for the second time on February 17 – 21, 2016. Everyone but Lee, agreed that the accommodations at Wind River Condos were far superior to the Elk Country Inn, the rustic inn that Lee selected for the first trip. We had excellent ski in/ski out options, and the hot tub “was just a short walk away.”
Don and Kevin once again had travel problems when AA cancelled their early morning flight out of Knoxville, but fortunately they were able to arrive later in the evening. Everyone else arrived without any delays. Rob Adams prepared a tasty Thai seafood dinner for the arrival night.
On Day 1, we woke up to rain at the base, but we had hopes there would be lots of fresh snow above the rain line. As we rode the lift up the mountain, there was a lot of snow falling, but the winds were quite strong, creating a white out. The ski conditions were really bad; high winds; blowing snow; and fog. Visibility was zero in some parts of the mountain. Around 11:00 am the Ski Patrol closed the entire mountain due to high winds. After we made our way to the Mangy Moose for beer, we learned the wind had been measured at 90+mph! This was the first time in the 38 year history of the HFSC that an entire mountain had been closed. The mountain was opened again after noon, and Kevin was the only one who went back out.
Day 2 brought a clear day with good powder conditions. There were 8-10 inches of powder on top, and everyone had a good day. The Big Dogs vertical was only 24,000 ft for the day. Kevin got his money’s worth with 27,000 ft.
Day 3 had groomed trails with no new snow, and the lower portion of the mountain was very icy. This was group video day for the HFSC.
Bill Williams was a “first timer” with the HFSC, and he proved to be a much better skier than Lee. Bill was initiated into the HFSC by rolling in the snow, however, Bill has not yet earned his Merit Badge for eating Gorilla Boogers. Don and Kevin were “re-initiated” by rolling in the snow because they missed the 2015 Crested Butte trip due to flight cancellation.
After dinner on Day 1, we had another HFSC first: a mountain jam led by the Half Fast All Star Band featuring:
Jon “Jonny C” Rottier on guitar and vocals
Peter “Ozzie” Smith on guitar and percussion
Kevin “Fingers” Bogle on guitar
Rob “Maestro” Adams on guitar and percussion
The All Star Band also featured Canadian wailer and front man, Chris “Big Dog” Reid, fresh from recent engagements in Toronto. Chris had trouble with some of the songs because he could only sing in the key of “eh.”
Lee, Don, Mark and Frank were the back-up singers…singing with alcohol induced enthusiasm but no talent whatsoever. Bill sat in muted disbelief watching the entire scene. Thanks to Jonny C for bringing all the guitars and sound gear.
After dinner on Day 2, Peter Smith conducted a stimulating HFSC Marketing class that featured many of Peter’s Half Fast ideas about marketing strategy. As usual for the Marketing function, there were no “deliverables” to act on. Peter’s most discussed idea involved tattooing the HFSC logo on Lindsay Vaughn’s posterior. Peter will conduct a remedial class on tattooing in Steamboat, complete with visual aids featuring Ms. Vaughn.
The group had an excellent dinner on Saturday night at the Snake River Grill in Jackson. Lee was disappointed that Ed Szkaradnik was not there to order the most expensive wine on the wine list. As usual, the discussion regarding the 2017 ski destination was an interesting negotiation. It came to light that several side deals were cut the previous year in Crested Butte that needed to be honored. And, as usual, Chris stepped in and brought the discussion to a vote, with the winner being Steamboat Springs.
The HFSC 2016 trip is now officially in the books.
2017-Steamboat Springs, Colorado
The HFSC returned to Steamboat Springs on February 23-25, 2017 for the 39th Anniversary trip.
Participants: Chris Reid, Gerry Sullivan, Richard Corles, Jeff Mikos, Bill Williams, Lee Williams, Jon Rottier, Frank Rottier, Ed Szkaradnik, Mark Hammer, Rob Crain, Peter Smith, Rob Adams, Kevin Bogle, and Don Bogle
Accommodations: Mark Hammer made excellent condo reservations for the group at The Torian Plum…maybe the best ever. We had ski in-ski out, ski lockers near the condo back door, multiple large hot tubs within 20 yards of the condo back door, and large 3BR condos with excellent cooking and eating spaces. The ski rental shop was about 100 yards away. All in all, this was a terrific location.
Trip Notes: Prior to the trip, Mark alerted the group to an unbelievable deal on lift tickets…basically three days for the price of one. We were then able to snag the deal with advance, online orders.
Among our fifteen participants were two first timers: Jeff Mikos and Gerry Sullivan. There were three members returning after missing one or more previous trips: Richard Corles, Rob Crain, and Ed Szkaradnik.
Arrival day: Everyone but Chris arrived without delays. Chris had a minor delay in Toronto, but still arrived in time for Rob Adams’s excellent Shrimp and Scallops Curry dinner. After dinner, Kevin premiered the 2016 Jackson Hole ski video he produced. Kevin’s new Go Pro helmet camera provided excellent video quality and interesting video angles for group skiing. Jon Rottier brought guitars and other musical equipment for the Half Fast All Star Band. There was a snow forecast for 2 to 12 inches of snow overnight. No new snow had fallen at Steamboat in the last 10 days, so new snow was needed.
Day One: It was snowing when we awoke, but there was only a small accumulation at the base. By mid-day, there were 2 to 3 inches of new snow on the upper mountain. It was cloudy most of the day, and heavier snow started falling in the afternoon.
Vertical for the day was a modest 22,000 feet. Gerry had a face plant on a solo run back to the condo, but recovered quickly. Don was “that guy” who turned into Rob Crain’s skis and took a nasty hit on the head and back. Fortunately, Rob was able to keep skiing on down the run without having to stop. Kevin and Mark shot video of the group skiing.
After skiing, Ed Szkaradnik was re-initiated by rolling in the snow…..well sort of. He rolled in a chaise lounge that had a trace of snow. His re-initiation will hence forth be known as the Laz-y Boy re-initiation. Rob Crain deferred his re-initiation until Day Two.
Frank Rottier prepared his famous chicken dinner for the group. After dinner, Gerry was introduced to Liars Dice in a practice round. Gerry immediately applied game theory to his playing strategy but his algorithms had to be adjusted due to the excessive BS factor demonstrated around the table. Later, the Half Fast All Star Band provided music for another mountain jam. The band members are: Jon Rottier, Kevin Bogle, Peter Smith and Rob Adams. Joining Chris Reid on lead vocals was Frank Rottier.
Day Two: We awoke to cloudy skies and falling snow, with reported accumulation of 10 to 12 inches on the upper mountain. The group was at the gondola 30 minutes before the start time. The snow was incredible at the top, and we were able to ski untracked powder for most of the morning. By early afternoon, there was still plenty of powder on the backside of the mountain and along the edges of the runs. Kevin and Mark videoed the group skiing the outstanding powder conditions.
Vertical for the day was 18,000 feet….low on quantity but high on quality!
Gerry completed his snow roll initiation after skiing. Later, Rob Crain completed his re-initiation snow roll in a manner that will go down in the Half Fast Snow Rolling Hall of Fame. Rob climbed out of the hot tub, walked to a nearby snow bank wedged between a tree and a bar and grill located outside our hot tub fence, and then climbed to the roof of the bar. Making his way across the roof in 2 feet of snow, wearing only his swim suit, Rob fell back in the snow and made a perfect snow angel. Rob was more than ready to get back in the hot tub after his return trip.
Jeff and Richard deferred their initiation and re-initiation snow rolls until another trip. Both members were advised by the Council of the Old Dogs that their deferrals will result in compounding penalties and interest until their obligations are met.
It was a rare show of sympathy by the Old Dogs to acknowledge the snow rolling deferrals by Jeff and Richard. Jeff was coming off a bad cold so he didn’t want to risk picking up a hot tub bug. It is a good thing he was not at the Elk County Inn hot tub! Richard’s deferral had several components of consideration….#1, he did not bring a swim suit—no consideration was given for this oversight; #2,Richard brought a case of very good Cabernet—consideration was given but minimized when the Old Dogs learned that Richard had given Mark an invoice for the wine; #3, Richard came up with the biggest BS story of all time about not wanting to transmit mange from himself to others in the hot tub—Richard got a deferral based on creative story telling.
Chris prepared his famous ribs dinner and gets extra credit and thanks for having to cook the ribs outside, standing in the cold. After dinner, the All Star Band led a sing along, minus one member. Kevin decided to go watch Leftover Salmon perform at the outdoor Bluegrass Festival being held near Ski Time Square.
Day Three: Conditions were cloudy with no new snow. The temperature was about 9 degrees F as we headed up, but the cold was not much of a factor later in the morning. We had good skiing on groomed trails as well as some powder along the edges and in the trees on the backside of the mountain. I didn’t get a vertical reading for the day, but we had a good day of skiing. Kevin continued to video the skiing with his Go Pro.
After a short hot tub soak, the group headed to the E3 Steak House for the end of trip celebration dinner. Mark made an excellent choice for the dinner location. Ed was at the top of his game, ordering good wine. Lee announced a list of trip awards, the most notable being the designation of Jon, Bill, and Kevin as Big Dogs. Even Peter seemed to agree with Big Dog status being given to these three members of the HFSC Next Generation.
After dinner, discussion was opened to decide the location for the 40th Anniversary Trip. Peter was creative in nominating New Zealand as a 2018 summer add on trip. The majority of the group expressed interest in going to New Zealand. The 40th trip finalists were: Telluride, Vail, and Revelstoke, BC. Revelstoke was the runaway winner. Chris and Gerry agreed to be the trip leaders for Revelstoke.
After returning to the condo, a lightning round of Liars Dice was played. Gerry demonstrated game theory mastery by winning half the game pot. Now we have another accomplished liar in the group!
Departure Day: On departure day, we awoke to a bluebird day with about 6 inches of fresh powder. Gerry had planned ahead. He signed up for First Tracks and skiing one half day before departing. The rest of us had to leave as planned, wishing we could ski one more day of perfect conditions.
On to Revelstoke in 2018….Correction: On to Vail in 2018
2018-Vail HFSC 40th Anniversary
Participants: Don Bogle, Kevin Bogle, Frank Rottier, Rob Adams, Richard Corles, Rob Crain, Mark Hammer, Sam Hawkins, Lowell Middleton, Chris Reid, Jon Rottier, Peter Smith, and Ed Szkaradnik.
Arrival Day: Feb 28, 2018
The HFSC stayed at the Mountain Haus, centrally located in Vail Village. The HFSC 40th anniversary logo was prominently displayed at the check-in desk. Good job, Frank.
We had a clear weather travel day, and everyone arrived in time for Rob’s most excellent Thai seafood curry.
Sam returned for the first time since the 2004 HFSC Reloaded trip to Vail. Sam arrived in style…an Uber Wheelchair met him in the lobby and rolled him to the HFSC HQ suite where he was warmly greeted by everyone. It was good to have Lowell back after being out on injured reserve. Everyone missed Lee, Bill and Dan not being there.
Mark once again came to the rescue for Chris’s rib night.
After dinner, there were lots of old guy, back in the day stories….there was lots of wine consumed as well. The wine helped make the stories more interesting. Thanks to Richard for bringing a case of excellent wine.
Jon topped off the evening with the premier of the 2017 HFSC Steamboat video which included highlights from the 40 year history of the HFSC. Well done, Jon!
Skiing Day 1
Clear day, no new snow, high of 43 degrees forecast for the Village
Distributed the HFSC 40th Anniversary Pullovers at breakfast.
Skied mostly groomed runs. Kevin recorded the HFSC skiing on his helmet mounted GoPro camera. Unfortunately, Blue Sky Basin was closed. Big dog vertical was 33,600 feet for the day with 25 runs; coming close to the all-time record of 34, 600 set at Beaver Creek in 2010…without using a helicopter.
Unfortunately, Frank was not able to ski any of the days due to a knee injury he suffered skiing just days before the 40th. Hope your knee heals quickly, Frank.
Sam established an HFSC record for skiing at the age of 80. That record will be hard to break. When asked how it felt to ski at age 80, Sam said he had a 7 hour lift ticket, but only 3 hour legs!
There were three Half Fasters, Sam, Lowell and Richard, who were required to be re-initiated due to missing a trip….in Sam’s case, 13 consecutive trips! The re-initiation required rolling in the snow, but there was no snow around the hot tub. Negotiations followed involving re-initiation by jumping in nearby Gore Creek. The negotiations stalled after several beers.
Jon Rottier prepared beef stew for dinner, and Frank’s wife made homemade bread for us. Both were delicious. For dessert, we had the traditional Dove Bars.
After dinner The Half Fast All Star Band provided a lively performance. Band members include Rob “Maestro” Adams on keyboard; Peter “Ozzie” Smith on lead guitar; Kevin “Fingers” Bogle on rhythm guitar, and Jonny C on guitar, kazoo, and vocals. Featured vocalists were Chris “Big Dog” Reid and Frankie “Who Needs a New Ski Outfit?” Rottier.
Skiing Day 2
Clear day, no new snow, forecast high of 52 degrees in the Village.
Skied mostly groomed runs again. It became quite windy by mid-morning and continued through the afternoon.
The Crain Unit led us to the Inner Mongolia run which required poling into the wind, riding a Poma lift, and merging with 1000 other skiers at the bottom to catch the only lift out because Blue Sky Basin was once again closed. The skiing on Inner Mongolia was good and almost made the poling and waiting worth it.
Mark felt the need for speed and was clocked at 56.9 mph!
Sam received an award from a female liftie on Chair 4, for having the best ski hat ever.
Big Dog vertical was 29, 978 with 22 runs. Chris, Kevin and Mark were leading the pack all day with speeds approaching terminal velocity.
In the hot tub, Old Dogs, Don and Frank, reluctantly agreed to Sam, Richard and Lowell re-qualifying by rolling in ¼ inch of snow and ice next to the hot tub. Frank had to rake the snow off the roof with his cane. All three re-qualifiers rolled in the snow, with Sam providing the most enthusiastic performance. Later, at dinner, Don and Frank were severely censured by the other Half Fasters for agreeing to such a pitiful re-initiation. Ed was quiet during the censuring discussion.
Friday night is traditionally Ribs by Reid night, and Chris once again grilled pork ribs to perfection. Chris uses Big Dog Reid’s Dry Rub to achieve the excellent flavor. The Mountian Haus does not have gas or charcoal grills, so Mark brought a grill on his SUV bike rack.
The grilling venue was the top floor of the Vail Transportation Hub parking lot, across the street from the Mountain Haus. Several people walking by approached the group asking to buy some ribs. Sam set a high selling price, asking $50 for ribs. He closed zero orders.
One guy walked by, and said in amazement, “I’ve been coming to Vail for 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this!”
After dinner and more wine, the HFSC Chief Marketing Officer, Peter Smith, continued his multi-trip lecture on the value of the HFSC brand….”It’s all about the brand!” Finally, operational action was undertaken by Jon. Within 5 minutes, Jon secured two domain names for the HFSC: HalfFastSkiClub.com and BestSkiClub.com. Now the plan is to build out the HalfFastSkiClub.com site to be the repository for all things Half Fast.
Another clear day, no new snow, skied groomed and packed powder.
The HFSC got an early start and was in the gondola line by 8:15. Chris was finally happy that we were all together for an early start, and we caught the 3rd gondola going up the mountain. Once again, the pace of skiing was brisk, but Mark only hit 48.7 mph for his high speed.
The early start led to an early lunch at Belle’s Camp, and then the run down the back bowl to Blue Sky Basin. Today, it was open with many good runs. We made several runs on Grand Revue, which was the run that Lee left everyone behind on the 35th Anniversary trip.
By 2:30, Chris and Don headed down, but Kevin, Mark, Rob Crain and Peter headed over Roger’s and Highline for some Black Diamond bump runs.
The Big Dog vertical for the day was 31,578 with 23 runs.
After some hot tub time, Chris, Lowell, Sam and Don walked over to the Sonnenalp for a beer and rich people watching. We were all wearing our 40th Anniversary pullovers. A couple in their late 50’s walked by….the woman stopped and looked at the logo on Chris’s shirt. Then she said, “ I just love the name of your ski group.” This led to the usual discussion about where we are from, etc. She enthusiastically turned to her husband and said, “Honey, you need to join this ski club.” Peter was right…it’s all about the brand.
As the four of us entered the Mountain Haus, we ran into John, the owner of the 8150 Ski Rental Shop. He was also impressed with the HFSC logo, and when we told him about the new HalfFastSkiClub.com website, he immediately offered to be a paid sponsor. Peter was right again.
Mark, Kevin, Rob Crain and Peter met up with Rob Adams and Jon for apres ski at Pepi’s near the base of the gondola. Kevin said they watched many skiers fall and slide while trying to navigate the lower part of the run to the base.
After apres ski time, our group walked over to Elway’s Steak House for our traditional Saturday night celebration dinner. We all wore our 40th Anniversary pullovers to the restaurant, so we were very conspicuous as we entered.
Frank and Jon had pre-ordered delicious appetizers for the table. Ed and Richard collaborated on the wine selections, and the entrees were excellent.
After dinner, Frank led the discussion to select the ski location for 2019. After minimal discussion, Revelstoke was again selected. Chris will be the trip leader. The travel logistics remain a concern, however Chris will ski Revelstoke in 2 weeks, so he will check it out for us.
Departure Day, March 4, 2018
The weather forecast called for 3 to 6 inches of new snow, starting in early afternoon. Mark, Kevin and Don were the first to depart, with the mission to return the grill to Frisco before continuing to DIA.
Everyone left Vail before the snow started, except for Sam. He experienced weather delays at Eagle Vail and didn’t get home to Scottsdale until 10:00pm.
Before departing Vail, Chris received word that his home in Toronto was burglarized the night before. After arriving home, Chris discovered that the thieves had made quite a mess looking for cash and jewelry. Chris lost some jewelry, however the thieves left his computer, A/V equipment, art, and most importantly his 68 bottle collection of Brunello wine.
Another great HFSC is now in the history book. Now, on to Revelstoke in 2019