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Aspen Powder Hounds   (written Feb. 05)

After 5 straight powder-days I needed a little normalcy, so I showed up at BM at 9am, kinda hoping they would send me home with no work. A sweet looking, foxy blond , ski instructor, nicknamed Jello approached me and said she needed another pro to help her with The Silver Lining Foundation. I was afraid she needed someone to carry skis or change a tire, or something like that.  So I sort of tried to hide behind a tree, but Jello talked me into it.  She explained that Silver Lining gives life experience to kids with cancer. I remembered seeing Andrea Jaeger, the former tennis prodigy on 60 minutes talking about the foundation and their ranch here in Aspen -----so I jumped into it.                                                                 

It was the best experience I’ve ever had as a ski instructor. Working with Angie, a 13 year old girl who had battled the big C and won (at least for now) gave me some new perspective on life. ANGIE and her parents and 2 younger siblings came to Aspen for an all-expenses paid retreat at The SILVER LINING Ranch. The joy that a simple ski day gave to Angie and her family moved me to tears. This tough young lady wasn’t complaining about her boots hurting, or the cold, or her outfit, or her curfew or any of the typical stuff. She was happy to be alive and sharing the beautiful mountain scenery with her family. It was so rewarding for me to work with someone who had overcome such terrible odds. Angie’s “joi de vie” was contagious. I felt as if she changed MY life --- as if I had an epiphany. I took her off to the side of a green run through trees and into the powder snow. She was tentative and scared as we floated over a 10 foot section of POW. When we got back to the more familiar groomed terrain she shouted “Awesome!!!” Her sad eyes lit up like 1000 watt bulbs. I teased her-- “YOU’RE A POWDER HOUND---click me!!” and we banged our ski poles in a skiers version of a high five. She turned and looked at her Mom and screamed “did you hear that---I’m a powder hound”!!!!. Her Mom was so proud she was speechless ----all she could do was click my other pole and then we all shared a big hug on the side of the slope. Later, at lunch, Angie couldn’t stop bragging about our “ powder run through the trees”. It’s a good thing I had my dark glasses on ---because the tears welled up in my eyes and I had to excuse myself to go bawl like a baby.

So I’m working with the SILVER LINING foundation again today and I’ve networked with Andrea Jaeger in an effort to get more involved. She offered to let me teach the kids as often as possible (non-powder days only—of course), and I may get involved in fund-raising for them. Check out their web site. So when I hear people around town complaining about the lack of “slots” for their private Jets, or not being able to get a reservation at a particular hot spot, or how poor the cell service is on top of Ajax---- I just think about the little 75 lb trooper from Boston whose love of life is so strong that it wore off on me and put things in order for me. So maybe, just maybe the I can give something back,----- something positive.

I can assure you I’m working on it.

Party / OUT

2008 Update.

Within two weeks of sending this story around to my e-mail list. No blogs, no social media...just a list.   The story went a little viral...before that was even a thing.  $50,000 was donated to Silver Lining by my friends, family and former colleagues (in my honor).  It put things in perspective for me and highlighted the POWER of my (key board)PEN and was the impetus for creating what is now the media empire known as AspenSpin.com. I gave ski lessons to several more Silver Lining kids over two seasons. Within 18 months of the donation, Silver Lining left Aspen and Andrea Jaeger became a full fledged Nun. At least the $50K had already been spent on the kids who deserved it.  The ranch itself,  is still for sale ---anybody with a spare $25 mil. contact me ASAP.   Also  you can become an Aspen Powder Hound on Facebook---click here.