Ouray Ice Festival: Day 3 and Redux

Well, it’s come and gone – another Ouray Ice Festival. While I got minimal climbing in, I was excited to get 4 hours of Nordic skiing and hours of catching up with friends under my belt. Some fun pics, great conversations and smiles I’ll remember for a long time.

Day three began with another 2 hours of XC skiing up in Ironton, the same track Lisa (@visualadventure) took me to on Saturday morning. On the second lap, a few things were making themselves evident:

(1) My ankle was swelling. More. Hello, hardware.

(2) I was going to be sore as all hell.

(3) Damn – it was a gorgeous day.

We sometimes go through life so fast that we forget to stop and LOOK. Well, yesterday, I looked. I was well-rewarded.

Following skiing, I snuck down to Mouse’s, purveyors of chocolate porn, and grabbed a hot tea and some treats to take back to some unsuspecting youngsters. I took my tea up to the Ice Park in search of a few stray souls I had yet to find…and voila! A few shorts steps revealed Margo Talbot, Cheryl and Kate (plus Jackson the Very Cool Dog). Delighted to catch up with Margo and reconnect with Cheryl and Kate, I said some hellos and then headed back to the B&B to chill and get some work done. I had a long, hot bath, some more tea and a nap.

The evening culminated in dinner with Jason & Lisa (100% of Visual Adventures) and a few hours of fantastic conversation. It’s funny – I’m in Ouray a few times a year and each time, I’m surrounded by these phenomenal athletes. Humble, giving…they’re just real people and it’s a real pleasure to be in their midst. There in The Outlaw were Vince Anderson, Steve House, Kim Czimazia, Will Gadd, Ines Papert and more. The coolest part of the evening had to be the spontaneous round of applause launched for Will Gadd as The Outlaw acknowledged his successful completion of the Endless Ascent at noon that day (I’ve heard he’s raised over $30,000 – incredible, and thank you, Will). Will just stood there, speechless. Humble. I also finally got to meet a friend of a friend I’ve never met, Colin. We said our hellos outside The Outlaw in the cold-as-balls eve. Thanks, Timmaaaaay, for the intro!

Now that I’m home and have had a car drive to think about this year’s Ice Fest festivities, I’m going to throw out a few thoughts and maybe the board of the Ice Park will catch wind of one or two. Maybe not. Whatever comes of them, they’re thoughts from a 4 time Ice Fest attendee  – take ’em or leave ’em:

  • Ice Park Membership – I personally feel it should be mandatory for every clinic attendee. Use the Park, support the Park.
  • Clinic Ropes – 2 ropes for 6 people is shite. The gorge is freezing and standing around sucks infinite ass. Change registration to allow 7 per clinic and add a 3rd rope. With clinics only 2.5 hours long and some approaches taking 20 minutes, more climbing time is only fair.
  • Competitions – Speed climbing? Hellooooooo…things I’d like to see come back. It rocks.
  • Event Pricing – You doubled all of the dinners this year from $10 to $20. The dinners were worth $10, not $20. I’ll never pay $20, especially since I don’t drink and I’m gluten/dairy-free. You’ve lost me, and I think you lost a lot of other people this year.
  • Events – Too much going on, especially the night of the Superhero party. Pick an event, drive people to it, be successful.
  • Movie Choice – While the movie on the Eiger attempts was brilliant and moving, I don’t really want to see a flick about four people dying on an alpine climb if I’m…uhhh…GONNA GO CLIMB ICE THE NEXT DAY! Just sayin’.
  • Shuttle Service – Hella good. Bravo for this new addition.
  • Cups – WTF? (‘nuf said)
  • Dates – I really preferred it, and I think all of Ouray did as well, when this event was on MLK weekend. I know, I know – OR bogarted your dates. Eff them all to H. Get your weekend back, yo! Ouray depends on YOU to make the Ice Fest worth their time and effort. Turnout would have been much better, I’m sure, had the holiday weekend date tradition been honored.

Sorry about the ankle...I have only 6 screws and a plate. I feel like a lightweight. Still, finding a pair of ice skates not worthy of Torquemada was very difficult. Ski boots I have nailed down now.


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