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All Cracked-Up

Jill & Chris arrived on our doorstep at 1 o'clock on Friday. We went to the liquor store and ate at Subway before embarking on the journey to Grand Marais. It should have taken us about 4 and 1/2 hours to drive the 250 miles, but stops at such places as the Black Bear Casino and the Beaver Bay Inn delayed us about 2 1/2 more hours. Strangely, I have a pool chalk souvenir from the bar for which I can't remember the name. The Best Western proved to be easy to find and we hung out with Kris, Jake, Ray, Tammi, Jeremy and Nikki until about 1.

Sleepy and slightly hungover, we awoke early to get ready to hit Lutsen. We had breakfast at the S.O.B. Café ¨South of the Border). It really was a SOB - I paid $6.25 for an omelet and hashbrowns. You know they have a different menu from which their locals order. There's no way farmer Bob over there is paying $6.25 for his omelet every day. Anyhow, we finally made it to the mountain at 10. I'd recently lost my head and decided I'd try snowboarding and Jill jumped on the bandwagon. Chris & Kelly took us to the top of the mountain via gondola to attempt this feat. Even after I'd pointed out that the sign said in large letters "Intermediate and Advanced runs only. This is not for the Novice." I understand where Chris was coming from when he said it's hard to learn on the bunny hill because there's not enough room - by the time you start, you're already at the bottom. Upon further review, however, it's clear that it's best to learn how to slow down and stop on the bunny hill before you go up to the Intermediate/Advanced runs and attempt to snowboard. Much time was spent just trying to get up. Then once up, trying to carve. Then while gaining speed and realizing you're out of control, you have no choice but to throw yourself down instead of running full force into an evergreen. Jill & I ended up walking down the mountain back to the gondolas to ride back to safety and take refuge in a pair of skis.

We skied with the boys until 2:30 when Kelly decided to fracture his collar-bone. He made it to the bottom of the hill and was slowing down and nearly stopped. The front edge of his snowboard caught and he pitched forward and landed plainly on his left shoulder. At first he thought he'd dislocated it. We road back to the gondolas and went to the ski patrol to get him checked out. They recommended an immediate hospital visit. We had Chris' car keys and were carefully constructing a plan to make sure that Chris & Jill didn't get left at Lutsen when I look out the window and spot Chris' about 50 feet away. I jumped out the door and got his attention and the 4 of us made our way to the doc. The hospital turn-off was a huge hill and I got Chris' Camry about 7/8 of the way up when the forward momentum wore off and we started to descend backwards. Chris sighed and said here give me the keys. We went back down the hill and made another go at it. Chris made it up about 1/8 of the way. I was slightly proud. Only 35 minutes later we were complete with an arm immobilizer and tylenol 3. Chris brought us back to the hotel where we ordered $20 pizzas from Sven & Ole's.

We went out to the Howling Wolf where about half our group was playing pool. We moved on to the Harbor Light and then back to the BW just before bar close.

We rose early on Sunday, snacked on near frozen left-over pizza and headed out to Lutsen for our last day of slope swooshing. We checked out of Grand Marais just before 3 and made it home at 8.

I'm so glad Heidi, Kris & Jake turned us onto this - I'd forgotten how much fun skiing is. I'm anxious to get my own skis - I'll be hitting all of the spring clearance sales in search of the deal too good to refuse. Then perhaps I ought to pull out a sizable life insurance policy and hit the slopes like there's no tomorrow!


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