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Despite This We Stay for February 7th, 2013

by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO — Perhaps the greatest loss we face as a result of not having a ski resort in the area are the half dressed skiers doing their pre-ski exercises on the sidewalks of town. We recently visited Vail, and right away I could see that we Huerfanos are missing out on a fascinating public spectacle.
It was approximately five degrees in Vail, and there were a number of people dressed in T-SHIRTS AND SHORTS walking around town at 9:00 in the morning. And they were the only people out, because it was COLD! Some were practicing their lunges. Some were jogging or speed walking. Some were standing at crosswalks, waiting to cross the street (one way you could tell they weren’t from around here). Not one person was rubbing his hands to stay warm; they weren’t jumping around to keep the blood flowing; they weren’t acting cold at all. They were merely chatting while huge clouds of steam billowed from their faces.
This must be a special breed of European, designed to rebuff the cold and even thrive in it. I could tell they were European by their messy hair. I don’t mean messy on purpose, as is the current fashion, with mousse or hair gel to keep it looking messy. I mean messy like they just fell out of bed, grabbed the first clothes they encountered on the floor, dressed and crawled out the door on their hands and knees looking for a cup of java. Why bother with a coat when it’s a balmy five degrees outside?
I had to wonder, where do these people come from? Is it really so cold in France or Liechtenstein that they have to come here to warm up? And why would you fly all the way from Europe to Vail to ski anyway – suffering through airport security (on the return trip at least) – when you have the Alps just down the road? Surely skiing is good on Mount Crumpit.
Where I grew up there were lots of European immigrants. Those of us who did wear shorts only wore shorts in the summertime, and some of the older fellows NEVER wore shorts, no matter how hot it got. Even if you were just going to run outside to grab the newspaper in a snowbank, you positively did not wear shorts outside in winter. First of all you would freeze your knees, plus people would look at you sideways and not buy any of the junk your kids peddled during school fundraisers. So ixnay on the ortshay. Wearing shorts in winter was not only unacceptable, you had to be a ding-dong or a tourist from Siberia to even THINK about it.

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