More Dogs on Main Street |

More Dogs on Main Street

Tom Clyde, Record columnist

Monday was Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. Falling right in the thick of the Sundance chaos, the local observance was somewhat muted. Elsewhere, Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day was a big deal this year. It’s the 50th anniversary of the invention of bubble wrap. Working in a small garage, Al Fielding and his Swiss partner, Marc Chavannes, developed the fun and practical packaging material, earning them a place in the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame.

Anybody who has watched a two-year-old at Christmas (or my sister-in-law) fully understands the joy that comes packaged in this packaging. There’s something hypnotic about popping the little bubbles. It doesn’t matter what came in the package. There’s a pretty good chance that the person opening the box will enjoy playing with the bubble wrap almost as much as the Faberge egg wrapped in it. Bubble wrap is especially fun at this altitude. It’s made at sea level, and by the time you drag it up to 7,000 feet, the bubbles are just about ready to explode on their own. So a big happy 50th to bubble wrap.

When not contemplating the joys of bubble wrap, I’ve been skiing this week. It’s been absolutely great. Nothing wrong with this ski season that four feet of new snow couldn’t solve. The timing was perfect. Every hotel room in town is full, but nobody is skiing. I had Jupiter Bowl more or less to myself for a couple of hours and, later in the week, the same in the Daly Chutes and over on 9990 at The Canyons. It was all just great.

Working my way up to Jupiter, I kept landing on the same chair as another guy who looked to be about 25. His story was that his job had just "ended," and he figured he could spend the winter in Chicago looking for a job that isn’t there, or blow the severance package skiing. He had arrived in Park City the night before and was rearing to go. He wanted to explore the Bowl. I was a little skeptical about getting encumbered with a flatlander on his first day of the season on a powder day, but took the chance. It turned out that he was a very good skier, and we hit all kinds of nooks and crannies that I would not have skied alone. We hiked all over and had a great time, though by noon he was spent. He wanted lunch, and I wanted to ski another hour before going out to buy new tires for my truck. He hung with me, but was a little frustrated that he was lagging behind an old-age pensioner on tele gear.

My usual ski posse is thinning out a little this year, with a couple of guys on the injured reserve list awaiting new knees, others hiding out in Florida, Hawaii, and Arizona until things warm up, and a whole pile of other lame excuses. The Thursday pack was down to three of us for a while. There aren’t many stretches of powder skiing that good in a season, and you just had to be there.

The only damper on an otherwise epic week of skiing was that my usual ski partner, Bob, was swallowed by a tree well and banged up a bit. He had been right beside me all the way down the run. He takes a slightly different route through the trees, and could have missed the traverse. When he didn’t come out at the bottom of Lady Morgan Bowl, and didn’t answer his phone, I feared the worst and went looking. We ski together so often that I knew exactly where he was. He was lying face down in a deep tree well where he would have been very had to find.

Another skier saw him go in. As luck would have it, he was a former patroller who had the phone number for the patrol shack at the top of Empire. By the time I got back to him, they were already working on getting him out.

Once everybody was satisfied that he could move the fingers and toes, ruling out the worst case, there was a calm, efficient effort to extricate him, get him on the toboggan, and drag him out of there. It was about the worst place to get somebody off the mountain a long, rough traverse with deep snow on it. It took about six of us to push and pull the sled out to a waiting snowmobile. Fortunately, he’s OK. There’s nothing good about broken ribs, except that it’s a whole lot better than so many other results from smacking into a tree. Thanks to the DV patrol for a calm, collected, and competent rescue operation.

We’re all skiing with bubble-wrap long johns now, just in case.

Tom Clyde served as Park City attorney in the 1980s and is the author of "More Dogs on Main Street." He has been a columnist at The Park Record for more than 20 years.

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