We joined Claudeen for three of her last four trips. Our kids had the poor timing to plan a wedding last March just before the 2007 trip, and with family and friends in Seattle from around the nation/world, we chose to stay home with them...and missed a good one! Never again, we vowed, and the Kitz/Corvara trip reminded us why we enjoy the group so much.
Actually, the skiing in Kitzbuhel wasn't all that wonderful (much like a rainy week staying at, say, Alpental) but the town is every bit as great as it was when we rented a house there (actually, just down the road in Jochberg) the winter of 1969-70.
Long story; short version...it was Viet Nam era, ten or twelve of us army couples were stationed at the hospital (the "Walter Reed of Europe") in Landstuhl, Rhineland Pfalz. It was a six hour drive to Jochberg and we did it with one of the other couples every weekend all winter long. The larger group showed up only twice...anyway, we convinced the 'other couple', who live in Montlake, to come along in 2008, and it was sweet nostalgia for us.
Not that we could find the house we'd rented...one of the Schwarzer Adler Hotel desk clerks called her mother, who said that the road had been altered around Jochberg and that houses now had addresses instead of "names" as they did back then. Anyway, it was fun to return to the Kitzbuhel bars we'd danced in, revisit the bakery where we'd watched a very young Robert Redford film scenes for "Downhill Racer" (which we screened on the bus to Corvara on the way out of Austria) and remembered the dollar back when it was supreme.
The reason I'm relating this personal minutia is to point out that there cannot be ONE trip summary, as each of us has their own highlight film, underlayed by their own past and expectations. In bringing our Montlake friends (along with a Sun Valley buddy from California, another story entirely) our story was non-linear...time travel, in fact! And believe me, Corvara and the Sella Ronda are our new #1 ski destination...we're going back...soon!
You can see from the constant back-and-forth of e-mails from the group how NO ONE wants this trip to end...we had SO much fun!
Let me mention one huge change: Tom and Jay were not with us; nor was Lenore. Further changing the equation was the presence of four 20-30 somethings, two sons, a daughter and niece of two "adult" SMETrippers...it was a yeasty mix, for sure!
Claudeen managed the group with élan and only a touch of (hardly obvious) worry...but secretly, I think she's probably glad we all arrived back in the US more or less safely. Demeree was a spectacularly effective herding assistant, and Judy's lung clots (not to mention the face plant she suffered) were the only obvious injuries. As far as we know, no arrests were made. Not that some may have been deserved....
As for next year's trip...we skied Wengen/Murren in that long-ago era and can't wait to return. The French resort, Alpe d'Huez, should be a blast as well...I'd better start practicing my "Francais"! Fromage, sil vous plais! Vin rouge, aussi! Tout suite, garcon!
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