Matt Modrow hadn?t put skis on since last season and Mickey Wellmon hadn?t skied for 5 years, but that wasn?t about to stop either of them from packing up the Jeep Wrangler in Greensboro, North Carolina on November 21 and heading out west to start an epic adventure. Matt and Mickey are currently Lost at Ski, travelling across 36 states to ski at 43 different resorts in 79 days. I caught up with the guys for a couple beers at Garfinkle?s in Vail, after their sixth day on the road and fourth day skiing during their Colorado stint including stops at Arapaho Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek to learn more about what they were doing and hear how the trip was going.What exactly are you guys doing?
My first question for the guys was to tell me more about what they are doing, but that?s kind of obvious: 36 states, 43 resorts, 79 days. So instead, the question quickly turned into why. ?We were at the same point in our lives where we?re able to do something like this,? said Matt. ?We don?t have kids or wives, so we could just get up and leave for three months.?
Matt had a good job back in North Carolina, but he was ready to do something different. And before doing something different, he wanted to do something exciting. So, he seemingly easily recruited Mickey who simply said, ?if the opportunity?s there, you just can?t pass it up.?
?Some of our friends were like, why are you doing this? But then a couple were pissed off saying, I wanna go!? said Mickey. ?Yeah you could go, but your wife?s not going to let you,? added Matt. So since the timing was seemingly perfect, the guys set out to planning the road trip of a lifetime.
You guys must be some pretty hard core skiers, right?
?Oh no, man!? laughed Mickey, ?I haven?t skied in 5 years!? The cool thing is that these guys totally embrace their amateur status. ?The first day, I fell on 3 out of the first 5 runs. As long as I don?t have to go to the hospital, I?m going to get back up and do it again.?
Mickey described wanting to something people could relate to, ?We were looking at some magazines and everything was about pro skier this, and heli skier that… what about the everyday skier who just wants to go skiing? It?s cool to read about that stuff, but we can?t all do that. So we thought, let?s just go do something that everyone can relate to.?
Observations on Colorado… from a couple east coasters
My favorite part about talking with Matt and Mickey was hearing their observations on Colorado and our resorts. I was planning to interview them, but it turned out they had almost as many questions for me. The first, ?what?s up with all the dogs?? Having never seen a dog at a ski resort, they were a little perplexed by all of the dogs in the parking lots, and even more so by the dogs left alone in their cars. ?I mean, isn?t it pretty cold out there?? asked Mickey.And of course, everyone new to Colorado has to discover the joys of 3.2 beer. At first, they were just told by the check out girl at the grocery store, ?that?s not regular beer.? They really didn?t know quite what to make of that. ?If it isn?t regular beer, is it awesome beer?? Since they didn?t really have any other options they bought it, and then they drank it, and they discovered no, it?s not awesome beer.
Finally, while they said they?re not really trying to critique all of the mountains they visit, they can?t help compare all of the different features of each. They loved the scenery at A-Basin and the parking convenience at Keystone.
But what stands out the most as a differentiator between different resorts? Hand dryers. ?You know the ones with the little nozzle that just blast the air out? Those things are great!? said Matt. ?Yeah, and I know it?s not green, but you gotta have paper towels as an option too. If you can have both, that?s the best!? added Mickey.
The rest of the journey
With just a few days under their belts, Matt and Mickey have a lot to look forward to. ?I haven?t ever really had a big powder day, and there are all of these resorts and mountains I?ve never been to, so I?m just really excited about going to some different places and having new experiences,? said Matt.
The next emphatic statement out of Mickey?s mouth was four syllables and one word rarely associated with skiing, ?Alabama!? ?Can you believe it? They?ve got a ski hill in Alabama. We?re going skiing in Alabama.?
Matt and Mickey are also leveraging all of the social media available to them to make the trip as interactive as possible. ?We want to be able to connect with other people while we?re traveling,? said Matt. Using their website, Facebook and Twitter, they?re keeping their families posted on what they?re up to and making new connections on the way. They have already tweeted requests of where to eat dinner and have received some great responses. Next, they?re hoping to actually meet up with people they connect with online to really get a local?s feel for the mountain they?re at.
The trip wraps up in early February as Matt and Mickey do their final three days of skiing in their home state of North Carolina. They?re expecting to do some serious partying with their friends when they get back, and they?ll definitely have tons of good stories by then. Damn, I met them on day six and they already had some pretty good ones. Until then, you can follow them on their adventure, checking in on their site Lost at Ski for updates.
Here’s a sample of their update videos. Go to Lost at Ski to see more. (all images and videos courtesy of Lost at Ski… I was stupid and didn’t take any myself.)