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Worldwide Ace

Worldwide Ace

Because a true Ace is needed everywhere…

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Open and Honest – Part VI

May 11, 2014 (6:45 am) | Women

Continued from
Open and Honest – Part I – Part II
Part III – Part IV – Part V

“So I have an admission,” she says. Her eyes stay on the road. My eyes stay on her. She glows warmly in the late afternoon sun.

“What’s that?” Despite her angelic aura, she’s stiff in her seat, her hands gripping the wheel. Her demeanor doesn’t match the languidity of the moment, the relaxed haze that embraces so many of my moments with her.

“You know the Gogol Bordello concert? The one we’re both going to?”

“Yeah,” I say.

“So Patrick bought tickets for my roommate and me.”

“Ok.”

“He didn’t know that me and my roommate were broken up. So apparently we’re all going together.”

“Ok.”

“It might be better if you weren’t there.” She winces as she says it.

“That’s ok,” I say.

For the first time in what feels like minutes, she glances at me. In the reflection on her glasses, the ones she plucked from my collection, I can see that I look calmer than I feel.

Read more »

2 hats in the ring.


A Short Lived Experiment

May 2, 2014 (6:45 am) | Growing Up

Fear. That’s how it began. Fear and anger and relief.

I talked for years about moving to Nederland, Colorado for the Winter. It was a backup plan when housing situations were a bit sketchy.

It was never a desire, living in a small mountain town with a population barely larger than my high school. It was simply something that happened. Read more »

One hat in the ring.


In Search of a Distant Dream

April 29, 2014 (6:45 am) | Skiing, Work

My eyes burn. They water, tearing up from the strain. The little red icon just laughs at me, taunting me, creating wrath, hate, fear, mistrust, and all the vices of the universe in my soul.

And yet I stare on, hopeful, the icon unwavering in its scorn.

I have this dream. It’s not selfless nor as beautiful as Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, but it’s a dream nonetheless. It’s a dream of a far off, storied land known as New Zealand, and it’s been recurring for five years now.

I applied this Winter to teach skiing for NZSki, one of the larger ski companies there. I’ve had a couple of friends work for them, and everyone involved speaks highly of them. The application process, while impersonal thanks to being online and perhaps overly involved with the proof of certification they requested, was a great a deal of work but nothing I wasn’t willing to do. To realize my dream, there are few limitations to the lengths I would go.

When I received the email saying I had made it to the interview stage, I was ecstatic. There were, however, trials and tribulations to come, ones for which I was totally unprepared.

Read more »

Throw your hat in the ring.


Open and Honest – Part V

April 24, 2014 (6:45 am) | Women

Continued from
Open and Honest – Part I – Part II – Part III – Part IV

“Old man,” she calls me.

“Yessum,” I say in my old man voice. “The problem with being such an old man is the thinning hair and receding hairline.” She giggles as my voices rises and falls over a range of pitches.

“Didn’t your students call you a 5 year-old yesterday?”

“Well, sure,” I reply. “I was a mature soul when I was younger. I figure I should act younger the older I get to make up for it.”

“At that rate, you’ll be a newborn in a few years,” she jokes.

“Perhaps, but I plan to go through a long teat-suckling phase.” She turns and our eyes meet. “Can you help me out with that?” I ask, eyebrows raised above puppy dog eyes.

“Oh my god, Ben!” She laughs. And I know she’s enjoying her surprise.

Read more »

2 hats in the ring.


An Open Letter to Bill Killebrew and Eldora

April 13, 2014 (8:58 am) | Work

Mr. Killebrew, sir:

Today marks the last day of skiing at Eldora Mountain Resort. It also marks the end of my fifth Winter as a ski instructor here. While it somewhat pains me to send this, I feel the need to document how I’m feeling at this point and attempt to offer advice from the rank and file of Eldora.

Firstly, I’d like to thank you and all our management over the years for working so hard to create a wonderful, professional environment for us. I’ve been able to grow as a man and as an educator working here. Bettering myself through PSIA and AASI as well as our internal clinics has been encouraged and supported both emotionally and financially. I’ve had the opportunity to help multiple departments, assisting Brian and then Ellie in rentals, working closely with Lee and Chris and our dedicated Food & Bev staff, helping the lifties under JT, Hayden, Jacob, Steph, Russ, and all the other leads, and getting to know most of the cashiers and retail staff on and off the mountain. I’ve learned more about the ski industry in my travels thanks to real deals and our recent exchange with Vail Resorts and the Epic Pass, and I’ve been welcomed in more places than I could’ve hoped. This is all thanks to the opportunity I was given at Eldora.

Snowsports, my prime department, has become a family to me. Alicia interviewed me when I first applied, Kate Rau, Captain Ron, Lynne Bulig, Ken Ray and Tony Baloney helped mentor me as I got my footing. I was in an excellent new hire class that created a team with Kevin Hueth, Pam Hill, Katie B., Matt Celesta, Steph Walton, the late Rob Tacchino, a fantastic crew with whom I couldn’t be happier. Jono, Timo, Molly, and many of our clinicians helped hone my teaching and skiing. Matt Chester, Jay Kaminsky, Kurt Baker, Greg Tinkley, Jess Newman, Ric Widenor, Nate Emerson, Ethan Houle, Clay Bedell, Chris Pappas, Marc Latolais, Doc, and Aaron Sanford, and so many others helped show me how to be supportive of my fellow instructors and create a true sense of camaraderie and mutual personal growth. And over the years, as I tried to instill the same sense of trust and familiarity in the new hires, I grew to know and love Molly Holmes, Tyson White, Brian Murray, George Mattison, Jenny Leksander, Scott Battat, Rumen, Ryan DeCesseri, Adwoa, Lauren Bond, Rachel Metz, Marilee Ives, Angie Zimmerer, and all the others who exhibited the same passion and dedication to the job. These are the people on whom I came to depend, with whom I skied and spent time outside of work, and through whom I saw all the joys of skiing come alive. I’ve already spent too long naming only a small portion of the people for whom I’m so appreciative of, and whom I never would’ve known with working at Eldora, and the list could go on.

I’ve always referred to Eldora as the Little Mountain that Could. But that’s a misnomer.  Read more »

15 hats in the ring.


Open and Honest – Part IV

April 9, 2014 (6:45 am) | Women

Continued from
Open and Honest – Part I – Part II – Part III

“I should walk home,” she tells me.

“Ok,” I say, “though it makes me sad.”

She pulls out her phone, calling her other half. She chats with him briefly, in strained tones. “I’m with Ben,” I hear her say into the phone, very matter-of-factly. The voice on the other end rises in tone, strained, angry. She seems pained, surprised, upset. She turns away from me, facing the parking lot, and my heart hurts. “Ok,” she says as she hangs up, “have fun.”

“Are you ok?” I ask.

“Yeah,” she says with a sigh. She stares into the night, pulling her coat a little closer around her. “You know what,” she says as she turns toward me, “it’s kind of a long walk to my place.”

“Yup,” I confirm, already aware of what’s about to happen.

Read more »

One hat in the ring.


Open and Honest – Part III

April 5, 2014 (7:45 am) | Women

Continued from
Open and Honest – Part IPart II

“I seem to recall us talking about poaching a hot tub,” I say as nonchalantly as possible. I’m riding cloud nine, the mix of beer, a wonderful night, and a beautiful woman intoxicating in the exact right measure.

“We did.”

“And I just happen to already be prepared for said hot tub,” I say.

“I can see that,” she says with a smile, her eyes briefly dipping to the tight speedo plastered to my nether regions. “I actually brought my swimsuit too.”

“Then may I make a suggestion?”

“You may.”

“Before we head to the Mountain Sun, let’s swing by a place and check to see if the hot tub will be poachable later.”

“I think that can be arranged,” she says with a smile.

Read more »

3 hats in the ring.


Stripped

April 2, 2014 (6:45 am) | Growing Up

I’m scared.

I’m also determined. I’ve got a grass skirt, a speedo, and a pen and it will happen.

I’m about to step into a room full of friends and coworkers, putting my virtually naked body on display and allowing a room full of people to use me as a canvas. And it’s freezing cold out.

Read more »

2 hats in the ring.


Open and Honest – Part II

March 29, 2014 (6:45 am) | Women

Continued from
Open and Honest – Part I

The din of the locker room on a busy weekend is absurd. Skis are banging together, heavy fabrics are rustling, the chatter is loud. I don’t even notice him walk by as I rush to snap my buckles in place. Between my early morning duties getting the Sunkid up and my requested presence in the Children’s Center shortly, I have barely enough time to boot up, grab my gear and go.

I’m laughing and joking with a few coworkers when I feel his eyes bore into me.

“You must be Ben,” he says, drawing my gaze from the boots beneath me. He holds out his hand, an uncomfortable look on his face. It catches me off guard.

“Yep,” I say, reaching up to meet his open palm.

He says his name and our eyes meet. It’s a brief moment of confused recognition for me. I know him. I’ve seen him. But he’s not one of us. This is not his locker room. He’s not another instructor I need to know, but an employee of another department, and I don’t know why he’s here, now, talking to me, picking me out of everyone. “It’s nice to meet you,” he tells me.

Read more »

6 hats in the ring.


Open and Honest – Part I

March 27, 2014 (6:45 am) | Women

“Before things get any more serious,” she says, “I have something I need to tell you.”

I can feel my heart speed up, my breath shallow. In my head, I’m lost as to where this is going. I try to keep calm and consider the circumstances.

It had been a few weeks since I had asked her out and yet we still hadn’t been on an actual date. We hadn’t kissed, despite my awkward desire. We hadn’t embraced more than momentarily. We were perfect strangers. Yet here we were, sitting in her car after a wonderful evening of conversation with friends, my exhausted mind and body faced with a “serious talk.”

“Ok,” I say though my strained calmness, tilting my head curiously like a dog.

A deep breath of anticipation rises in her chest as she turns and looks me in the eye. “I’m in an open relationship.”

Read more »

9 hats in the ring.


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