Peter Shelton

Ligers and Wholphins and Sharks, Oh My!

Posted in At the Movies, Watch columns by pshelton on November 26, 2009

The guy in the wetsuit and scuba gear strums his guitar and sings: “If I was a great white I wouldn’t bite you. But I’d swim right next to you.” And right behind him in the blue depths, swimming along apparently uninterested, is this enormous, white-bellied, 40-million-year-old apex predator. Clearly a great white shark.

The audience at the Montrose Pavilion for Mountainfilm’s annual tour show, a near sell-out of about 600 people, gasped as one, then held its breath as if for the safety of the bubbling troubadour.

You couldn’t hold it for long, though, because The Great White Shark Song got funnier, and deeper, and more macabre as it went along. (more…)

Comedy and its opposite

Posted in Watch columns by pshelton on November 19, 2009

I want to see Sarah Palin as pure comedy. As nothing more than a laughable creation of our celebrity culture. (more…)

Hopi chants and ski sacrifices

Posted in Columns, How the West was Lost by pshelton on November 14, 2009

Here’s a column from November 1995, a year the snow waited until after Thanksgiving.

I rode the bike up high, up to almost 10,000 feet, and still the ground was pretty bare. I stopped and walked out on a ledge and listened for snow.

There was the sound of wind in the bare aspens down below in Beaver Creek. Or was that the creek itself? A trickle running over autumn-gray stones? Wind and water sometimes sound alike.

There was the distant grinding of cars on Dallas Divide, the sound rising and fading with the breathing of the wind. There was a jet, its muted roar reaching far in front of the shining silver seed.

A murder of crows rode the scarp’s updraft diagonally above me. Their wing feathers rustled like tissue paper. I couldn’t hear the snow coming. (more…)

The Man on the Medal

Posted in Ski history, Watch columns by pshelton on November 12, 2009

In Aspen last week for a pre-season blowout sale, we got the goodies we’d come for (two pairs of lightly-used carving skis—cheap), and we got a serendipitous shot of living ski history.

Cecily’s assignment was to score some p-tex candles. Her husband Mike has been up high already making thin turns on Trico Peak. His board has paid a price, and thus the need for base repair.

Cecily looked around at downtown Aspen with almost new eyes. “Where did the Chamberlains live?” she asked. It had been at least two decades since we’d visited friends on W. Francis Street with our little girls. The Chamberlain house had, Cecily remembered, a steep, carpeted stairway, down which both girls plunged head-first on their bellies again and again. It was more memorable than the skiing we must also have done.

Now we wandered quiet streets and pedestrian malls crunchy with leaves, but none of the ski shops we visited had any p-tex. Or they hadn’t yet brought out the ski-tuning stuff. Or in one instance, we’re pretty sure, the twenty-something salesperson didn’t actually know what we were talking about.

Then we spied Durrance Sports, (more…)

Test Your Early-Season Ski I.Q.

Posted in At the Movies, Ski evolution by pshelton on November 10, 2009

1. SNOW STORMS IN NOVEMBER inevitably lead to:

a) predictions by newcomers and marketing types for a big winter to come;

b) Coors Light commercials;

c) mud.

2. TRUE OR FALSE: (more…)

Say Goodnight, Gracie

Posted in How the West was Lost, Watch columns by pshelton on November 4, 2009

In mid-summer I got a call from a friend of Grace Herndon’s inviting Ellen and me to Grace’s 85th birthday party up at Miramonte Reservoir. I told her I was sorry, we were going to be away, and she said maybe in that case I ought to give Gracie a call soon, because they were thinking she was pretty frail and might not last much longer.

Turned out she refused to die for another three months. (more…)