Peter Shelton

You Say You Want a Resolution

Posted in Watch columns by pshelton on December 31, 2009

You know that clunking noise the old Saab makes? The one in the front end that sounds as if there’s a bolt loose, or a missing bushing or something? And every little bump in the road transmits the rattle, unless you’re going fast enough and you have the stereo cranked up to 11 so that nothing penetrates your rock ‘n’ roll bubble?

I really should get that looked at (listened to) again, even though that one guy who purported to be a foreign car specialist said he’d finally figured it out, but it was OK because it’s just this thing, and it makes a noise, and it isn’t crucial or anything.

Saab is soon to be no more, if you believe General Motors. So, I resolve this New Year’s, before the replacement parts for all 1997 Saabs with 298K miles on them disappear into capitalist extinction, to find these parts and get them installed. Because I don’t totally trust this guy, and loyal “Footsie” (Malagasy for “white girl”; we name all our cars) needs to keep running for a good while longer since we aren’t exactly in a position to pony up for a new vehicle right now.

And while we’re on resolutions (more…)

Finding the Love Spot

Posted in Ski evolution, Watch columns by pshelton on December 23, 2009

I must be suggestible. I mean the type of person who is easily hypnotized.

My first day skiing this winter at Telluride, I skied very much the way John Clendenin would want me to ski. Clendenin was one of the first wave of pro freestylers in the 1970s—wild-haired and hugely-talented “hot-doggers” (Clendenin favored headbands and harlequin-striped stretch pants) who careened through moguls as if they were red-hot coals.

Calmer now, he lives in Aspen, (more…)

Build a bank and lean against it

Posted in Ski evolution, Watch columns by pshelton on December 17, 2009

The snowboardcross racers in Telluride for the World Cup this weekend will try to stay upright over the jack-in-the-box table-tops and tricky rollers peppering the course. And they will lay out horizontal to the plane of the earth as they whip around giant, fun-park hairpins. That’s the part of the course I’d like to experience, the high tea-cup walls where, like a swirling liquid, I’d be pinned by an alternate gravity to the smooth curved sides. (more…)

Temporary blindness

Posted in Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on December 10, 2009

Blizzard Warning! We had one this week accompanying a storm that did, in fact, close the passes and turned the mountains into a giant Cool Whip dessert.

The prospect of driving through a swirling white-out kept Ellen from motoring up to Telluride for a meeting. I don’t blame her. She was thinking about the time last winter when we went up together, the wind and snow kicked in during the afternoon, and it took us three and a half hours to crawl home to Colona, a trip of just over one hour in clear weather.

It’s not the porcelain road surface so much. We have good snow tires, and we know what our cars can and cannot do. (The other drivers out there? The ones braking in the curves or passing to gain a single place in line? That’s another story.) No, the real drama starts when you can’t tell where in hell the road is. (more…)

In Aspen, snow played the villain

Posted in Ski evolution, Watch columns by pshelton on December 1, 2009

The play-by-play guy at Sunday’s World Cup race in Aspen must have mispronounced the last name of Maria and Suzanne Riesch two dozen times. The sisters pronounce their name “Reesh.” The rules of “ie” and “ei” in German are unambiguous. But the P.A. guy kept saying it with a long “i” sound, so that it rimed with Third Reich.

The real villain of the weekend, though, if you listened to disappointed Americans, was the snow. (more…)