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March 17th Commences the Wearing of the Green in Colorado Ski Country

Photo credit: New England Lost Ski Areas Project

Photo credit: New England Lost Ski Areas Project

Today we’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Colorado Ski Country with green ski gear and green aprs-skibeer.

In addition to being the masters of the English language, ferocious warriors, and above-average rugby players, the Irish retain pagan superstitions that pre-date St. Patrick’s 5th century arrival to the Emerald Isle. We asked our friends out in Ski Country if they had any good luck rituals they’d like to share; here are some of the highlights:

Tony Cammarata, Director of Ski Patrol at Arapahoe Basin: The St. Bernard medal (patrol saint of alpine rescuers). I have had it around my neck for about ten years. I bought it in Stanley, Idaho right before I put on the Middle Fork of the Salmon. It is a medal depicting Bernard of Menthon and the Alpine Mastiff that they named after him. He is the 11th century monk and patron saint of alpine rescuers. On the back it has a snowflake and a request for protection. It never comes off my neck.

Jamie Wolter, Assistant Director of Mountain Patrol at Ski Granby Ranch: My good luck charm is my wedding band. I have been married for 21 years and have only removed while rock climbing when I put it on a carabiner in my climbing pack. I fondle and twist when nervous or thinking about my awesome wife Jean. When BC (backcountry) skiing or taking part in risky activities it is a constant reminder that I need to make it home every time. Jean and I do many adventure activities together but when I’m off with friends or solo it keeps me safe and brings me luck in all of life’s adventures.

Steamboat Resort – the resort has a bronze bust of Buddy Werner at the top of Storm Peak.(Buddy Werner is one of the founders of Steamboat). Folks go by it, tap their ski pole on his head or toss snow on him to bring good luck.

Kyle Frye, Wolf Creek ski Patroller: “I carry a good luck charm with me everywhere I go. It is a fossilized Sea-lion tooth that has been carved by native people in Alaska to be used as a fishing weight. I was given the tooth from my best friend years ago. It has been lost many times and then just shows back up in my pocket. I once lost it while building fence and found it on top of a fence post two weeks later. I feel lost when it is not in my pocket and it brings me a peace of mind that even though we as humans feel so technologically advanced that when we find ourselves in the wilderness without connection to the rest of the world we still have the intellect to solve our most basic needs; food, water, and shelter. This lucky charm is my connection to the ancestors of the past and wilderness. It gives me a place in my mind to escape the modern world for a brief moment and I can relax and feel the presence of nature.”