The View From A VIP Box at an NHL Contest, Skiing And The Hapless Habs 2011-12 Montreal Canadians
I went to a hockey game and wound up talking about skiing.
Ice and snow; once you think about it, they do go together. Not quite like pucks and power plays, but there is a certain similarity between the two.
I was in a VIP box at the Honda Center for the Ducks and the Montreal Canadians – the “Habes,” as the sometimes quirky but always jovial Canadians call them – at the invitation of the Telluride Ski Resort.
The PR & Communications manager of the resort, Tom Watkinson, was in town for Ski Dazzle, the huge ski and snowboard show at the LA Convention Center, and he wanted to meet and entertain Los Angeles-based media in a fun environment. Since there’s some partner ownership between Telluride and the Ducks, this made for a perfect casual get-together and PubClub.com was among the invited media. Of course, this PubClub.com blogger jumped at the opportunity.
I’ve never been to Telluride but a friend tells me it’s his favorite place in the U.S., and he’s been skiing just about everywhere in this country. It’s always been a spot on my skiing radar (and I’m a traditional two-planker, not a shredder) but I’ve failed to make it there just yet.
I learned that Telluride is a “stand alone” ski resort, meaning it’s not clustered around other locations. As such, it does not have lift ticket arrangements with other Colorado resorts. It’s 300 miles from Denver but there are direct flights from Los Angeles on United.
It’s relatively remote location (in the southwestern part of the state) means it is not as crowded as your typical ski resort and, “Telluride Tom” as I call him says, has no lift lines. That’s welcome news to any skier or snowboarder from California who has spent many an afternoon standing still waiting for a chair at spots like Stump Alley in otherwise enjoyable Mammoth.
Telluride wants to adopt the European approach to skiing, and that is to encourage skiers to slow down, relax and enjoy the scenery. In Europe, people stop for drinks and long meals during the day, while Americans are consumed with getting in as many runs as possible. As an intermediate level skier, I prefer the European pace.
All accommodations are ski in/out places and you can walk everywhere. Telluride is an old mining town and is joined by a gondola that runs until midnight to the adjoining Town of Mountain Village. There are some bars and apres action, too, that need checking out by PubClub.com.
The whole place certainly sounds intriguing.
But the evening was not all about Telluride. We were able to enjoy the game and the arena, as well. The location of the box required me to walk through the Jack Daniels bar, which immediately resulted in some PubClub flashbacks.
A few years ago, I organized a party bus to a Ducks game. Somehow, we all wound up at this bar, which is on the third level behind one of the goals. We cared not at all about the game, but ran up crazy bar tabs and had a great time. We would have done it again and again except for the fact that the Ducks person in charge of group sales could not conceive of the fact that if we were to return, we wanted to spend time in the bar and not in seats. Get us in for cheap, sit us down in the bar and we’ll spend money. Never happened. I’m thinking he took goalie practice without the pads for cheap thrills.
I was thrilled the game was against the Canadians, with 24 Stanley Cups hockey’s most historic team. (Alas, the 2011-12 hapless Habs are hardly worthy representatives of the team’s heritage. They are more like the Hab Nots.)
That’s about it for my interest in hockey, by the way. It drives me crazy that the players skate backward so often – hey, the goal is that way – and that there seems to be no sense or urgency in the play. For example, the Habs had a power play and with a minute remaining, paused to let the line change, meaning new players were coming onto the ice.
That took up about 20 seconds of what I think if very valuable time. Hey, change lines after the penalty expires. Suck it up!
My favorite part of the game – by far – was during the breaks. Apparently, the NHL has adopted the basketball-style mandated timeouts at four-minute intervals (something I’ve said has been needed for years) and the Ducks use this as a chance to flaunt their best assets.
That’s when a group of girls, dressed in halter tops and spandex pants, come out and scrapes the ice. They are fit, so hot they could melt the ice just by looking at it and can really skate! At first, I thought they were just there for show but no, they actually do the work. It’s the best game-stoppage entertainment in sports and it actually serves a purpose.
Quickly, it seemed, the game was over (the Ducks broke an eight-game losing streak and fired their coach after the game; way to go Canadians!) and we wrapped up our business.
I now am vowing to go to Telluride.