Notable Guests

By Beacon Staff

There is a lot to do at a ski resort besides ride a chairlift. I have spent most of my adult life riding them and then making turns or filming people making turns and attending more than my share of dinner parties.

My wife Laurie was a great cook, but she figures she has cooked 14,000 dinners in her life so she’s done making the whole dinner … so if people want to come here, they help out! She is still a great dinner-party planner and hostess. Unfortunately, our dining room table only seats 16 people at a time.

In the last week, our dining room table was graced by General Tom McInerny, who flew more than 400 combat missions in Vietnam. His son, Tom Jr., had just bought a membership in the Yellowstone Club. Golfer Tom Wieskopf, who won the British Open, was sitting across the table. It was nice to listen to these two men compare where they skied on the mountain that day.

Other guests who joined the party that night were Jim Whittaker, the first American to stand at the summit of Mount Everest and his wife Dianne, who once held the record for a woman high-altitude climbing without oxygen at 26,000 feet on Annapurna.

At our weekly Saturday afternoon tea, Jim Whittaker and Conrad Anker told me about some of their exploits near the summit of Everest in the death zone above 22,000 feet. You can tell how tired you are by how many breaths you have to take between each step.

I have never wanted to climb for two reasons. First, it is that I am too careless and second, I did a lot of climbing on snow for a lot of years when I wanted footage of untracked powder snow.

The one common denominator among everyone in the room was their constant search for freedom, which they also find on the side of a hill.

The level of worldwide talent and achievement develops further when we share dinner with Greg and Kathy LeMond. With Kathy’s constant support and love, Greg won the Tour de France three times and was the only American to ever legitimately win that incredible race. The final time, Greg won it with 39 lead shotgun pellets in his body from a hunting accident, three in his heart and several in his liver that cannot be removed. Very soon, two movies will be out about Greg and his career, including “Slaying the Badger,” which focuses on the politics involved in cycling. The second film is about Lance Armstrong’s career of doping and his fall, called, “Stop at Nothing.”

I’m lucky Laurie likes to entertain such interesting people as much as I enjoy listening to every one of their stories. They are all my heroes.

Laurie and our guests can walk 100 feet from our front door and be in the middle of a great ski run called Pioneer and then ski down and meet other skiers such as the ones I have talked about, climb on a chairlift and ski in untracked powder snow until the lifts shut off for the day.

Since we are right on the edge of the run and we open up our home to members and guests every Saturday afternoon for hot chocolate and schnapps or tea.

On occasion, Chris Wright, who played a huge part in developing the technology to make fracturing in search of oil and gas viable, speaks to us about the industry. He has flown to many countries to advise them on their fracturing and recently spoke to the House of Lords, helping them evaluate the pros and cons of making their country energy self-sufficient.

When we are short of an overachiever of the week, I fill in as a substitute speaker and tell stories about the good old days – when I lived in a small trailer in the Sun Valley parking lot.

I have millions of stories stored somewhere in my brain. All I have to do is remember them.

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