#11: VIGILANTES ON SKIS
Written by Lyndon Froese // Artwork by Seth Heinrichs
The slopes were flooded with skiers and the staff were fighting to keep the SS Falcon Ridge afloat.
Somehow Emily Christie was able to sneak away. She hadn’t left herself much time to ski out to the remote cabin and prep it for that day’s guests, but she knew she had time to get it done.
...as long as everything went perfectly.
But everything going perfectly doesn’t make for very good stories, does it?
When Emily arrived at the cabin she saw that the floor was a skating rink. The hot water tank had split.
She phoned her dad, Craig, who knew from her description that he’d have to head into Kenora to get a replacement tank. Kenora is a bit of a drive and with the guests due in just over two hours there was no margin for error. Now things really had to go perfectly, whether you like good stories or not.
Craig dropped what he was doing and drove into town. No time to stop for french fries today! Craig would have to forego his Kenora tradition.
Meanwhile at the cabin, Emily kindled a fire to thaw the place and mopped as the ice melted on the pine floor. The fire was just about as hot as they get. The beds were made. The towels were proper. She’d just finished doing all that she could when she heard the welcome sound of Craig’s old snowmobile.
Craig got to work hooking up the new tank. This part was easy enough. Things were really coming up Christie Lane over there and Craig was beginning to regret his decision not to spend an extra five minutes getting french fries.
Then came a loud voice from outside.
Craig, not one to be side-tracked by just any old thing, thought he’d finish what he was doing.
Someone sure was yelling out there.
Craig got up from his work and poked his head out the door.
Outside were a man and woman, dressed in high-performance cross-country ski suits, standing right next to Craig’s snowmobile.
“Who do you think you are?” inquired the man in Spandex. “These are cross-country ski trails!”
The man pointed at the machine, pole in hand.
Time had been so tight earlier that Craig had taken a shortcut when he hauled the tank out to the cabin. He tried to explain.
“Well, yes, I know the trails are...”
The man cut him off.
“I’m taking these.”
He was referring to the snowmobile key which Craig had left in the ignition, where all keys are stored in Falcon Lake. But now it was in this guy’s hand, held up for Craig to see.
“Wait a minute...” Craig began, but the pair were already skiing away. They hurried down the trail hollering about how they were going to report Craig to the Park Ranger.
“Hey!” Craig shouted. “What are you doing!?”
Emily, who had spectated the whole thing didn’t know her dad could even speak so loudly. But there was no answer from the skiers.
Off the pair went with the key, the key for the snowmobile that Craig uses every day to groom the very trails they were so concerned about. Craig doesn’t bother to count the hours he spends working on those trails every year. His efforts dwarf any budget for those public access trails. He grooms them quietly, on his own accord. Day after day, year after year, he weaves those thin parallel tracks through the forest. They are a thing of beauty, a source of pride in his life, and it always warms Craig’s heart to hear that people are enjoying the fruits of his care.
And now this? This, on a day with no time to spare. Emily and Craig needed to get on that horse and ride if they were going to have a chance of getting themselves, their tools and the old tank out of there before the guests arrived.
They got Brent on the phone, the ski hill mechanic at the time. Brent hurried onto his snowmachine to intercept the two vigilantes on skis. He rode up next to the couple and explained the situation over the rattle of the engine. They needed the key back!
The skiers didn’t even turn to look. Theypumped away on their poles.
Brent crept along and asked again whether they’d please return Craig’s key. The determined skiers pretended he wasn’t there, surely enjoying their time in the woods with the sound of a 600cc two-stroke in their ears.
Not being one keen on tackling skiers, Brent turned around and headed back up the trail to the cabin. Emily and Craig squeezed onto the seat and all three rode to the resort. There, it was Craig who did the calling to the Park Ranger and it was the vigilantes who were stopped at the park gates.
The expected guests arrived and ended up having just such a wonderful stay, with extremely hot bubble baths abounding. Craig re-groomed the trail, albeit with a little less joy in his heart.
It became just one of those things.
Then, five years later, a very nice bottle of Scotch with a note appeared on Barb and Craig’s doorstep. It seemed to Craig that much like the fermentation of whiskey, some apologies take time. But it still tasted great to Craig.