Cycling and Heli-Skiing - What's the Connection?
Cycling and Skiing. I don't know what it is but there definitely seems to be a correlation between the two for many of our HeliSki guests (and our staff, for that matter). So, in what promises to be a fine marriage, CMH Heli-Skiing has teamed up with legendary American cyclists Bob Roll and Ron Kiefel to offer what we have cheekily called the "Tour d'Adamants". I had a quick chat with Ron before the holidays and now I'm seriously trying to figure out how I can get to the lodge March 13 - this trip is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to rub elbows with the who's who of American Cycling.
JC: Ron, for our readers who don’t know, can you give us an abridged version of your cycling history?
RK: I started racing locally when I was 15, made the U.S. Junior Worlds Team and won a bronze medal at the Junior World Championship with my teammates in the 70K Team Time Trial event. As an amateur striving for the Olympics, I won stages in the Coors Classic, earned five national Championships and ultimately garnered a bronze medal at the '84 Olympics in LA in the 100K Team Time Trial event. In 1985 our 7-Eleven Team turned professional and that year I won a semi-classic in Italy and the seventeenth stage of the Giro d’Italia. In '86 our 7-Eleven team earned an invitation to compete in the Tour de France. I went on to compete in a total of 7 Tour de Frances, plus all of the major European classics and stage races. During those years, American cycling was in its heyday with major international events like the Coors Classic and Tour du Pont, in which I managed to achieve my fair share of success.
JC: And, growing up in CO, I’m sure you’ve had lots of great skiing opportunities, as well as cycling. What are the highlights?
RK: In Colorado, the Coors Classic was the main bicycle race, which drew huge crowds and was a blast to race. Many of the top cyclists in the county moved to Boulder because of the bike race. In the winter time, we’d spend many days Nordic skiing up at Eldora or Devil’s Thumb. I wasn’t a very elegant skate skier, but I had the leg strength to make those skinny skis go. Downhill was basically off limits by the team directors but we still managed to sneak some days on the ski slopes.
JC: Have you ever been heli-skiing? Do you have pretty high expectations?
RK: I’ve never been heli-sking before. I’ve skied in Austria and Italy but never been dropped off at the top of an ungroomed mountain. My expectations are to have fun, enjoy the skiing, challenge myself and drink just enough without affecting the skiing.
JC: What are you and Bob most excited about?
RK: Bob and I have spent many years in the trenches of the European peloton. When we get together, we’re like old war buddies reliving the battles fought. Of course, Bob has a much better mind of detail (or so he says) so his stories always include the forgotten elements. Plus Bob just has a way with words that has kept me laughing (or in wonder) for many years.
JC: Will you set aside an evening at the lodge to tell some stories about ‘The Good Old Days”?
RK: Stories are the mainstay of our lore! I don't imagine we'll do anything formal, but I envision a few impromtu presentations as the week progresses!
JC: Can others join in the fun?
RK: You bet, that’s what the trip is all about. Bob and I look forward to sharing the adventures of heli-skiing, the fine dining (we’re both good at eating and drinking) and to spend a week playing with other guests in the mountains of western Canada.
Don't miss this chance to ski, socialize and learn the in's-and-out's of professional cycling with these two legends in the Adamants, March 13 - 20, 2010. Spaces are still available, but won't last long once word of this cool opportunity starts to spread. Call Maria (our resident cyclist) in Heli-Ski reservations at 1-800-661-0255. See you at the lodge!