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- Winter 101
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- Stay Warm
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Feb 22, 2021
Early November 2018, Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado
Davey Pitcher watched the shiny yellow sports car roll through the parking lot and pull up just below his office window at Wolf Creek Ski Area, a small operation in southern Colorado that Pitcher runs. A man with a square jaw and muscular build got out. Pitcher immediately recognized legendary big-mountain skier and heli-ski guide Dean Cummings, his friend of 30 years. The car was packed, like it was being lived in. Cummings walked up the stairs to Pitcher’s office, as he did almost every fall when he came to ski early-season powder.
The ski area wasn’t open yet, but the U.S. Freestyle Moguls Team was training near the summit. Pitcher figured that Cummings, who launched his career with the team in 1991, would be eager to ski with them.
Cummings sat down across from Pitcher’s desk, but before Pitcher could say anything, Cummings dove into a rambling saga centered in Valdez, Alaska, where he’d lived for more than two decades. People’s identities were being taken over, Cummings said. A criminal syndicate involving his wife, Karen, had sabotaged his heli-ski business, H2O Guides, and was trying to kill him. While en route to Wolf Creek, Cummings said, a semitruck had belched poison at him through its exhaust pipe, making his heart race. Taken aback, Pitcher tried to change the subject.