Out of the blue the other day, I got an email from David Moe. I haven’t seen or communicated with David Moe for probably 20 years.
He was one of the founding fathers of Powder Magazine, which put out its first issue in 1972. He developed an alter ego, Captain Powder, loosely based on the white-suited skiing soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division. Then he took it further and painted his face white, the rims of his dark glasses, and not just the tops of his skis but the bindings, too.
More than an editor or a writer, Moe was a chameleon, a loose cannon, a comic ambassador for the magazine and the sport. You never knew what David would do or who he would be. I have a photo of him on a multi-day high tour we did together. It was bitter cold. He had been trailing the group, and when he skinned up to us something was different. It took a minute to realize that he was wearing a baby-doll mask and a Superman watch cap.
I jotted Moe’s new phone number in back of the M’s in my address book and then began idly scanning the entries, front-to-back, oldest-to-newest. Monarch Ski Area. Mountainfilm. Metric Motors in
Who or what else might pop out of these pages? Some entries, like the one for Monarch, induced a string of memories. The name under the phone number read Darren Rogers (this must have been in the early ‘80s), and I remembered him as the young, thickset, athletic president of the company who toured me around the hill on telemark gear wearing a Santa suit. It must have been near Christmas.
He had ambitious plans for the ski mountain and for the eponymous lodge down in
I do remember he was a friend, though no relation, of Craig Rogers, a friend of mine in Telluride. Craig came to the mountains young, a
We played volleyball together in the late ‘70s on a team (sponsored by Rice Lumber) that traveled the state to USVBA tournaments. One of our teammates back then was a guy named Jeff Hope, who, along with his wife, Robin, came last weekend to the wedding party in Ouray thrown by Jerry Roberts and Lisa Issenberg. I remembered jumping out and pushing Jeff’s VW bus up Crow Hill on a snowy night on our way to a tournament in
If the word “Monarch” led to a full memory circle, there were other entries that stopped me short as if by a wall. The
Some of these go back a ways. There was the name of a photographer with an address in
And what about Peter and Rita Marthaler in
One name I hadn’t seen in a long time conjured both good and grim images. Beth Moxley was a nurse, or some kind of healer, from Montrose. We met on a
Years later Beth Moxley was murdered outside Montrose. The details are not clear in my mind, but I think the trailer she was in was torched in an attempt to destroy the evidence.
Turning the pages: Andy Mill. Native Aspenite, U.S. Team downhiller in the ‘80s. Friendly guy and a great skier, but always crashing. Purposely froze his foot before an Olympic downhill after spraining the ankle the day before. Married to tennis great Chris Everett.
David Moffat. Who helped me rid our cabin of mouse-infested, possibly hanta-infected fiberglass insulation. Provided the gas masks, the haz-mat suits, the whole bit.
That was just two summers ago, a relatively recent entry. And that brought me to David Moe again. I believe the last time I saw Moe was at a Powder contributors party in southern
Pressing the edges tight to his skin, he kept blowing, methodically, maniacally. Now the glove was nearly transparent and three times as big as Moe’s head. Nearby diners stared in disbelief; the waiters looked stricken, frozen in place. Finally, someone called the manager, but it was too late. The building anxiety and the surgical rubber popped together in an explosion that was just as big somehow as the anticipation.
It wasn’t clear why Moe wrote to me recently. Something about needing to reclaim the Captain Powder mojo, to find something that had gone missing over time.
I wrote back, thanked him for the memories and wished him well on his way through the book of life.