“It’s G-r-a-s-z-l. Nobody ever gets it right,” 23-year-old Margo Graszl says with a laugh, then rings up a couple of customers at the Keystone Market on Highway 6.It’s Saturday afternoon, the Labor Day anchor shift. When Graszl steps outside during a short pause in the action, her eyes gleam as she senses impending snow – watching silvery gray clouds rolling in from the north, she knows it’s almost here. “I can’t wait,” she says, a friendly smile flashing beneath some big Greta Garbo shades. “Six inches on the Pass and I’m there. I’m excited about seeing the snow come. I can’t wait to get out and ride,” Graszl says, more enthused about the brisk and blustery weather than most of her customers.
Graszl’s wait won’t be too long. Together with boyfriend Briant Wiles, she toured the Pacific Northwest region this summer, reporting decent conditions at Whistler and plenty of snow up at Beartooth Pass. “Whistler was fun. Hood was kind of rainy. But it was snow,” she says.The year before, the pair traveled in New Zealand for several weeks, also in search of summer snow.”We did the whole hippie tourist thing. I love to travel. There are so many cool places to go, it’s tough to settle down,” she says.
But for now, Graszl has ended up in one of Summit County’s coolest places. After trying just about everywhere else, she says she moved to Montezuma this spring – a long way for a Sarasota-born snowboarder who started riding at age 14 in Ohio.”I love it up there. There’s no rules, for one thing. It’s like living in Summit County but not living in Summit County,” she explains, describing the hide-away mountain town that comes closest to being a village in a county full of “Villages.”Graszl works at Arapahoe Basin’s retail shop in the winter, so she’s looking forward to being able to ski to her house via ‘Zuma Bowl, on the back side of A-Basin, the perfect commute for a deep-down snowboard devotee like Graszl. She agrees that, if the hustle and bustle of the big destination resorts is Summit’s visible substance – the yang – then the invisible energy of Montezuma and A-Basin is the anti-matter – the yin – that holds it all together.
The idea of a new lift on the backside of the mountain doesn’t bother her at all. Resort planners at The Legend have already started studying the area, and Graszl says it’ll be great.”I hope it takes away traffic from the East Wall and Pali,” Graszl says.Graszl’s words reflect the heart and soul of so many of the ski and snowboard pilgrims who have stopped in Summit County over the years. Like many others, Graszl says she still may have a few more stops to make before she settles down, speculating that her sojourn here may last another year or so.- Photo and text by Bob Berwyn
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