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Steamboat Magazine

Boat People

12/01/2002 01:00AM ● By Anonymous

Winter 2002:

Boat People

One for the penguins - the Whiteman Penguins, that is...   Craig Ewing runs marathons ... not an easy challenge, but not all that unusual among Steamboat Springs’ health-conscious population either.    What makes Craig’s endeavors remarkable is the extreme nature of the races he chooses to run. Last spring, he raced 26- plus miles on King George Island, off the Antarctic peninsula. He ran through “shoesucking mud,” snoand wind, over steep glaciers and in and out of penguin colonies to be the first American male across the finish line, taking fourth place overall in a fieldof 109 competitors.   No doubt the penguins were fans of Craig, who was racing for the Lowell Whiteman School, with its illustrious penguin mascot. Nineteen people pledged a total of $313 per mile for Craig’s run,which raised more than $8,200 for the private Steamboat school’s endowment program.   “At one point, a penguin attempted to waylay one of the racers,” Craig recalls. “The same penguin just bowed and waved me on, however, seeing my Lowell Whiteman School logo and recognizing that we were kindred spirits.”     Craig’s attraction to exotic locales goes beyond penguins, harkening back to his Norwegian ancestors. One of his greatgrandfathers, Lars Hansen, sailed the Drake Passage in the Age of Antarctic Exploration, One for the penguins – the Whiteman Penguins, that is... and his other great-grandfather, James Ewing, struck gold in Cripple Creek and found diamonds up the Amazon.   The family’s rugged spirit is manifest in the Ewings’ son, Kyle, a senior at Whiteman and a member of the Steamboat Freestyle Ski Team. While Kyle is focusing on his next mogul competition, his father is looking forward to next June, when he will run a marathon through a game park in Kenya.   “It could be dangerous,” Craig surmises. “We’re running through lion country. Somebody could be lunch.” “Run for your life” is advice Craig takes literally. Just like on Cheers, everybody knows Daryl    Daryl Newcomb may or may not be the best waiter in Steamboat Springs, but even he acknowledges he could be the most well-known.    He bristles to the limits of his professional demeanor when people put him at the top of local “best” lists, rattling off names of other longtime servers with as much or more experience than Daryl has. But no matter where he goes in Steamboat, virtually every person who happens by stops to say “hi.”    Steamboat is reminiscent of Cheers, “where everybody knows your name,” Daryl quips, attributing his renown to the 17 years he has lived in the Yampa Valley.    “I like to think I’ve waited on everyone in town,” he says.    Over the years, he has developed a following of sorts, people who call ahead to request Daryl wherever he happens to be working at the time. For the past three years, that has been Café Diva, an intimate restaurant tucked into a corner of Torian Plum Plaza. “It’s a real treat working here,”he says. “The guests leave here happy.”     Daryl is the consummate professional server. “I’m a pro,” he acknowledges – and quickly defines the term: “courtesy and respect, for yourself and others.” He supplements that virtuous creed with a cheat sheet, a 3X5 notecard crammed full of notes to help him recall guests who stop by occasionally, but not on a regular enough basis that their names come readily to mind.    “It’s all I do. I only wait tables, I only have one job, and I only work nights,” Daryl says.    His hours allohim to ski virtually every day of the season. In the legendary winter of 1996, he logged more days on the mountain than any other non-ski area employee, according to ski corp. records.    “I’m 100% ski bum,” Daryl says.    “I’ve tried other places, but the people here are really what it’s all about – that and the untracked powder!Ski Patoler or pirate?   Ron McMorris is a mild-mannered forest ranger each summer, patrolling nearby national forests to try to keep rowdy campers quiet. But come mid-November and the first flakes of snow, he exchanges those Forest Service togs for the big red ski jacket and two-way radio of the SteamboatSki Area’s Courtesy Patrol.     He also removes his leg.   As the result of a motorcycle accident when he was 16, Ron wears a prosthesis from his right thigh down. Sometimes the prosthesis takes the form of a realistic-looking leg, which Ron has dubbed “Larry the Leg.” But when he’s skiing, he wears “Pete the Peg,” a hickory peg leg that delights youngsters on the mountain because it gives Ron a pirate look.   A native Montanan, Ron and his family were living in Denver, where he worked as a computer designer for engineer firms, when Steamboat’s legendary powder skiing enticed them to the Yampa Valley in 1993. Today, Mrs. McMorris works as an accountant for the city; the couple has two grown children and three grandchildren.   Ron learned to ski in his early 20s through Denver Children’s Hospital at Winter Park. A “3- Tracker” who uses one ski and outrigger stabilizers on each arm, Ron skied on the U.S. National Team in the 1984 Disabled Olympics (nocalled the Para-Olympics). He always used the pegand outriggers for skiing because the prosthesis leg lacks the control and stability he needs to ski.   Just hoagile can a 3-Tracker be? Next time you ski or ride past Ron at a speed faster than is safe, you’ll find out.