STORY No. 24
Saranac Lake, NY
|Matt Cook… past the tipping point, mastering the V.|
In June of 2000 I graduated from Carleton University. Three months later I was driving across the country. I left Saranac Lake, NY in an old red Nissan pick up truck and drove straight to Steamboat Springs. My plan was to live in this old chicken coop of a cabin with my high school buddy Billy Demong just outside of town and I was going to work my way onto the US Nordic Combined team… I hadn’t jumped on snow in over 6 years. I was 23 years old and determined. Hell, I hadn’t even learned how to do the elusive V at that point! You got it… boner style.
I drove across the country alone without taking many breaks. When I arrived in Steamboat it was night. I had Billy’s address on a piece of paper in the glove compartment. I hadn’t even been there before. I pulled into a driveway that I thought was to Billy’s cabin. I parked the pick up truck and went up to the cabin. As I got close I realized it was the wrong house, the address was off by one number. I turned around and began walking to my parked truck. Suddenly the owner of the house opened the front door and came out to me quickly. He told me I was on private property as he got close to me. He was not happy. I apologized and told him I had made a mistake and was leaving… As I turned away he grabbed me and put my hands into some kind of hand-cuff behind my back. He did it really quickly… I was not sure what was going on so I tried to free my hands. He didn’t like that and made the hand cuffs tighter. It was a cop. It was his house. He patted me down looking for drugs or a weapon. I was a bit nervous but I also felt like laughing. This guy was too much! He took me to his cruiser on the side of his house and called my driver’s license number into the station. Once he realized I wasn’t a convicted house robber he let me go. I left his house and drove 100 feet down the road to Billy’s chicken coop cabin. Over a beer I told him I had been introduced to the neighbors and they seemed like nice folks…
I had an amazing winter in Steamboat! I learned how to ski jump again. I pretty much lived at Howelsen Hill with Wilson, Crawdaddy and Gilbo… They let me work off a large percentage of my training enrollment fees. I remember getting up super early in the morning some days and getting the hills ready for weekend training and the World Cups in December… Other days I helped coach on the small hills. They were the Little Vikings. If I wasn’t working for pennies I was training. I skied the big hill that winter. It was my first big hill. Right before I went up for my first jump I remember Gilbo telling Tommy Schwall and Logan Gerber that I supposed to jump after one of them and right before the other. It was like some kind of protective system to “get you through the first ride”. I was really pumped after skiing that hill…
It was exactly where I needed to be at that time of my life.
I never did see that neighbor again…