“They called off the race half-way through, because they were concerned about lightning,” Mike says.
Of the 700 people who started out from the 6,000-foot elevation, 200 finished anyway. “They never really had any lightning, but they were trying to be safe,” Mike says.
Mike, who has worked as a server with the Hotel for the past year, grew up on the ski slopes of Mt. Baldy, which his family runs. He played football and swam competitively in high school, and after graduation, found his way downslope to the sand and surf of Huntington Beach. To help his mother battle lymphoma into remission, he moved for two years to Wisconsin.
“Beautiful snow, but no hills,” Mike says, shaking his head.
His cousin Tom Ellingson kept dinging on Mike to think about relocating to the slopes of the iconic Mt. Hood, Oregon‘s tallest peak. Mike liked the idea. He had been working for several years with the Claim Jumper restaurant chain, so he negotiated a gig with its Portland franchise. From there, a shift to Hood River was easy.
Now, when he isn’t skiing, he’s out on the Columbia River with his standup paddleboard, or swimming, or biking.
“Livin’ the life,” he says. “I’m thinking this is a great base for me.”