Into Thin Air…My Bachelorhood

28 Mar

What am I about to do???

So there are two versions of the proposal – the short version and the long version.

The short version:

We were on Copper Mountain, I had a ring, I asked her, and she said yes.

The long version:

This year we took a ski-trip to Copper Mountain. It’s an annual trip for me and my friends…except for the years I don’t go with them…haha.  I’ve been skiing nearly every year of my life since I was 4 years old and Tracy had never seen a ski slope in her life except on tv.

But let me back up a little who don’t know the story of Tracy and I.  We met in a bar about a year and a half ago and soon after that began dating. We of course we have had our ups and downs like in every relationship: we had to fight through the language barrier  ( I am a yankee and she is a southern belle with a pretty southern accent so she and her family have sayings that I sometimes don’t understand), the startling age difference (she’s 9 months older than me), and of course the big issue of religious differences (I’m a Jayhawk and she’s a Razorback). But we’ve managed to work our way through those differences and had been talking about the next step in our relationship for a little bit of time before the ski trip.

I had been planning to propose to her on the ski trip and was doing every thing I could to throw her off track to not expect a proposal until maybe this summer. A lot of her friends were asking her if I might propose to her on Christmas or her birthday (Jan 2) or possibly on Valentine’s Day, but she knows me and my contrarian nature well enough to know I would not do something cliché like that.  😉 (My apologies if I have offended anybody who might have proposed on a holiday, but it’s just not my style).  There were only a handful of family and friends (six total) who knew the details of the proposal and they knew only because I needed help pulling it off – I wanted it to be a complete surprise.

Here is a daily log leading up to and after the proposal.

Thursday afternoon:

My first concern in getting to the airport was getting the ring through the airport terminal security scanners without a TSA person asking for a full search and emptying my carry-on backpack only to reveal the ring box, wrapped in newspaper, concealed in a hand-towel I had hidden at the bottom of my backpack. Thankfully…we made it through without any luggage search.

Off we went on the plane bound for Denver to hang out with my sister, Renée, and my nephew Micaiah for a day before meeting Jeremy, Stacy and the rest of the gang at our ski-in/ski-out condo at Copper Mountain.  The ring…still safely stored in my backpack.

Thursday night:

We landed in Denver and spent the night at my sister and brother-in-laws house who live in Denver.

Friday morning:

I took my sister to work in order to borrow her car so Tracy and I could use her car during the day to run errands and to also go to Chipotle (Arkansans might not know this restaurant but it is the best big-burrito place on earth! It’s similar to Moe’s but 100 times better).  When I was leaving to take Renée to work I grabbed my backpack to have it with me to keep the ring safe and to make sure it was not accidentally discovered by Tracy. Tracy made a comment to me as I was heading out the door, “You can’t go anywhere without your backpack can you?”  Little did she know the contents of the backpack.  😉

Friday evening:

We met up with Jeremy, Stacy, and the rest of the gang this evening. Jeremy and Stacy know about the proposal

Satuday morning:

Today is the day I want the proposal to happen. {more quick background: before coming on the ski trip I let Tracy know that if she gets on the mountain and if she’s cold, miserable, or anything else and not enjoying skiing then she can walk off the mountain and it’s absolutely not a problem.}  So the thought in the back of my head is that I want the proposal to happen on the mountain during good daylight so I better do it on the first day before lunch in case she does not want to come back out and ski anymore after the first day.  That morning before we head out I put the ring, which is in the box, still wrapped in newspaper, into the left hip pocket of my ski coat.

We went out on the bunny hill and it’s me, Stacy, and Tracy.  Tracy had been on skis all of 15 minutes before her skis took control and head her in a direction she was not ready, nor intending to go, and she took a pretty bad spill.  Not a good way to start to build her confidence.  The old saying of too many cooks in the kitchen can be true when applied to trying to teach someone how to ski so I left Tracy in the great ski-teaching-hands of Stacy and went off to ski some on my own.  My thought is I’ll go hit some moguls to burn off some nervous energy, but before I leave Tracy is still upset because skiing is not an easy sport to learn.  I look at Stacy, before I headed out on my own when Tracy is not looking at me, and give Stacy a look that kind of asks, “Probably not a good thing to do the proposal today before lunch huh?” And Stacy’s look back at me said, “Yeah, I wouldn’t do it because it would be too big of an emotional roller-coaster.” So off I head to ski on my own and to think of a “Plan D”. I already had “Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C” taken care of which as of now appeared down the drain, and did not account for a “Plan D”.  Crap, now what?

Throughout the morning I periodically checked in with Stacy (via cell-phone) to see how Tracy was doing and there was good news. After I left, Tracy started doing great and her confidence was sky-high! (I’m not sure what that says about me being around Tracy in relation to her confidence…. haha jk 😉

I put “Plan A” back in action and contacted Jeremy to get him to meet us at the base of the bunny slope in order to have my camera and camcorder ready for he and Carey to use.  (Carey learned of the proposal that morning from my sister who called Carey while Carey was on the slopes and so she went to the condo and picked up the camcorder from my sister who was at the condo.)  Everything is set.

After I was done hitting the moguls I started to make my way back over to the bunny slope.  You have to know that as a skier I’m a pretty big risk-taker.  I’ve been skiing double black-diamonds since I was 10 years old; I’ll hit moguls, I’ll hit big jumps, I’ll hit terrain parks, I’ll hit half-pipes…if there’s a possibility of going fast and getting my body propelled into the air I’ll do it! I love it!  But I also have a tendency to wipe-out and when I do it’s quite a sight to see because it’s a big wipeout.

As I was making my way over to the bunny slope I was going down a slope that had some side-trails, which are always fun. Well, I went on this one trail and there happened to be a quick set of double jumps right before the lip at the end of the trail that I didn’t see when I entered the trail.  I had way too much speed to slow down safely without falling to the right and into a ravine that was about 15 feet down the mountain and I would’ve been brought to a sudden stop by my cranium bashing into a tree thus cushioning the fall for the rest of my body. Not the optimum choice, I decided to see if I could clear the double-jumps. Yeah, I didn’t make it. I hit the top of the second jump and my right ski went off the side the jump.  I did everything I could to throw my body so I would land on the right side of my body (while trying not to slide down the ravine) so I would not land on the ring that was in my left coat pocket. Thankfully after I skidded to a stop I was on my right side, the ring was unharmed, and all of my limbs were still attached and pointing in the right direction.

I decided the best thing would be to get to the bunny slope in one piece so I slowed down a bit and I finally met up with Tracy, Stacy, Jeremy, and Carey at the base of the bunny slope.  After getting their attention without Tracy noticing I motioned to Jeremy and Carey that I was ready to do this and they got the cameras ready.

The proposal:

I turned to Tracy and told her that I wanted to make this ski trip the most memorable ever for her (faulty logic: since this was her first and only ski-trip it would by default be her most memorable, her best, and her worst. 😉

After saying some things that I honestly can not remember I started to unzip her ski-coat (see picture) for no other reason known to me other than I was overwhelmed with nerves, because of the magnitude of the moment. I reached in my pocket to unwrap the ring-box from the protective wrapping and Tracy got a bewildered look on her face and said to me, “What are you fixin’ to do?!” (translation to my northerner friends, “What the hell are you doing?!”)

I drop to my knee, as best possible in ski boots that come up mid-shin, pull the ring-box out of my pocket, open the box and ask, “Will you marry me?”

She said no.

Just kidding!

She said yes!!  I was still on my knee not knowing what to do after I gave her the ring.

I then heard her say, “Did you hear what I said? I said yes.” So I stood up.

the rock

After the commotion settled down a bit, Tracy grabbed her phone to make some immediate phone calls to tell people of the good news and then she also headed in to the condo to make more phone calls… (ignore my goofy grin, I was euphoric 😉

"I need my phone."

…I headed up to the top of the mountain with Jeremy to see my bachelorhood go poof “into thin air”.  😉

Jeremy and I at the top of the mountain

Day 2 of skiing for Tracy came much easier for her. We went down the bunny slope several times during the morning and then headed over to her first green slope in the afternoon.

Ready for a green slope? 🙂

She had mastered getting on and off the chair-lifts all on her own.  It took the better part of the afternoon to make it down the green slope, but she was very cautious and didn’t fall at all. Her progress at learning how to ski was coming along very good!

Day 3 of skiing for her was the best. We headed over to the green slope and she was flying down the slope (completely in control too  🙂  )

She was passing people and then when we got further down I asked her if she saw what was around the corner.  She asked, “Is that the bottom of the slope?!” And I told her yes it was.  She was so surprised at how little time it took her to make one full run! It took us only about 15 minutes!  She told me she couldn’t wait to come back next year – that’s a good sign. 🙂

After the ski trip we went out to eat at an amazing steak place in Denver, Brook’s Steak House, with Renée, Micaiah, and my brother-in-law Josh. It was definitely one of the top 5 steaks I’ve ever eaten.

Brook's Steak House

Here are just some other random shots of her and I, and her skiing.

My co-conspirators with me at the top of the mountain– Stacy, Jeremy, Me

Tracy skiing

Tracy skiing

the happy couple 🙂


Posted by on March 28, 2010 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Into Thin Air…My Bachelorhood

  1. Kimberly

    April 1, 2010 at 08:40

    I love the long version ~ congratulations to you both!

  2. Shayla

    July 23, 2010 at 21:13

    Oh my goodness, congratulations Derek!

    Now, having said that, I have two favorite parts:

    1. “After saying some things that I honestly can not remember I started to unzip her ski-coat for no other reason known to me other than I was overwhelmed with nerves, because of the magnitude of the moment.” HILARIOUS!!

    2. “ignore my goofy grin, I was euphoric” I remember this face!! (not necessarily from euphoria…just a general smiling, laughing face…and it’s fun to remember.)

    I’m happy you’re happy. Best wishes.


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