Thursday, February 20, 2003
When Brad Moline proposed to Courtney Poynter at the Steamboat Ski Area on Jan. 23, television cameras were rolling and big fur-covered microphones on long polls were waving in front of Poynter's face.
Minutes earlier, Poynter, 25, and Moline, 26, had been casually skiing on the Velvet run when a ski area employee flagged them down, asking for help in filming a commercial.
As the couple was carefully positioned in Rainbow Saddle, facing upper the upper Rainbow run, ostensibly to be filmed by the waiting camera crew, Poynter looked a little surprised at her boyfriend's eagerness to participate in a commercial.
That surprise grew to bafflement as Poynter watched 10 tuxedo-clad skiers and snowboarders carrying roses and champagne speed down Steamboat's Rainbow trail toward her, coming to an abrupt stop and kneeling in two lines at her feet.
After Poynter was presented with roses from the roguish group of skiers and snowboarders -- dressed-up Steamboat ski school instructors -- Moline got on one knee and proposed marriage. It was then that Poynter realized the moment was much more than a commercial.
With tears in her eyes, she said yes.
"I had no idea," she said after putting on her ring.
She still didn't know the rest of the story.
Moline was one of three winners of Korbel Champagne's "Perfect Proposal Contest," which drew 500 contestants pitching their perfect proposal.
Moline won for wanting to propose to Poynter while skiing at the Steamboat Ski Area. "Steamboat is just a special place to her," Moline said.
Poynter's grandfather, Jim Landers, was a ski instructor in Steamboat and taught her to ski on Mount Werner.
Korbel officials liked the story and worked with the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. to help organize Moline's proposal. Along with getting ski and snowboarding instructors in tuxedos, officials arranged for a large, red sign reading "Will you marry me?" to be unfurled on upper Rainbow while Moline proposed.
"I didn't even see the sign," Poynter said. At the time, she was more concerned with the skiers and snowboarders lining up at her feet.
Keeping the proposal a surprise for Poynter was a challenge, given the amount of planning involved. Moline had to come up with excuses for his mysterious, long trips to the car while they were staying in Steamboat. Once, he told her that he forgot the number of their hotel room, when he was meeting the proposal crew.
Poynter and Moline first met in grade school, during a swimming class. Their parents were friends and the couple grew up together. However, they only started dating two years ago.
"Did my mom know?" she asked Moline after the proposal.
"Yeah. I had to ask your parents before I did this," he said.
Korbel purchased an engagement ring for the couple and entered Moline and Poynter, both Fort Collins natives, to win $10,000 for an engagement party or a honeymoon.
On Feb. 12, all three winning proposals will be aired on NBC's Today Show. The best of those three will win the $10,000.
Moline said he was nervous about proposing.