Tom Ross: New Seattle jet flight to Steamboat scores with former ski patroller


Tom Ross

Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or

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No one was as excited as Gretl Galgon this week about the news that Steamboat Ski Area has secured direct ski season jet flights from Seattle on Alaska Airlines.

— When the news broke this week that Steamboat Ski Area has secured direct ski season jet flights from Seattle on Alaska Airlines, no one was as excited as Steamboat expatriate and one-time ski patroller Gretl Dupre’ “Dr. Ruth” Galgon.

The new flight on Alaska Airlines will be operated by SkyWest Airlines using a 70-passenger CRJ7 jet on Wednesdays and Saturdays beginning Dec. 18.

“As a former Steamboat ski patrol woman who now lives in Seattle, might I share my loudest and heartfelt yodel at the wonderful news that there will now be direct flight service on Alaska!” Galgon wrote in an email. “Steamboat is home to my heart, as two of my sisters, Renee Dupre’ and Heidi Hannah, live there. So the direct flight is exceptionally handy for all of us to get reconnected.”

She went even further. Galgon recklessly promised to feed her former colleagues and their new associates.

“I will happily bring the fresh salmon for the entire ski and courtesy patrol on Dec. 18th’s first flight,” she proclaimed. Ski Patrol Director “John Kohnke, fire up the grills!”

Please pass the tartar sauce.

Galgon is trained as a physician’s assistant. In Washington state, she teaches wilderness first aid, leads women’s ski trips and, if all of that weren’t enough, teaches open-water swimming.

“And I’m being raised by our four daughters, Edel, Libby, Daisy and Maria,” Galgon said.

Can anyone explain why an image of a modern-day Julie Andrews running through the wildflowers in “The Sound of Music” just popped into my head?

Galgon also is looking forward to reconnecting with former ski patrol buddies. She was in Steamboat from 1990 to 1995 when Pete Wither was patrol director. She was especially close to the late Greg “Bomar” Tipton.

“Bomar was my mentor,” Galgon wrote, as were a number of her female colleagues.

“I forever call the women on ski patrol as the SWIK team (smartest women I know). Everything you need to know in life was taught to me on a gondola ride to dispatch!”

Among Galgon’s former colleagues are Wes Richey, Terin Gottsegan Peterson, Karen “Red” Vorster Culberson, John “Pink” Floyd, Millie Flannigan, Mike and Wendy Baumann and June Peterson.

“Pink and I yoo-hoo’d down Shadows (during) sweep at sunset. Mike Baumann and I skied from the area to Rabbit Ears on crust snow on April 12 and still talk about it. And Terin and Jay were checking the snow depth at 4 a.m. at Thunderhead. Gotta say, those were some of the happiest reality days of my life — one can’t even make up the stories.”

If I didn’t know better, I’d say that Galgon still works for Mother Mountain.

Hey Gretl, when you bring the salmon Dec. 18, don’t forget to pack the powder.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

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