European Travel – Day 1 – Bringing in the New Year

Post by blogger | January 1, 2009      

Delta International had it down. When we flew through the time zone that made midnight, they passed out goblets of champagne which all us tired passengers quaffed like cups of Gatorade at a marathon feeding station.

I have to admit I was dreading the ensuing festival — especially if the aircraft was chock full of party animal Germans. Reality was different, and pleasantly so. Because I was flying on New Year’s Eve the gigantic jet was perhaps 20% full, and everyone seemed intent on just relaxing and getting to Munich healthy and rested. Even the babies slept. I stretched out on three seats, used all three pillows, and got in a good six hour snooze that’ll sync me up a day sooner than normal to the new time zone.

Besides flying when everyone else wants to be on the ground, I also saved money by enduring a ten hour layover at the huge Atlanta airport. What a cool place (I can’t believe I’m saying that about an airport, but I am). At least in the concourse where my gate was, I found an amazing array of above average food service, cleanliness — and even art.

Yep, the Atlanta Airport is like some sort of modern art museum. I first noticed the artwork when I saw a 150-foot long “poster” by artist John Salvest with bold lettering stating “Let each man pass his days in that endeavor wherein his gift is greatest – Propertius.” Upon closer examination, I discovered the monster poster was made 14,000 business cards, with the lettering created out of darker cards. This thing was really cool. If you’re ever there, E Concourse. You’ll wonder how in the world the guy got so many cards.

Backcountry Skiing

Atlanta Airport art by Vicki Ragan.

Moving along on my art tour, another thing lept out at me. Up a ways from the Salvest installation you run across a collection of collage photos by artist Vicki Ragan. I noticed an image of a guy rappelling (photo above), or at least being lowered by a rope over a globe that appeared to be the planet. Upon closer examination, I had the mystical experience of seeing my travel destination was part of the man’s anatomy. Due to how this is positioned, I see this as a very mixed message that I don’t understand — but isn’t that the point of modern art? Check it out below and you’ll see what I mean.

Backcountry Skiing

Munich is obvious in the Ragan collage/photo, but where the hand is holding the rope, Kufstein is the larger town next to where I'm staying in Austria. I thought it downright weird that I'd find my destination on one of the art pieces I was randomly examining. But life is full of that sort of thing if you just look around.

The other weird art I found was a series of fascinating diorama displays featuring all manner of endangered species products intercepted by US Customs. Included were things like leopard skulls, piranha teeth, elephant tusks and other stuff that reminded me of an Indiana Jones movie set. What I found “weird” was while the illegal collectibles were ostensibly there to educate the public, they were as much that as a source of enjoyment and even amusement for the thousands of viewers they so readily attracted. For even though the objects were illegal and from rare animals, they were all still beautiful and compelling — thus showing their value and the very reason they were in people’s luggage in the first place.

So, there you have it. For the ultimate avant garde outing, use some miles for a cheap 2-way for the Atlanta airport. Fly in, do a 6 hour layover with lunch and an art tour, then fly back home. Or better, fly to Europe and show off your new found cultural acumen by mentioning your experience of John Salvest and Vicki Ragan.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


5 Responses to “European Travel – Day 1 – Bringing in the New Year”

  1. Franz Klammer January 1st, 2009 5:19 pm

    Have fun in Austria. Bad Haering is a nice little town though there wasn’t much snow in the Inntal when I was passing through a few days ago. I’m looking forward to your pictures.

  2. Matt January 1st, 2009 6:22 pm

    Cosmic serendipity man! Yesterday, my wife and I were just talking about how we missed living in Germany and how we wanted to go back. The (tiny) town that we lived in is probably right at the center of the map in the “crotch shot”, between Muehldorf and Wasserburg. I think that means something. Any chance any of those folks you’re visiting would be interested in an American engineer with stong german language skillz?

    Enjoy the trip.
    Viel Spass

  3. Mark January 2nd, 2009 11:35 pm

    Atlanta’s airport is not bad. We spent our layover coming back from Europe at JFK in NYC–not so nice. Hope you’re having fun with the Dynafit crew.

  4. Mark January 2nd, 2009 11:40 pm

    Oh, the confiscated animal stuff in Atlanta I recall as quite intriguing as well. Imaging toting a stuffed hyena around. Guess such stuff keeps the customs guys entertained.

  5. Lou January 3rd, 2009 2:49 am

    That stuffed hyena is a amazing, especially when you’ve only had 3 hours sleep in the past 24 hours and started your trip with a 7 hour drive. Mind altering.

  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version