Keystone Local Survives Month in Gondola

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KEYSTONE, Colo. ¿ Nov. 17, 2000 ¿ The votes have been counted and recounted and our country finally has a winner: Ryan Hall. A Keystone local, the 22-year-old snowboarder spent more than 600 hours in a 16-square-foot gondola at Keystone's base waiting for the final vote, which culminated in Hall receiving a $20,000 check as the winner of the resort's Survivor contest. Hall's response: "I'm so stoked."

Hall outlasted four other contestants and withstood three severe winter storms in the month-long contest, which was sponsored by Denver's "The Fox" radio station. "The hardest day was yesterday," Hall said. "It was such a long day."

Hall edged out fellow survivor Jamie Carlos Manzanares to take home the prize. "It came down to me and Jamie," Hall said, "and it was a close race."

Manzanares received more votes than Hall, but unlike the other Decision 2000, this vote was for who should be voted out. "I feel like Al Gore," he said. "I got more votes and lost. In this case, though, you really don't want more votes. It was close, but I guess I'll have to concede. At least now I can sleep in a real bed again." According to Keystone officials, no recounts or lawsuits are expected.

Every week the contestants voted one of their fellow survivors out of the gondola cabin. Despite finishing second, Manzanares won a season pass for Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin and plans to take a trip to Mexico to celebrate the end of the contest.

"We heard Jesse Jackson just flew into town to file an appeal on behalf of Carlos," said Rick Lewis, on-air morning personality for "The Fox." "Let's do a recount. I'm not sure if all the votes were counted."

None of the other survivors contested the results. Rex Reckseen, a 46-year-old carpenter from Denver, was voted out after the first week. Twenty-six-year-old stripper Tanelle was the second to go, and 23-year-old Denver local Kimberly Dickey finished third.

"This was one of the zaniest things I've ever seen at Keystone," said Ginny Sak, senior marketing manager for Keystone. "We'll need to clean the gondola cabin but I hope the survivors will come back during the season to ride the gondola again."

Hall plans to quit his job and use his $20,000 to snowboard and travel. He doesn't have immediate plans to spend more than 10 or 15 minutes in a gondola ever again. "It feels so good to be out of there," he said. "I wouldn't be too excited to get back into another gondola anytime soon. But now I have enough money to ride all season long, so I might have to."