Keystone Survivors: The Exclusive SKIING Interview

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Background: DJs Lewis & Floorwax, known to listeners as "The Masters" from Denver's "The Fox" radio station (KRFX) personally selected five contestants who will each spend up to a month in a 16-square-foot gondola at the base of Colorado's Keystone Resort, getting only five 15-minute breaks a day. The competitors will vote one of their own out of the gondola every Friday during The Masters' morning drive show, with the sole survivor taking home a $20,000 winner's check. The competitors include Ryan, 22, a local snowboarder; Tanelle, a 26-year-old stripper from Denver; Kim, 23, "the girl next door" who recently dropped out of college and moved back to Colorado after breaking up with her boyfriend; Rex, a 49-year-old carpenter; and Jamie, 30, a native of Durango who DJs, manages tours, and has a truck driving license.

Adam Hirshfield's exclusive SKIING interview with the Survivors was done on October 31, 2000, after Ryan, Tanelle, Jamie, and Kim had been living in the gondola for a little over a week. Rex had been voted out the previous Friday.

ADAM: So you guys have been up here for a little over a week now...
TANELLE: Nine days.
ADAM: Not that anyone is keeping track... and you voted Rex out of the gondola last Friday... was that a tough decision?
TANELLE: It was hard for everybody... but he took up a lot of space! (laughing)
ADAM:(laughing) So he took up a lot of space... It still seems cramped as hell in here to be perfectly honest.
JAMIE: It is, but we've got a downstairs and an upstairs. It is cramped as hell, but it's a relief from last week. Last week was very cramped as hell. This week is just cramped as hell.
ADAM: So how do you guys spend your time?
JAMIE: It's really not so bad.... We get to smoke, play cards, LOTS of reading...
ADAM: Do you get cigarettes and books supplied or did you have to bring as much as you could squeeze in at the beginning?
RYAN: We brought things in a backpack like this. (Shows me a small purse-sized pack.)
ADAM: Oh my gosh.
JAMIE: Yeah a little tiny-ass backpack with mind-altering chemicals.
ADAM: Mind-altering chemicals, are those supplied?
JAMIE: Those are smuggled.
ADAM: Anyway... each of you got to bring a backpack?
JAMIE: Yeah, but there's one thing that a few of us really want.
ADAM: Oh no, that's not what I came here for...
JAMIE: If you could mention in your article that we are still waiting for Keystone to come through with some season passes...
ADAM: Oh, PHEW... They haven't done that yet?
JAMIE: Nope, not yet.
ADAM: So do you get sick of The Fox's (the radio station sponsoring the Survivor event, and blasting out of the enormous speakers surrounding the nearby chairlift) music at all?
RYAN: It could be worse.
JAMIE: I'd rather hear some Eminem and a little Tupac, you know... a little gangster rap would keep my day flowing a little more smoothly...
ADAM: So you get a lot of crap from the people that come up to go skiing?
TANELLE: Snowballs.
ADAM: Snowballs, really?
TANELLE: Yep, although the other night it wasn't snowballs. It was ice chunks. They were tossing them up here at three in the morning.
ADAM: Who would be at the mountain at three in the morning?
TANELLE: I don't know, but you could see them out there. Evidently they had come home from the bar or something, because they had almost no clothes on and it was freezing outside. They were throwing ice chunks at us, and we're like "Okay, you know he just left the bar."
ADAM: They try to compare this to the Survivor TV show, and it doesn't even seem close.
JAMIE: Yeah, not even close.
ADAM: They were on a deserted island, and had to find eir own food and shelter. You have your shelter and you get your food supplied, correct?
JAMIE: Do you know what they sent us this morning?
ADAM: Yeah, I heard about the chili and cheap beer, and I must say I'm surprised that it doesn't stink in here. What was the contest Lewis & Floorwax were talking about this morning?
JAMIE: They were trying to get us to blow each other out of the water. They fed us chili and eggs and beer, but our digestive systems are dealing with it. Still, it's pretty incredible that you've found four low-maintenance, mostly very considerate people.
ADAM: Well, that's what it would seem like it would take to be able to survive in here.
JAMIE: That's what it would take, yeah...
ADAM: Was Rex not so low-maintenance, and is that why he had to go? It seems like you've all gotten along pretty well, even when Rex was here. I'm sure it was a difficult decision, but what exactly made you guys decide upon him?
KIM: Rex was a great guy, he was just a little loud at times, a little less than diplomatic.
ADAM: Oh, hi there, Kim. He was a little more set in his ways?
KIM: Yeah.
ADAM: And he took up a lot of space... was that a big factor?
KIM: The extra space definitely helps.
ADAM: So when next do you have to decide to vote someone out?
JAMIE: Friday.
ADAM: From what I've heard today, it seems like that's going to be a really tough decision. It seems like you four have bonded pretty well, though I guess you pretty much have to, being alone in this space for nine days.
TANELLE: Yeah, we've gotten along pretty well.
JAMIE: What did you say (jokingly), you got a problem? (laughter)
ADAM: Lots of inter-gondola boxing matches?
TANELLE: No, we're in here together all the time, so we do our best to get along.
ADAM: You're only allowed outside for 15-minutes five times a day, right?
TANELLE: We're allowed five 15-minute breaks, but we can put two together and take 30 minutes outside. We can lump the whole hour and 15 together. Ryan here set that record. He was in here one time for 23 and a half hours with no break.
ADAM: But you could still go to the bathroom in here, right?
RYAN: Yeah.
TANELLE: Oh, no, it was 22 and three quarters...
RYAN: That's about as long as I could last.
ADAM: So you obviously took care of the number one situation...
RYAN: Yeah.
ADAM: And the number two situation?
JAMIE: Well, we got that big ole' jug outside...
TANELLE: It's for emergencies only.
ADAM: Oh, man, that's awful.
TANELLE: We just picked that up this morning because after our breakfast we weren't sure what was gonna happen.
ADAM: Speaking of the bathroom situation, how open have you guys gotten with each other? That's not the kind of thing that one would normally do in front of what were previously strangers.
JAMIE: Well, nobody's farted in the gondola yet.
TANELLE: But we definitely go to the bathroom in here. I think I pretty much freaked them all out, 'cause the first day we came up, I stood and turned around in the corner and started peeing, and they were all kind like..."Whoa!" But after that, everyone else has had to do it, so it's not such a big deal anymore.
ADAM: Are you guys more open with it now? (Kim shakes her head.) Kim, you aren't?
KIM: I would stick a cup in my pants, but I wouldn't want to get it all over myself.
ADAM: It's definitely easier for the guys, I would think.
TANELLE: Yeah, it is easier for them, especially now that we got hooked up with the jug. But me, I'm still having to go in the cup.
ADAM: What do you do, just drop trou?
JAMIE: She's awesome with that. She's got this whole system... you don't even know if she's doing it. She just stands up and next thing you know...
TANELLE: I think it was definitely an ice-breaker. It was actually a camping remedy of mine. I'm pretty comfortable with myself, so if I gotta go, I gotta go. I hate to say that, but I gotta do what I gotta do and with five 15-minute breaks, and my bladder being as small as it is, I knew I would never make it if I didn't use my experience from camping.
ADAM: You guys must feel pretty close to each other, having been here in such close quarters for nine days. What about the sex thing? I mean there's probably not enough room to even think about it, but has that issue ever been raised.
JAMIE: Like conjugal visits? Not in here, that's all I know.
ADAM: That's what the breaks are for, huh?
JAMIE: No, not for me... (everyone looks at Ryan)
RYAN: I plead the fifth...
ADAM: C'mon, man, have you? Lewis & Floorwax must have asked you about this...
RYAN: I plead the fifth....
ADAM: Is it safe to assume that a conjugal visit has taken place? Your libido isn't something that you could just put off for a month, not to mention nine days, is it?
JAMIE: What was the question (a smug look on his face)?
ADAM: Masturbation is hard, er, difficult. Is that what you're saying?
JAMIE: With three other people in here all the time, yeah, because you don't know who's awake at night. I don't know¿have you guys busted me yet?
TANELLE: Oh, god, Jamie. Why are you so red?
ADAM: Okay, new topic. How does the feeding schedule go?
TANELLE: They feed us at eight, noon, and six.
ADAM: Do they let you bring anything up here? For example, if you go on break can you run into the restaurant and buy something?
TANELLE: We are allowed to have money.
JAMIE: So, I guess we can buy stuff.
ADAM: So you basically had to start the month off with enough money to support you for as long as you're here?
JAMIE: Yeah.
ADAM: So what kinds of things do you get, especially when you're not super happy with what they're feeding you, like the chili for example?
TANELLE: Ryan has made the run to Walmart. He didn't get anything too exciting, though.
ADAM: What kinds of things have they been feeding you? Is it chili and beer every morning?
JAMIE: The first two days it was 7-Eleven for six meals in a row... hot dogs.
TANELLE: Just horrible.
ADAM: Even for breakfast?
JAMIE: Well, breakfast was donuts...
TANELLE: ...but lunch and dinner was hot dogs and deli sandwiches every day. I don't even think I ate my sixth meal. I think I just laid on the floor and cried. That was me down there crying that night. (laughter)
ADAM: So how is it emotionally? I mean I don't know if any of you guys watched the Survivor on TV but that's what I'm basing this on. I watched that every week, and I'm kind of ashamed to admit it, but I thought it was incredibly entertaining, and things got pretty emotional on that island.
JAMIE: Some of us show more emotion than others. Ryan's big emotion is skiing so he's felt stuck up here like a trapped bunny rabbit.
ADAM: Just watching these people go up and down is hard?
RYAN: Oh, yeah.
TANELLE: And I have a beautiful son and a boyfriend back in Denver and when I see my boy it hurts.
ADAM: Does he come to visit?
TANELLE: Yeah, one day he was here playing in the snow and I just wanted so bad to be down there.
ADAM: Did you take a break to be with him?
TANELLE: I did... I won the Monopoly game on the radio, so I got to take a two-hour break that day.
ADAM: So they are trying to make it like the TV Survivor, because I don't know if any of you watched it, but they had contests and if someone wdon't even know if she's doing it. She just stands up and next thing you know...
TANELLE: I think it was definitely an ice-breaker. It was actually a camping remedy of mine. I'm pretty comfortable with myself, so if I gotta go, I gotta go. I hate to say that, but I gotta do what I gotta do and with five 15-minute breaks, and my bladder being as small as it is, I knew I would never make it if I didn't use my experience from camping.
ADAM: You guys must feel pretty close to each other, having been here in such close quarters for nine days. What about the sex thing? I mean there's probably not enough room to even think about it, but has that issue ever been raised.
JAMIE: Like conjugal visits? Not in here, that's all I know.
ADAM: That's what the breaks are for, huh?
JAMIE: No, not for me... (everyone looks at Ryan)
RYAN: I plead the fifth...
ADAM: C'mon, man, have you? Lewis & Floorwax must have asked you about this...
RYAN: I plead the fifth....
ADAM: Is it safe to assume that a conjugal visit has taken place? Your libido isn't something that you could just put off for a month, not to mention nine days, is it?
JAMIE: What was the question (a smug look on his face)?
ADAM: Masturbation is hard, er, difficult. Is that what you're saying?
JAMIE: With three other people in here all the time, yeah, because you don't know who's awake at night. I don't know¿have you guys busted me yet?
TANELLE: Oh, god, Jamie. Why are you so red?
ADAM: Okay, new topic. How does the feeding schedule go?
TANELLE: They feed us at eight, noon, and six.
ADAM: Do they let you bring anything up here? For example, if you go on break can you run into the restaurant and buy something?
TANELLE: We are allowed to have money.
JAMIE: So, I guess we can buy stuff.
ADAM: So you basically had to start the month off with enough money to support you for as long as you're here?
JAMIE: Yeah.
ADAM: So what kinds of things do you get, especially when you're not super happy with what they're feeding you, like the chili for example?
TANELLE: Ryan has made the run to Walmart. He didn't get anything too exciting, though.
ADAM: What kinds of things have they been feeding you? Is it chili and beer every morning?
JAMIE: The first two days it was 7-Eleven for six meals in a row... hot dogs.
TANELLE: Just horrible.
ADAM: Even for breakfast?
JAMIE: Well, breakfast was donuts...
TANELLE: ...but lunch and dinner was hot dogs and deli sandwiches every day. I don't even think I ate my sixth meal. I think I just laid on the floor and cried. That was me down there crying that night. (laughter)
ADAM: So how is it emotionally? I mean I don't know if any of you guys watched the Survivor on TV but that's what I'm basing this on. I watched that every week, and I'm kind of ashamed to admit it, but I thought it was incredibly entertaining, and things got pretty emotional on that island.
JAMIE: Some of us show more emotion than others. Ryan's big emotion is skiing so he's felt stuck up here like a trapped bunny rabbit.
ADAM: Just watching these people go up and down is hard?
RYAN: Oh, yeah.
TANELLE: And I have a beautiful son and a boyfriend back in Denver and when I see my boy it hurts.
ADAM: Does he come to visit?
TANELLE: Yeah, one day he was here playing in the snow and I just wanted so bad to be down there.
ADAM: Did you take a break to be with him?
TANELLE: I did... I won the Monopoly game on the radio, so I got to take a two-hour break that day.
ADAM: So they are trying to make it like the TV Survivor, because I don't know if any of you watched it, but they had contests and if someone won the contest they would get a nice dinner on a cruise ship or something like that. One person they took to this bar for free drinks for a couple hours, but that was definitely an incentive to win these little contests.
TANELLE: I think our situation is a little harder than theirs because they got to travel all over the island. We have to actually sit here and remind ourselves to move so we don't get bedsores from sitting for so long.
ADAM: Do you switch positions at all?
TANELLE: Constantly.
JAMIE: We named it Twister, because its kinda like the board game, because we get stuck in all these different weird positions.
TANELLE: Right before you got here I almost hung myself when I was switching with Ryan.
ADAM: Does it get really chilly at night?
JAMIE: Downstairs it does. We joke around and say that we have an upstairs and a downstairs. Two people sleep downstairs every night, two people sleep upstairs.
ADAM: So how exactly does that work? It sounds like it might be uncomfortable.
JAMIE: It's kind of cramped, but I'm 6'3" so actually downstairs is the best for me, so sometimes I can spread out my feet, although Kim's too nice, because I push her around on accident, and she doesn't tell me. But I guess she'll tell me Friday, right?
ADAM: That brings up what is no doubt a sore topic, but, is the voting thing a situation that you talk about beforehand, or is it the kind of thing that you keep to yourselves? Do you each have your own opinions and keep them to yourselves until you have to vote on Friday?
TANELLE: Last week it was weird because I had a really bad case of motion sickness, and I was homesick too, and I begged them to vote me out. This week, though, it got better because I went ahead and bought myself some medicine. So I've been taking that now, and I'm all good, and now I'm telling them "Hey guys, I'm here for the long haul."
ADAM: So don't vote you out, right?
TANELLE: Yeah, this week I don't want to go home. You should've gotten rid of me last week. But last week I shared that, and I cried when they told me I wasn't going home. I was like "Oh my god..." but I'm glad I stayed, it's definitely eventful.
ADAM: So, what kind of incentive is the $20,000 winner's prize to keep you guys going? Is that more important than the "Oh, god, I really have to get out of here" feeling? It seemingly has been to this point, but, Tanelle, you said you were close to taking off last week and they ended up not voting you out.
TANELLE: Well, I've suffered quite a bit of heartache, so I wanna hang in here as long as possible from now on. But as far as the 20 grand goes I didn't really make plans for it because I didn't know how it was gonna turn out.
KIM: It's not enough money for me.
ADAM: It's not enough money to make it worthwhile?
KIM: No, not at all.
ADAM: So what would make this worth doing, then? Just the experience of doing it?
KIM: Just having done it, yeah. $20,000 is not that much and I haven't even been thinking about winning it at all. That doesn't even enter my mind.
JAMIE: I'm doing it to see if I can do it, to see how well I get along with people, see if I come out of here a stronger person. I don't know of many people who could last the first night...
RYAN: You've got to be really strong mentally, just kinda block everything out, and do your best to get through it. That's pretty much what we're doing.
ADAM: It sounds like you guys are in it for the long haul.
KIM: Oh, yeah, definitely.
JAMIE: Keeping busy, keeping sane, and trying to be comfortable.
ADAM: How much do the 15-minute breaks help to break up the day? Do you look forward to the breaks just so incredibly so that you can get down, stretch out, and do what you have to do.
RYAN: I totally look forward to my breaks, but when I gget out of here, it makes climbing back in just that much worse.
JAMIE: But it is always good to try not to use all of your breaks during the day. You should always save a break for the night, because you never know if you might just freak out or need to take a last-minute stretch... take a final breath of fresh air and then be ready to crash.
TANELLE: Still, kids are trying to tag us with snowballs up here, so it's not always so great either way.
ADAM: Are they getting security to take care of those people?
TANELLE: I hope so. The other day we actually had a snowball come in. It shattered all over the back of my head. Then I put my head out the window to scream at the people out there, and they actually threw snowballs at my head. I think they were possessed.
ADAM: Wow, what a crazy experience.... I don't mean to be taking up your entire day, so I guess I'll go take a few runs.
RYAN: Oh man, you're killing me.
ADAM: Oh, sorry. I didn't even think about that.
TANELLE: It's alright, we're used to it.
ADAM: Thanks so much for your time.
JAMIE: Yeah, that's one thing that we have plenty of¿time¿so it's no big deal.
ADAM: I guess you're right. Good luck and may the best person survive.

The Friday following this interview, the remaining Survivors booted Tanelle off the island amid rumors of a male alliance. The following week saw the alliance come to fruition as both Ryan and Jamie voted for Kim to go home. The final competition will take place this Friday. Who will be the sole survivor? Stay tuned to skiingmag.com for a final Survivor update, coming next week.

Click here to see Ryan and Jamie on The Fox's live Survivor Web Cam.the contest they would get a nice dinner on a cruise ship or something like that. One person they took to this bar for free drinks for a couple hours, but that was definitely an incentive to win these little contests.
TANELLE: I think our situation is a little harder than theirs because they got to travel all over the island. We have to actually sit here and remind ourselves to move so we don't get bedsores from sitting for so long.
ADAM: Do you switch positions at all?
TANELLE: Constantly.
JAMIE: We named it Twister, because its kinda like the board game, because we get stuck in all these different weird positions.
TANELLE: Right before you got here I almost hung myself when I was switching with Ryan.
ADAM: Does it get really chilly at night?
JAMIE: Downstairs it does. We joke around and say that we have an upstairs and a downstairs. Two people sleep downstairs every night, two people sleep upstairs.
ADAM: So how exactly does that work? It sounds like it might be uncomfortable.
JAMIE: It's kind of cramped, but I'm 6'3" so actually downstairs is the best for me, so sometimes I can spread out my feet, although Kim's too nice, because I push her around on accident, and she doesn't tell me. But I guess she'll tell me Friday, right?
ADAM: That brings up what is no doubt a sore topic, but, is the voting thing a situation that you talk about beforehand, or is it the kind of thing that you keep to yourselves? Do you each have your own opinions and keep them to yourselves until you have to vote on Friday?
TANELLE: Last week it was weird because I had a really bad case of motion sickness, and I was homesick too, and I begged them to vote me out. This week, though, it got better because I went ahead and bought myself some medicine. So I've been taking that now, and I'm all good, and now I'm telling them "Hey guys, I'm here for the long haul."
ADAM: So don't vote you out, right?
TANELLE: Yeah, this week I don't want to go home. You should've gotten rid of me last week. But last week I shared that, and I cried when they told me I wasn't going home. I was like "Oh my god..." but I'm glad I stayed, it's definitely eventful.
ADAM: So, what kind of incentive is the $20,000 winner's prize to keep you guys going? Is that more important than the "Oh, god, I really have to get out of here" feeling? It seemingly has been to this point, but, Tanelle, you said you were close to taking off last week and they ended up not voting you out.
TANELLE: Well, I've suffered quite a bit of heartache, so I wanna hang in here as long as possible from now on. But as far as the 20 grand goes I didn't really make plans for it because I didn't know how it was gonna turn out.
KIM: It's not enough money for me.
ADAM: It's not enough money to make it worthwhile?
KIM: No, not at all.
ADAM: So what would make this worth doing, then? Just the experience of doing it?
KIM: Just having done it, yeah. $20,000 is not that much and I haven't even been thinking about winning it at all. That doesn't even enter my mind.
JAMIE: I'm doing it to see if I can do it, to see how well I get along with people, see if I come out of here a stronger person. I don't know of many people who could last the first night...
RYAN: You've got to be really strong mentally, just kinda block everything out, and do your best to get through it. That's pretty much what we're doing.
ADAM: It sounds like you guys are in it for the long haul.
KIM: Oh, yeah, definitely.
JAMIE: Keeping busy, keeping sane, and trying to be comfortable.
ADAM: How much do the 15-minute breaks help to break up the day? Do you look forward to the breaks just so incredibly so that you can get down, stretch out, and do what you have to do.
RYAN: I totally look forward to my breaks, but when I get out of here, it makes climbing back in just that much worse.
JAMIE: But it is always good to try not to use all of your breaks during the day. You should always save a break for the night, because you never know if you might just freak out or need to take a last-minute stretch... take a final breath of fresh air and then be ready to crash.
TANELLE: Still, kids are trying to tag us with snowballs up here, so it's not always so great either way.
ADAM: Are they getting security to take care of those people?
TANELLE: I hope so. The other day we actually had a snowball come in. It shattered all over the back of my head. Then I put my head out the window to scream at the people out there, and they actually threw snowballs at my head. I think they were possessed.
ADAM: Wow, what a crazy experience.... I don't mean to be taking up your entire day, so I guess I'll go take a few runs.
RYAN: Oh man, you're killing me.
ADAM: Oh, sorry. I didn't even think about that.
TANELLE: It's alright, we're used to it.
ADAM: Thanks so much for your time.
JAMIE: Yeah, that's one thing that we have plenty of¿time¿so it's no big deal.
ADAM: I guess you're right. Good luck and may the best person survive.

The Friday following this interview, the remaining Survivors booted Tanelle off the island amid rumors of a male alliance. The following week saw the alliance come to fruition as both Ryan and Jamie voted for Kim to go home. The final competition will take place this Friday. Who will be the sole survivor? Stay tuned to skiingmag.com for a final Survivor update, coming next week.

Click here to see Ryan and Jamie on The Fox's live Survivor Web Cam.k forward to my breaks, but when I get out of here, it makes climbing back in just that much worse.
JAMIE: But it is always good to try not to use all of your breaks during the day. You should always save a break for the night, because you never know if you might just freak out or need to take a last-minute stretch... take a final breath of fresh air and then be ready to crash.
TANELLE: Still, kids are trying to tag us with snowballs up here, so it's not always so great either way.
ADAM: Are they getting security to take care of those people?
TANELLE: I hope so. The other day we actually had a snowball come in. It shattered all over the back of my head. Then I put my head out the window to scream at the people out there, and they actually threw snowballs at my head. I think they were possessed.
ADAM: Wow, what a crazy experience.... I don't mean to be taking up your entire day, so I guess I'll go take a few runs.
RYAN: Oh man, you're killing me.
ADAM: Oh, sorry. I didn't even think about that.
TANELLE: It's alright, we're used to it.
ADAM: Thanks so much for your time.
JAMIE: Yeah, that's one thing that we have plenty of¿time¿so it's no big deal.
ADAM: I guess you're right. Good luck and may the best person survive.

The Friday following this interview, the remaining Survivors booted Tanelle off the island amid rumors of a male alliance. The following week saw the alliance come to fruition as both Ryan and Jamie voted for Kim to go home. The final competition will take place this Friday. Who will be the sole survivor? Stay tuned to skiingmag.com for a final Survivor update, coming next week.

Click here to see Ryan and Jamie on The Fox's live Survivor Web Cam.