Northstar’s ski patrol whips up mountain wedding |

Northstar’s ski patrol whips up mountain wedding

Lisa Leadon
Special to the Sun
An impromptu wedding on Northstar's slopes no problem for mountain team.
Courtesy Doug Kohen |

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Nick and Meredith of Healdsburg, Calif. were taking a few afternoon runs at Northstar on Feb. 12.

They were having such a good day they decided the time had come to get hitched. Nick and Meredith were worried that they wouldn’t be able to find an officiant in time.

The couple picked up their marriage license the prior day — but who did they know in Tahoe who could be a witness?

The only person they could think of was Meredith’s ski school instructor, Mark Kirk. Mark was on his day off but said, “If you guys can do it this afternoon I’d be happy to meet up with you.” Mark, being a helpful romantic, called ski patrol. After all, who else do you call when you need a problem solved?

I was sitting in patrol dispatch with my ski patrol colleague, Jocelyn Anderson – also a helpful romantic She answered the phone call from Mark, furrowed her brows, and asked one of the strangest questions I’ve ever gotten while working at Northstar: “Do you know anyone who could officiate a wedding?”

We flew into action, calling every patrol team and every mountain operations team.

Finally, ski patroller Mike Tracey said his friend Charles White in the season pass office had just officiated a wedding. Eureka!

Ski patroller Casey Burke made a beeline to the Zephyr Lodge to sequester every flower decoration and delivered them to the summit. The Summit Deck and Grille gifted champagne to the love birds for after the ceremony and Doug Kohen from Epic Photo was so excited it seemed like he was getting hitched himself.

The bride, groom, and their growing Northstar procession agreed that Monument Rock Lookout was the best wedding site.

When Nick and Meredith arrived atop Comstock Express, they were greeted by more than 15 patrollers and Mountain Safety as if they were old friends; and we skied together down to Monument Rock.

We savored the best view throughout all of Northstar, and it was a beautiful day! The wind was blowing Meredith’s makeshift veil around her face and the sun was just starting to get low. There we all were: Doug Kohen, the photographer; Mark Kirk, the best man; I, the maid of honor; Charles the ordained officiant; and Meredith and Nick, the beaming bride and groom.

Charles read a beautiful passage, Meredith and my eyes welled up, and they said “I do.” There was kissing and cheering and champagne popping and they were announced as “Mr. and Mrs.” for all of the mountain team with radios to hear.

They were congratulated by the entire Northstar family as if they were one of their own.

Meredith and Nick got to take their first run as a married couple down Challenger with no else except their maid of honor and best man.

At the bottom of the Backside Express, they were congratulated; and at the top they were greeted by Dustin and Mira from Lift Maintenance playing music, dancing, and more congratulations.

Meredith and Nick couldn’t have been happier and said, “You could never have planned this – this was the best!”

In hindsight, they made our day as magical as we helped make theirs.

It was such a great reminder to all of us that when you put in great effort it comes back to you tenfold.

Lisa Leadon is the Northstar patrol supervisor.

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