Bill and Shirley Rauter bought Antlers #506 back in the day. It was 1972 to be exact. They were the original owners and now theirs is one of only a few Antlers condos that has never changed hands. We’ve been good friends ever since I came on the scene in 1978.
Typical of most Antlers owners back then (and now as well) they had hearts of gold and whenever they came to town they were anxious to share their appreciation for this place they loved so much.
When Bill passed away a few years ago, the Antlers Heart and Soul took a big hit. He was such a nice guy and simply loved having fun. When Colorado passed proposition 64 a couple years ago it was proof that Bill was just a little ahead of his time.
One of Bill’s many joys was sitting on the balcony of #506 and just soaking in the scenery … with Gore Creek as the only thing separating him from the slopes of Vail Mountain. At one point he said, “When I go, I want you to spread my ashes up there so that I can enjoy this scene forever.”
Earlier this year Shirley brought some friends and family together for a bit of a reunion and to celebrate Bill’s life. Heart and soul makes a comeback! One of their goals was to spread his ashes as he suggested. Although they sprinkled some at the top of the mountain, they didn’t quite make it down to one desired spot, right next to the trail sign at the top of Simba face. Shortly afterward though, when Shirley was leaving, she asked me if I would do that one favor for her …
“Honored” doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. I waited for just the right day. November 9th 2014 was a crisp, clear, bluebird day, with just a hint of oncoming winter in the air. I hiked up Simba face and said my own private farewell to Bill. I told him we miss him. A lot.
From now on, whenever Shirley or I or anyone else who knows, looks at that trail sign from the deck of 506 …
Our heart and soul lives on.