Must have only be 7 or 8 years old the day my parents first took me skiing. We lived in Southern California and sometimes we would go sledding up in the mountains near Snow Valley above Redlands.
It was easy for me to dislike sledding, not because of the obvious fun of the decent, but I hated hiking up the hill and I envied the skiers riding up the chairs and rope tows. “How great would that be,” I thought to myself.
After begging my parents to go skiing, my father bought me a set of skis that came in a plastic bag complete with bamboo ski poles with leather baskets. I was so excited that first day we went skiing, that I had my boots on before breakfast. As we drove up to Snow Valley, I giggled as we passed what I though were losers hiking their sleds up the hill.
The skis were laid out on the snow for me, the tow ticket clipped on and I was helped into the cable bindings; then, I was left there alone to have all the fun I wanted. As I tried to push my way over to the rope tow I was having no luck in sliding as the skis were sticking and I could barely move. The bases must have been warm from the drive up the mountain and when they were placed on the snow they immediately froze up.
Undeterred, I clomped my way to the rope tow with the skis still caked with snow and ice and waited my turn to take my first ride to the top. But when I grabbed on the rope tow the skis would not move and I face-planted immediately hearing the groans from the operator and those waiting to get on. After two more face-plants the operator told me I was not able to ride the tow and was turned away.
I took the skis off and tried to scrape the snow off with my mitten-clad hands. That didn’t work, so I tried my bare hands, but they froze and now my gloves were soaked as well. The frustration was overwhelming and I was walking around with the skis and poles crisscrossed across my chest, tears streaming down my face.
As I approached the lodge, looking for help from mom and dad, I saw something that to this day sticks fresh in my mind. It was a plastic bubble that covered a coin operated waxing machine. If you wanted your skis waxed, you would open the bubble, lay the skis inside then close the lid and insert a quarter (or two) and the machine would move across the skis spraying or somehow applying the wax.
Of course I did not have a quarter, but I was mesmerized and stood there for the longest time pressing my face to the bubble watching as the machine worked its magic. It was at that exact moment that I understood a key principle of skiing, your skis must be able to slide easily across the snow and wax provided that glide.
Even now, after almost 20 years in the ski and snowboard wax business, this concept still rings true for me; to enjoy skiing or snowboarding, your bases must slide easily across the snow and what enhances that glide is wax ... and slippery, waxed skis = fun.
If you have a similar story about your first experience with wax, please share it in this thread.
My best to all Epic Readers for a great season of slippery, sliding fun!
Dominator Wax Co.