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Whats Your Ski Story? - Page 2

post #31 of 86
Ott, thank you for the great story. It should be made into a film. Where in bavaria are you from. I lived for 2 years in Bamberg (80,000 inhabitants, 50 breweries). My family still spends August in the Allgau.
post #32 of 86
I had a childhood friend whose family skied and she always raved about how much fun it was. Promised to take me with her on their next family trip, but I moved away before the opportunity presented itself. Remembering her glowing stories I always vowed I would try it one day when I was old enough to go myself, which I did so in my mid 20s. First trip I ventured forth in my blue jeans and a borrowed jacket. Came home soaking wet and was hooked. I won't say it was especially fun, but what kept me coming back was the challenge of advancing to a higher skill level. After 30 years on skis I switched to snowboarding and like that even better.
post #33 of 86
We were in the foothills of the Bavarian alps. There are a number of my stories in the Premium Article Section here on Epicski whichis only accessible to contributing members but some of them contain memories too precious not to be shared occasionally. Here is one more:

When I was 16 in 1948 I bought a pair of real skis with money from working after school, they were Laupheimers and were laminated and thus would hold their camber, and had steel edges, those four inch strips held with wood screws to the skis. Also they had Kandahar cable bindings which could be either skied heel free or could be hooked down near the heel. The first time I saw bamboo was when I got the ski poles, they were great.
Our local ski hill with a rope tow powered by a farmers tractor was not challenging and had hordes of little kids on it and adults who kept hollering at us to slow down, bummer. About every three weeks we had a school sponsored chaperoned two day bus trip to the mountains for skiing, plus I got to go during school holidays and vacations with my best friend's
parents since mine were non-skiers.

But the best was on weekends when a bunch of us, boys and girls, went to a mountain a couple of hours by bike away with a little village in the valley. Our parents figured there was safety in numbers since there were usually 14-16 of us so we had one night without adults...

This mountain had a hut on top at the Alm, an Alm is where a farmers cows are driven up to in May and they stay there grazing until September, with a couple living in the hut and milking daily and making cheese. The drives, both up and down are done with a lot of hoopla, the cows decorated with flowers on their horns and big bells around their necks. The huts are left open all winter with firewood and all utensils intact and anyone who uses them must leave them the way they were found .

We would leave home right after Saturday school (half day until 11 a.m.) and start climbing the mountain by 3 p.m. It was wide open from the top to the bottom and it meant traversing for four hours to reach the top.

Some of the richer kids had skins, but we poorer ones just buckled a short thong around the skis just ahead of the binding making the bottoms ice up, kind of heavy but we didn't slip backward.

Now I must make you aware what motivated us: there was Siglinde, Sigi for short, a tall lanky 16 year old beauty with a big blonde braid down her back, always a twinkle in her eyes, who could out ski us all and all of us boys were smitten with her if not even in love, as I was. There is nothing sexier than a beautiful, graceful girl who skis better than you do...all the boys went because of Sigi and the rest of the girls went because the boys went...

It would be dark when we got to the hut and after making a fire cooking and eating supper from the supplies we brought up in our packs, some horse play and telling of stories and singing some songs, we went to sleep on blankets over straw, boys on one side of the room, girls on the other.

Sunday morning it was a snowball fight, girls vs. boys, which ended up by all the boys tackling Sigi and the rest of the girls jumping on the boys.

Once I was first to tackle Sigi and she wrestled me to the snow, not that I resisted much, and she straddled me kneeling over me and stuffing snow into my face while I held her hips and rocked them back and forth pretending to want to get the upper hand....

For weeks there after I had fantasies about me and Sigi which still make me blush just thinking about them. Then it was time to clean the hut and get down the mountain, probably a four mile run. Sigi would lead followed by the boys, watching her stretch pants tighten on her great figure with every turn, and trailed by the rest of the girls.

It was exhilarating to make new tracks, only crossing our uphill traverses, hootin' and hollerin'.

We would ski right through the church cemetery to the front door of the church, lean our skis against the wall and went to mass. After lunch we packed up and biked home...
Though it seems now like a lot of trouble to go through just for one run, but we got more satisfaction out of that than the constant up and down all weekend at other places...
It was all Sigi's fault...

post #34 of 86
My Father was not a skier. However, He had been the hill manager at the local hill for a number of years and then went on to own a snow-cat dealership. My parents always would rather have us on the hill than in the house on saturdays so I ended up with a season pass from the time I was two. Skied everyweekend with out fail. 30-40 days a season as growing up. Mostly at Beaver mountain Utah. As we got older, we got to go to ISAA or NSAA conventions and meet all the big wigs of the ski industry, that was always a treat. At one time All three of the boys in my family worked at the local hill and This season I logged 60ish days while working there. Ive been pretty fortuante, My family lives and dies by skiing and I wouldnt have it any other way.
post #35 of 86
A woman I raced sailboats with turned to me one october day as the season was winding down and told me how much she was looking forward to the upcoming ski season -- that we'd have fun skiing together. Ski? Oh, no, not me. I have never been much of a winter person.

She spent the next several minutes expressing her surprise that I didn't ski and then telling me that I must learn. I was not easily convinced. Then she said something irresistble: "You have the personality for skiing -- you'll love it." That one intriguing statement got me on snow that winter and she was so very right -- I do love it!

My first day on skis was pretty damn funny, but that's another story for another day!
post #36 of 86
I was born a poor black child...

Well maybe not - here's my story.

When I was 5 my parents bought me a cheap pair of department store skis for my birthday, Feb. 19. I spent hours that day circling the house and climbing a tiny hill in the back yard, then straightlining down. It wasn't until I was 9 that I first went to a small ski area and finally learned how to stop. A few years later I made it back to the same small place and began to learn to turn.

Mine was and is a non skiing, non exercising family. I, however became hooked. All my money from cutting lawns, and other odd jobs went into skis, boots, bus rides, and lift tickets.

It wasn't until I was old enough to drive that I got in more than 10 days a season. And as soon as I finished high school I moved out west to ski bum. That's when I really learned to ski.

This season I took my 11 year old son to Jay Peak, Whiteface, Okemo, Gore, Jiminy Peak and Mohawk Mountain... he doesn't know how good he's got it.
post #37 of 86
Rented a pair of ski boots once. They felt fine in the morning but after lunch the left boot was causing me pain although the right boot felt fine enough. I went back to the rental shop to discuss the problem. The shop guy first opined that perhaps the boots had been mismatched as to size. He then looked down at my feet and exclaimed for all in the shop to hear " you've got your boots on the wrong feet!"
post #38 of 86
In 1994 I was 29 years old. I moved from Iowa to Colorado in 1994. I did a couple token ski days and never took a lesson for the first 3 years I lived here but was a rabid mountain biker. Then came the BUDDY PASS. $200 bucks for unlimited skiing at Keystone, Breck, and A-Basin. I bought a pair of skis, boots, gear at SNIAGRAB. My mountain biking buddies who were expert snowboarders made me follow them around. It was either keep up or get left behind. Then one day like a lightbulb turned on. I put my two skis together parallel. It was as if a whole new world opened up. I finally started to get pretty good at skiing and could hold my own with my buddies.

Jan 9 2000 I was in a head on crash on Berthoud Pass. My friend and I were going to Winter Park. Both cars were totalled and I walked away without a scratch. It was a miracle and made me think about what was really important in life. A week later I quit the job I hated and went skiing for a month straight while I looked for a new job. Send resumes in the morning...then head for the mountains. It was the most enlightened time of my life. I still remember one day driving over Loveland Pass with WSP-Surprise Valley playing on the radio....the sun setting behind me...thinking this is the best thing ever.

Well I found a great job that pays a lot more money. I Added the 10 days at Vail to my Buddy Pass. Vail....what more can I say. If you ski 10 days at Vail you know what I am talking about. Vail is the most amazing place on earth. Skiing at Vail bumped my skiing up to a whole new level of conditioning and ability. I liked skiing steeps and powder before Vail but but Vail opened up a whole new world.

Now I am almost 40 years old and have two beautiful kids. I just skied my 21st day this season and have another month to go at A-Basin. Skiing has become such a huge part of my life. My only regret is that I had to wait until I was 32 years old to find out how amazing it really is.
post #39 of 86
I may be the only here who can claim the distinction of being taught to ski by her kids! Actually, I was inspired by my kids and had the good sense to sign up for a lesson package at the small area nearest my home. At a friend's urging, I signed the boys up for after school lessons. (Ann, a non-skier, assured me that "this won't be expensive".) I watched those little guys (ages 6 and 10) skiing down the hill with huge smiles on thier faces for one year before I decided to try it myself. It looked like fun and after all... they're going to need somebody to ski with. Scared to death, I started early that next season and like so many of you, loved it from the first moment. The rest is history. My reluctant husband joined us two years later, he was hooked too. Our two youngest started as toddlers. Time passes...I now ski about 100 days a year, teach (love that too), and own a place in Maine. The kids--they don't ski much any more. And, Ann, you were wrong.. it is expensive.!
post #40 of 86
My first time skiing was in January 1988, at the ripe old age (for a beginner) of 22. It was my first taste of an American winter, and I loved the snow!

My cousins decided to go skiing at Vernon Valley (NJ) one night, so I went along to see what it was all about. Well, that night, it was all about learning what it's like to slide down an ice cube on a pair of toothpicks. Actually, I learned more how to slide on my butt while trying to keep the toothpicks from stabbing me. It wasn't exactly the most fun I'd ever had, but I could tell it was something I'd like to learn how to do properly.

In 1991, and now living in the US, I had a chance to go to Killington, VT, for a week's skiing, so off I went. Having learned from last time, I signed up for a 5-day lesson. What a difference! By day 3, we were down to 5 people, day 4 had only 2 of us, and day 5 was a one-on-one, as I was the only student left. This was still before shaped skis, but it was a blast.

This was the first year since then that I haven't skied, but that's partly my fault for getting my wife pregnant back in April '04. I couldn't exactly take off and leave her with our daughter (and least not if I wanted to come back), so I'm on hiatus 'til next season.


PS: Phil, if you're reading this, you may remember running into me at the Mazda Rev-it-up at the Philadelphia racetrack last year. I was admiring the Silver Ghost, but I must admit, I strayed to the Honda camp and ended up with an '04 S2000.
post #41 of 86
Originally Posted by DiamondDave
PS: Phil, if you're reading this, you may remember running into me at the Mazda Rev-it-up at the Philadelphia racetrack last year. I was admiring the Silver Ghost, but I must admit, I strayed to the Honda camp and ended up with an '04 S2000.
Sure, I remember you. Hey no need to explain an S2K..awesome machine. Hope to see you out ont he slopes NEXT year.
post #42 of 86


Originally Posted by Lostboy
Rented a pair of ski boots once. They felt fine in the morning but after lunch the left boot was causing me pain although the right boot felt fine enough. I went back to the rental shop to discuss the problem. The shop guy first opined that perhaps the boots had been mismatched as to size. He then looked down at my feet and exclaimed for all in the shop to hear " you've got your boots on the wrong feet!"
LOL -- I have only seen small children do this! Thanks for the great laugh!!!
post #43 of 86
Winter 1975, 3d year at Cornell, Greek Peak, first time ever on skis with dear Lennie, first run I lost one ski, took off the other, and positively hated it. Second time was winter '76, Mount Snow, with my buddies at Boston College, too drunk to remember....

Never again until 1983, and hooked ever since.

Had I known my ski addiction would be so extreme, my studies would have been in Mountain Management, not Hotel Admin., and I'd be living in snow country anywhere, not the caribbean. Oh well, have to wait only 8 months for our next ski trip....
post #44 of 86
My father was from Maine and my mother from Idaho, and they decided to live in SoCal because they both hate snow. I first saw snow fall at college in New Jersey.

Introduction to skiing was a total fluke. A friend invited me along on his uncle's high roller junket to Las Vegas for New Year's 1976. The uncle was from Miami and his daughter wanted to see snow, so we all went out to Lee Canyon (now Ski Las Vegas) and got rentals and played around on a 100-foot handle tow for a couple of hours.

Intrigued, I checked out my closest local area (Baldy, not a good choice for a beginner) when it finally snowed in February 1976. On my second Baldy day in March 1976 I blew out my left ACL and was not walking normally for the next 3 months. As the knee is not unstable, I didn't know the nature of the injury until an MRI revealed it 19 years later.

I was still interested in skiing and managed 5 days in 1977, which was dominated by my then overriding obsession of tournament bridge. I put in some more effort in 1978, becoming your typical low intermediate, sort of parallel skier on the easy runs, by March of that 12-day season. April 1-2 and May 13-14 were my first Mammoth trips.

By now I had the bug, but I was troubled by my slow progress as a beginner, consistent with my dismal performance at nearly all sports while growing up. I'd begun reading about skiing and was aware of the prevailing opinion that "skiing is easy to learn, but very hard to break through the intermediate plateau and ski carved turns, steep terrain and variable snow."

I was also very sore after those 2 Mammoth weekends and therefore started YMCA ski fitness classes in November 1978. The snow gods smiled upon SoCal in 1978-79 and I was able to ski at least one day of every weekend from November 18 until April in SoCal if I wasn't at Mammoth.

By April 1979 I had skied 30 days, the feared "intermediate plateau" was history and I was a true addict. I was carving turns by February, and I had a 50K weekend at Mammoth March 31/April 1 which included my first runs on Wipe Out/Drop Out.
post #45 of 86
Long lingering in a pigeonholed parcel of my essence where many other whims gather time's inevitable summer residue, the ease required to recollect my time on snow overwhelms my ability to remember much else.
post #46 of 86
1976 First time was at SnowSummit in SoCal. I was 18. Bunch of my surfer buddies were going up for some night skiing. I drove (1963 Mercury Meteor) and borrowed skis and boots from a buddy. My friends showed me how to clip on the bindings and how to get on/off the chairlift. Never saw them again until it was time to leave. I froze my ass off in levis and a hooded sweatshirt - I think it was raining too. Went back to surfing and did not ski again for about 7 years. Went to Tahoe for a week in 1984. This is when I really learned to ski. 5 strait days on the North shore. Alpine Meadows, Squaw and Northstar. Really got in to it with better equipment and clothing. In 1986 I gave up the surfboard and moved to Utah for good. Now theres me, the wife and 2 little ones that go as often as possible. Thank You Lord for the good stuff!:
post #47 of 86
I got my first pair of Northlands for Christmas 1951. My folks couldn't figure out why I wanted skis. I don't remember exactly why either.
One thing was, if you wore ski boots (leather square toed shoes with a strap across the top) to school you didn't have to wear galoshes and had more time at recess (I once missed recess because I couldn't get my galoshes on)
Another was that those flat topped hats with ear flaps that tied up in front were stylish and I had one. I figured I should try skiing since I had the other stuff. Besides, it was a way cooler way to get down the hill than a Flexible Flyer.
I spent the first day trying (unsuccessfullt) to get down a ten foot vert slope in my neighbor's front yard. Soon other kids got skis and we would set up jumps on the sledding hills. Later, as we got better, we'd set up obstical courses (still on little sledding hills). Once my neighbor's friend took us to a little hill outside of Cross Plains, WI where there was a car jacked up powering a rope tow. I learned the right way to ride a rope but never could hang on all the way to the top. I remember going down on skis without metal edges and not being able to stop at the bottom and going half way under a fence.
As young teenagers, we'd get our parents to drive us to Blackhawk Golf Course where there was 100'+ vertical. We'd take our skis off and walk up. When we got bored, we'd use our poles (bamboo with leather laced metal rings) to set a course. We never tried timing it though.
Hockey and hot rods took over for the next few years.
In the 60's, when skiing started to boom, one of my drag race buddies dated a girl who skied. They'd go to Skyline Ski Area at Adams-Friendship, WI. Each weekend they'd take one of the guys from our car club and laugh at them as they struggled with their "first time". When it was my turn, they didn't laugh, I was better than most of them. I discovered that skiing down a real hill was as much, or more, fun than running the quarter mile in 11 seconds over 120 MPH. Cheaper and healthier too. That did it, I was hooked.
One of my other hot rod buddies, Denny Hammermeister, (who went on to own the Rocky Mountain Oyster resturant in Jackson Hole) had an uncle, Henry Duffy, who was an instructor at Skyline. Henry, like most instructors, loved to teach. He'd give us mini lessons every chance he got.(Henry died a few years ago and they spread his ashes on a run at Devil's Head where he manned the ski school desk after he could no longer ski. Before he died I got to thank him for how he had enriched my life with those lessons)
Next I got my kids, four and five, skiing. My son joined the Madison Ski Club junior race program and I got my first NASTAR medal about 1970. From then on racing was the focus. In 1975 we formed an informal race club at Tyrol Basin that has grown? into the Madison Alpine Race Team. In the spring of 1984, after years of arguing with the ski school director, I bet him I could pass a PSIA exam.(I won) That started another "quest" that took eight years. Over the last 30 years we've had a lot of great kids go through our program. Recently we were working on an alumni list to solicit donors to the Shelley Glover Ski Education Foundation. I was amazed at how many successful and some prominent citizens have roots in MART.
My first trip to the mountains was in the spring of 1974. Another mechanic friend and I drove his VW Microbus to Salt Lake. We had carburetor trouble in Cheyenne WY.(before the Interstate was finished there) Mighty uncomfortable, two long-haired "hippies" looking for 5 Minute Epoxy in K Mart with all those cowboys. Once we got there the only place still open was Alta. I'd never seen moguls like that. It took me about half a day to trade in my 205 Kniessl Red Stars and rent some 180 bump skis for the rest of the week. The last day it rained the night before and the whole mountain was a sheet of ice. Midwesterner's revenge.
Since those days I've skied 100+ days per year almost every year. This summer will be my 24th summer camp. I plan to keep it up as long as I'm able.
Wow, what a ride
post #48 of 86
As to boots on the wrong feet - I once took my liners out, accidentally put them baack in the wrong boots and skied a run like that. OUCH! Took them out around a group of people and exclaimed when looking at the bottom of one of them "Oh that's what the L and R mean!" I couldn't ski the rest of the day the pain was so bad.
post #49 of 86
My Mom started me skiing when I was 5. My siblings and I would ski at a small but challenging hill. We had very good technically-oriented instructors, lots of racing, and no lift lines - ever...but plenty of -20 C days (I'll be honest - there were also lots of -40 days, too).

On the coldest days, only our family and two others would show up - and the adults would stay inside, so about 10 kids would have the whole place to ourselves! When you grow up in that climate you aren't too precious about the temperature.
In fact, when I started skiing in Europe the thing that baffled me was when to come in. Growing up we'd go into the chalet only when we could no longer bear the cold.

Skiing from bell-to-bell was how we skied. In our minds skiing was like school - you had to be there before class/skiing started, and yo left when it was completely finished. 37 years later, this is the 1st year I've arrived at the hill after opening, and the first time I've stopped before the end of the day.

There was also another busier, small place close to my home - so from age 5 through my late teens I skied both days on weekends, and often skied after supper. I think this has made a huge difference to my skiing.

Interesting note: the hill we learned on was small and isolated (even for Northern Ontario), three time-zones from Whistler and it closed about 25 years ago - still several times this season, up at Whistler, there have been at least 3 of us representing the old hill, independent of each other!
post #50 of 86
Cool Old Thread.
Any New Ski Stories?
post #51 of 86
Originally Posted by Alfonse View Post
Towards the end of college I began to grow weary of skiing, perhaps I was burned out, perhaps the thrill was gone, or maybe the old straight skis were not as much fun.

Whats your story?

That happened to me about 5 years ago, I just got bored. We were having a bad snow year and I think i got like 4 days out with the latest being in January. I resigned myself to thinking that my wife and would move south and get 1-2 weeks a year out west. A lot has changed since then.
post #52 of 86
Ski Stories or Ski Inspirations?

My story, is that I learned to ski so I wouldn't look like a weenie to my boyfriend(now husband). He put me on the bunny hill and got me sliding down hill with a Snow plow. Does Deer in the Headlight look mean anything to you.

I ended up liking skiing but never really loved it until my niece, nephew and little sister asked me to take them. There's nothing like youth to get your energy up.

After they were grown and gone, I continued my love of the sport, but the true inspiration came after I got involved in the EpicSki Community. This place and the people in it have changed me forever.
post #53 of 86
My dad returned from WWII (he was a MASH surgeon) with a .30 carbine and a pair of skis. That winter, at the age of 5, I took my first ride downhill standing on his boot toes. We would spend a day with the family of one of his colleagues sliding down a hilly meadow beside a road near our town, taking turns on who drove the car up and down the road as a "lift". The next winter, I had some Northland skis of my own with a strap that went through a mortise in the sidewalls and over the toe of my regular rubber boots. Neighborhood kids would load up a couple toboggans with sleds and skis and head to the golf course nearby that had a deep gully. We'd slide down one side of the gully and up the other as far as our speed would carry us and then climb the rest of the way up to turn around and slide again. We'd share sleds, skis and toboggans, trading off.

A couple years later, the city parks and recreation department opened a tow rope on a bowl-like hill at the edge of town. That program became so popular the city developed a ski area it still runs sixty years later.

I took lessons in 1948 from a European the city hired and got the basics of turning to avoid the trees and other skiers. I was a three-or-four day/night a week skier each winter from then through high school. College, marriage and parenthood kept me off skis until my daughters were five and six, when I started teaching them. Their mother and I parted ways a couple years later and I became a 50-60-days a season skier until I traded in my suit and tie for an instructor uniform in 1970 to start having fun with folks instead of meeting them under more adversarial circumstances. I've averaged 100 days plus a year since and shared my joy of skiing with many thousands of clients. Last season, during a chair ride, a guy said to me, "You won't remember, but 35 years ago you started me skiing, and I've loved it ever since."
post #54 of 86
In seventh grade I joined the ski club. I have no idea why, I don’t recall having any interest in skiing at all. Maybe I was encouraged my parents or maybe I signed up right behind some cute girl in my class. The ski club took a school bus twenty miles south of town to Mt. Holly every Thursday. Tow tickets were $7. I missed the first night of the season for some reason so on my first trip to the hill I was coached by a couple of friend who were one day more experienced than me. I skied the bunny hill for about five hours straight and had an absolute blast.

The next year my friends and I were exploring every little drop off and every patch of trees to be had at Mt. Holly. I remember one February night we got back to my friend’s house and his family was all excited…… about skiing! They had been watching the Olympic downhill race and Franz Klammer’s run had them all in a titter.

I did the Thursday night thing for six years, occasionally making weekend trips up to Crystal Mountain (that was a HUGE place…. Afaik). My parents were kind enough to foot the bill for these six years but when I went off to college my money and attention went to other endeavors.

Twelve years later I was returning home from Thanksgiving at my mom’s and spotted the lights and the white peak of Mt. Brighton (of Aspen Extreme fame) and instantly the fire that had long been extinguished was burning bright inside me. I rented gear a couple of times and bought some skis and poles at the pre Christmas swap.

As an adult I quickly set my sites on bigger and steeper hills. My first foray out of Michigan was a trip to Blue Mountain in Ontario. The next two years I made trips to Sugarbush, VT. The next year I was looking for something different when I saw a flyer advertising a train trip to Winter Park, CO. That was twelve years ago and I’ve been going back to Colorado for longer and longer every year since.

I love skiing and just being in the mountains. I get a profoundly happy and peaceful feeling when I realize that I’ll be back there doing a bunch of skiing next year.

One problem is that no one in my family skis and none of my local friends ski so I ski solo a lot of the time. I’m pretty happy on my own but I’ve always thought it would be cool to share my joy with others more often. I’ve been a part of another online ski community for quite a long time and recently I’ve tried to meet up with some of the other members with limited success. As a fairly new member of this community I can see that meeting on the hill, and off, is an important aspect of Epicski. I’m pretty jazzed about that and really looking forward to next season!
post #55 of 86
Great stories! Mine was already embedded in the thread on "What resort did you go to when you started," so I'll just bump over here, with a few inserts:

FIRST TIME ON SKIS: Around age 10, going straight down hills in a cemetery, using 6 ft hickory boards my dad had, with single leather strap through slot in ski (like Kneale described), grooved bottoms, no edges. "Turning" only enough to miss the gravestones. The skis were already antiques (1940ish) by that time, and now hang over fireplace in our cabin.

WHERE I LEARNED: Late 1960's, at Nor-Ski Runs in Decorah, Iowa. No, Iowa isn't ALL flat cornfields... northeast corner of state joins parts of Minn and Wisc in the geologic "driftless zone", skipped over by glaciers that pulverized rest of farm country. Rivers and steep bluffs. Nevertheless, our ski hill was affectionately known as "Corn Cob Knob"... and you'd end up in cornfield at bottom if you couldn't stop. Slope probably 300 ft long, and almost same vertical drop. I know, mathematically impossible... but you could get to be pretty good if you made it down alive, and some alumni went onto college teams and pro tour. Three rope tows (two end to end) serving one bunny hill, two intermediate and one expert run. Eventually expanded another slope with "Mighty Mite" tow ... wire cable with plastic "J" handles that went behind your back. Season pass cost $20, and many of us skied 2 days every weekend and 1-2 nights per week. We had a workday each fall and walked the hill, picking rocks and laying down straw. Unfortunately, I think insurance rates and other pressures finally closed Nor-Ski not very many years ago. (poignant obituary: http://www.skiernet.com/ski_ia.html ).

First gear were laceup boots, Cubco bindings.... and "Kitzbuhel" skis from a mail order catalog... which I delaminated on a jump. Moved onto black Head Standards, Harts, Kastles, and a great pair of 200 cm Dynamic VR17s... embossed with name of prior owner "Bill Pudwell," who ran a ski store in Rochester, MN and was something of a tri-state celebrity, with a 30 minute TV show late Sunday nights... reviewing slope conditions, skiing tips (PSIA vs PMTS? ), and what passed for "stoke" at the time. 1-2 times per season someone would rent a ski movie (Warren Miller?) and they'd show it in the basement of our small town police station-cum community center... and then we'd go out next day and imitate Wayne Wong. We'd go on road trips to the "big hills" in Minnesota (Welch Village, Afton Alps) few times a year.... stopping for beer and pizza at Shakey's Pizza.

FIRST REAL RESORT: Lillehammer, Norway in 1973... long before the world came for Olympics. Only place I've ever been hurt skiing... twisted ankle on rental gear.
post #56 of 86
In 1960 while stationed in Florida in the Air Force I watched the Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley. The skiing impressed me so much I decided I had to learn to ski. The major problem was I knew no one who skied. When I got out and went back home to New
Jersey I still knew no one who skied. In 1968 I started college and met some friends who
not only skied but were going that week. They put me on the beginner slope and said
have fun. After a half hour they came back. I told them I didn't fall, so on to the intermediate slope which seem steep but do able. Then off to the expert slope with my first encounter with (Moguls),they beat me up pretty bad, but I was now hooked on skiing. Oh my first skiing adventure was at Vernon Valley in New Jersey. Since then I have lived in Salt Lake City for 8 years and have been a ski instructor there. In Aspen for 10 years where I had a footbed and boot alignment business. Since watching the Olymics my life was changed completely by skiing.
post #57 of 86
When I was growing up, we had a neighbor who was a great skier. He talked my Dad into trying the sport and got him hooked. My Dad, being an avid outdoorsman thought that skiing would make a good family activity, so he signed my sister and I up for lessons. For two seasons we got to ride up to Stevens Pass on a bus, play in the snow, raise hell, and learn how to get down the hill with out falling to much. This was in the era of rope tows, leather lace boots, and lift cable snatcher bindings. Fortunately for me my father thought that skiing was as much fun as deer hunting and salmon fishing and took us skiing alot.

Some of you maybe have seen a rope tow, and even have ridden one , but for the rest, let me explain. The rope tow was designed to be ridden by gorillas BIG gorillas with vice grip hands, not 85 pound kids. If you are that kid you wait around for a Big Gorilla and then grab on right behind them, otherwise you find yourself dangling from a moving rope with your feet of the snow, falling off and creating a chain reaction wreck that reminds one of the freeway during rushhour.
Skiing became better than bodybuilding, strong looong arms, vice grip hands and since nobody groomed, we all had tree stump legs.

When it became time for college, nite classes saved the days for skiing. After graduation off to Steamboat and the Skibum life. Living in a 58 Ford panel truck and traveling from Jackson to Taos skiing everywhere on the way. Tip- If your sleeping in a van in Aspen , park in a church parking lot. Unless it's Sunday, you won't get hassled. Ah yes what a well spent youth.

Job, respectability [sortof] and skiing Crystal Mts. backcountry, Old age creaking up but discovering shaped skis early on and what a clock- turner- backer they are. Getting fat skis and making even the PNW pow butter, and finally getting turned on to snow cat skiing. Five years running and signed up for next year.

Skiing has never been more fun
post #58 of 86

Rope Tows

Originally Posted by quickfoot View Post
Some of you maybe have seen a rope tow, and even have ridden one , but for the rest, let me explain. The rope tow was designed to be ridden by gorillas BIG gorillas with vice grip hands, not 85 pound kids. If you are that kid you wait around for a Big Gorilla and then grab on right behind them, otherwise you find yourself dangling from a moving rope with your feet of the snow, falling off and creating a chain reaction wreck that reminds one of the freeway during rushhour.
oh, man... rope tows! I blithely referenced their existence in my story, but had suppressed memories of their integral role in the ski experience. Our minds do try to protect us, but now that you've given me acid flashbacks...

Getting up the rope tow was THE toughest part of learning to ski, for me. Coming down the hill came quite naturally, but there was nothing "natural" about grabbing that whipping snake and hanging on for dear life. 40 years later, I still vividly remember my first attempts... must've eaten snow 8 times before getting up once. : By the end of first day, that may have improved to 3-4 wipeouts for every one successful ride.

It did get easier after that. The trick was to let the rope slip through those gorilla hands until you got moving just a bit, clamping down gradually, rather than all at one. It also helped to have those thick cowhide shells they sold to strap over your regular gloves/mittens as a second palm.... both for the traction on the rope, and so you didn't chew up a new pair every time out.

And yes, as QF said, it helped to have bigger people online to stabilize the rope in front of you. Of course, once you got to be one of those bigger kids... then it became sport to see if you could swing the rope far enough out of the path or whip it, to dislodge your buddies in front or behind!
post #59 of 86
Started at age 42 at Powder Ridge in CT. I always wanted to ski but was not in a financial or geographical location to do it. Once I started I would ski 5 or 6 days a week-- i must have taken a thousand runs down that little bunny hill. I cried the first time my friends took me to the top of the "big" hill I was so scared! Skiing has always been the right mix of beauty and adrenaline, for me. And most important, I improve! I do at least 60 days a year and work part time as a ski pro.
post #60 of 86
Rope-tows,T-Bars,Poma lifts, wool pants ,wood skis and Leather boots. The equipment changes but the soul of skiing is always there. Thanks for some great stories and laughs.
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