Originally Posted by sjjohnston
Very few people started skiing at anything that could even charitably be described as a "resort." Well ... very few of the people who post here did, anyway. Maybe this suggests that not very many people who later become avid skiers start at a resort. This makes sense: not so much because resorts kill avidity, as because avid skiers mostly grew up somewhere within easy reach of local (non-resort) ski areas.
SJJ may have it right. Easy access kept us coming back more than luxuries or facilities or even good skiing; quantity more than quality?
FIRST TIME ON SKIS: Around age 10, going straight down hills in a cemetery, using 6 ft hickory boards, with single leather strap, grooved bottoms, no edges. "Turning" only enough to miss the gravestones. Skis were already antiques then (1930s-40s), and now hang over fireplace in our cabin.
WHERE I LEARNED: Late 1960's, at Norski Runs in Decorah, Iowa. No, Iowa not 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, one intermediate and one expert run. Eventually expanded another slope with "Mighty Mite" tow with plastic handle on wire cable. 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 finally closed Norski not very many years ago. 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 gear were laceup boots, Cubco bindings.... can't remember skis, but I delaminated them on a jump.
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.