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First Footing?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Wow! This is some community skisite. Trawling through the abundant subject threads, I came across professional skiers, veteran skiers, intermediate skiers, novice skiers, ski gurus, ski fitness gurus, ski comedians, ski pragmatists, ski dogmatists, apres skiers etc.. But what was the turning factor that turned you all into such avid skiers? Where did you learn to ski and what was the ski instructor and weather conditions like? Did you learn in a group or a one to one arrangement? Was it a sociable group and was it a memorable experience? Did it cost you an arm and a leg or was it dirt cheap?
I learnt to ski in Scotland 25 years ago, I was 29 at the time. In those days it snowed heavily and consistently in the Highlands of Bonnie scotland. I used to celebrate the Hogmanay regularly every new year and go first footing blind drunk. But on one such occasion, a drunken game keeper suggested I take up skiing (it was snowing heavily at the time and every house holder was snowed in..) Anyway, the following new year saw me kitting up for my first ski lesson, with much trepidation. It was a 6 day Learn to Ski Package Holiday in the grampian ski resort of Glenshee for the humble fee of £85 which included Instruction, Ski & Boot Hire and insurance. On our first day we woke up to glorious sunshine, a beautiful blue sky and it had been snowing heavily for the past fortnight and the air was windless. Our ski instructor was only 17, a native highlander, but he was good. Today, I still remember my thrill of skiing my very first run. It was only about 300 metres but to me then it was endless.. and the weather was glorious!
post #2 of 16
What a wonderful post!

I learned to ski at Keystone and Breckenridge (in Colorado), but if I were to give any advice today it would be to learn at Loveland. If you take three lessons you get a season pass and the snow is great!
post #3 of 16
I really like Loveland. It surprises me that so many people in Colorado ignore it. If it were here in Vermont, Killington would be a ghost town.

post #4 of 16
What a great post! I learned how to ski in the slums of Chesnut Mt. aka-hill, in western Illinois and in the U.P. Since then I am now living in West Virginia, slowly working my way in the industry, have progressed very much with my skiing, and have had many opportunities to ski both in the Nothreast and out west, but I will never forget the days, skiing in between my fathers legs in pigtails, in the Boyne Highlands.... Never forget your roots...
post #5 of 16
I taught myself to slide down a gentle slope on my neighbors front lawn in 1951. Finally got some lessons in the 60s and have been hooked ever since. I like to take people by and show them where I learned(it's probably 5 vertical feet). I've had the good fortune to ski a lot of places in the west as well as trips to Italy, Switzerland and Canada. It's a small world when you're a skier.
Recently I've made some great connections through this forum (as well as reconnected with some old friends). I'm trying my darndest to get to Utah and meet some more of the "Bears".
post #6 of 16
As far as skiing is concerned I was born and raised on Wildcat mountain in New Hampshire, proudly. My parents stuck me in ski lessons every weekend for about 6 years of my life until i was old enough to keep up with them. God I love that mountain.
post #7 of 16
For me it was two years ago. It was just before Christmas and my BIL was home for the holidays with his new ski package (one of the great things about being single is that you ALWAYS get what you want for Xmas!!). We went out to a local hill (Boler Mountain) and the addiction was instant. Snow, speed the feeling of flying. I was in the stores 4 days later (boxing day), and the rest as they say is history.
post #8 of 16
My introduction to sliding downhill on skis was standing on my dad's toes as we schussed a slope in a field beside a country road near our home in Northern Michigan. I was five. He'd come back from WWII with a pair of Tenth Mountain Division issue skis and boots, although he was not a Tenth Mountaineer. He was a MASH surgeon all over Europe.

The next couple of winters, the kids from my neighborhood would group up with toboggans, sleds, skis, skibobs and walk the few blocks to the country club, where there was a wonderful gulley that you could slide down one side and see how far up the other you could get. Then tote whatever you were riding on to the top of the other slope and reverse the path. We all took turns using all the equipment. Ski bindings were a leather hoop into which you tucked the toes of your rubber boots. No turns, just slides and falls.

Then the town recreation department set up a rope tow on a hill owned by the school district and there has been lift-served skiing here ever since. The success of that first venture led the city to establish a ski complex with multiple slopes and lifts.
post #9 of 16
Man you ask alot of questions! And your right this is a great site , if you get a chance to meet some of these people you'll see why. As for a couple of your queries , I really can't remember the first time (to young) and the "ADDICTION, OBBSESION, PASSION , INFACTUATION AND DESIRE" to ski .....well I think it was sometime shortly after the first time on skis.
What I do know is it doesn't take much more than the sight of fresh snow and the smell of cold fresh air to get me stoked.
post #10 of 16
Uplands, about 7 years ago.

100ft tall hill with 4 trails, built onto the far end of a golf course just outside Toronto. My first slide was down to the lesson meeting area from the chalet, going past the ski racks. Group lessons, 8 weeks. I never had to worry about getting lost, because I could see the chalet from ANYWHERE on top of the hill

They used to have 2 T-Bars, one going up the intermediate slope, and one going right up the only black diamond slope. Very frightening when you are 10 years old, short, and have a total of 5 hours on skis. The black diamond T-Bar picked me right up off the ground for most of the ride.

I hope to get a job instructing there this season. Now there are 6 trails (3 greens, 2 blues, 1 black), a 2 seat chair, and a rope tow. Lucky kids...

[ November 20, 2002, 11:50 AM: Message edited by: Adam S ]
post #11 of 16
The very first day I ever skied was at Mt Hutt, NZ with my brother, ages about 6/7. We shared a pair of skis and had hand-knitted woolens and oilskin jackets and oversized boots on fooling around on a rope tow in terrible weather, freezing cold. I will never forget my little bro's boot coming off with ski attached and flying down the slope into the rental shed.

I was hooked inextricably the very moment I got the first sensation of the skis gliding over the snow that day.

Great memories...and skiing for the 25 years since has been a grand collection of similarly great memories that I wouldn't trade for anything.
post #12 of 16
Wonderful post! I guess as resident ski-fitness person {don't like the word guru, makes me think of overheated yoga studios and people in non functional pretzel positions!} my story is ironic, don't ya think.

Flashback: NYC, January 1989. In 3 months, I will be married to my fiance. His first wife hated skiing. I too, thought skiing was for lunatics. The upscale gym I was working for sponsored a bus trip to Killington. "Wow", people said. "Killington is Disney for skiers!"

Two things should have set off alarm buttons.

The words "bus trip from NYC"

The word "Disney"

So the bus arrives one hour late at our posh upper east side gym. It is filled with smoke, both the legal and illegal kind.

Beer cans are rattling all over the place.

The bathroom is all clogged up, because a couple of guys puked.

It seems that the trip operator felt it was a good idea to combine our group with a group of sanitation workers from Long Island.


Since I was the only staff member on the trip, the trip leaders held me responsible for the fact that they had not recieved money from some of the mebers. They were going to deny us our lodging priveleges, if I did not get the money to them right away.

Fortunately, you do not argue with Mark about something like that, if you value both your self esteem and your legal standing in society.

First day of lessons. {Most of you know this story, feel free to bypass, I'll never know, so I cannot be offended!}

I am a typical NYC 1980s style aerobics instructor, who values fitness above any priorities in life, spending so much time at the gym, that its a wonder that I had the time to get engaged.
Skiing should have been easy.

NOT!! I could not even stand up on skis. To say that the Killington instructors lacked both patience and the ability to teach adult beginners would be the understatement of the year!

At the time. ski instruction was dominated by males. I probably did not win anyone's favor when I fell into an entire group of ski instructors at line up!

But they didn't have to be so mean!

Needless to say, I did not take lessons the next day.

One thing that struck me. At meals, people from the Boston Ski and Sports Club are at the same lodging . I note how quiet and polite they are. This is foreshadowing...

Leap 10 years later, 3 years ago. We live near Boston. My husband goes to Sunday River and tells me about the Pefect Turn System. Somehow he convinces me to try it out. Its New Years, and his kids are coming up from Florida. We have a brand new greyhound. I find oout about a horse ranch in New Hampshire that allows dogs. Its about an hour from Mount Snow.
Mark talks me into a lesson.

The instructor asks what kind of sport or activity I am involved in. I have just begun to teach stability ball. He thought that was terrifying. That gave me perspective.

I did not fall once.

The rest is history.

EPILOGUE: I now belong to Boston Ski and Sports. If Mark has to work on a weekend, I go skiing! [img]smile.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img]
post #13 of 16
Well, why not?

After having spent the majority of life in the Tropics, i decided to move to the mountains. I land in Jackson, spend a summer, leave, come back for another summer, leave, spend my third summer and wonder if maybe i can survive a winter. Well everybody i worked with (and still do) tele's. I don't really know the difference so i buy $100 skis and some boots and off i go. I really can't tell exactly when i caught the addiction, mostly 'cause i can't count in milliseconds. Lets just say that i was an addicted skier within my first few feet.
post #14 of 16
I haven't heard the expression "First Footing" in about 40 years. We would go to my Grandmother's home for New Years. I can still remember my Dad going out to go "First Footing" and my Grandmother sitting at the front window to make sure the right person would be at the front door before she would open the door. If the wrong person was at the door she would make them climb through the window to make sure she would have good luck for the year.

This IS a great site for skiers, I don't post very much, However,I do read the post almost daily. Lots of good information and you can't beat the humor that is available.

I started skiing when my wife made reservations at a small ski resort in Michigan for our 25th wedding anniversary. Didn't know about the trip until I got home from work and found the bags packed. How do you say no on your anniversary? That was 8 years ago and we are still hooked on skiing.
post #15 of 16
This is a nice trip into the past. It's 1974, I recently got out of the Army. I am working with a guy from Colorado who sells me a pair of splitkien bass wood skinny skis, short boots and poles for $5.00. The lignistone edge on one is torn out. I get a friend to rip a piece of maple and I glue this into the space with epoxy. Then I head up New World gultch. A steep, twisty, narrow rocky little trail that goes up to the bottom of Mt Ellis. There is an old ski area right by the bottom of this trail. I'm flailing, trying to make parallel turns on this equipment. You see, I want to go into the backcountry, and go all the places I might go in the summer. And I've never skied before. A few weeks of this and I'm getting better and thinking that if I bought some alpine gear and went to Bridger I would learn easier. So it's down to the Beaver Pond and rummage through the used gear to find a boot I can tolerate and some skis. Then off to bridger, and I never looked back. I did fall into skiing with some who were much better than I which is what saved my butt. After about three years I was skiing pretty much anywhere I wanted to (I didn't say skiing it perfectly) so I completely gave up alpine and went to telemarking and backcountry touring. Skied every month of the year. We always knew a place to hike into or drive to to find some snow, no matter what month of the year. Longest time out consecutively was 10 days in north yellowstone park in the Gallatin range. Average trip time was probably 4-5 days. I wouldn't trade those years for anything. we were passionate and tireless.

When my daughter got old enough to ski I went back to alpine. It was at about that point that I took the only two lessons I had before becoming an instructor. Though I always read and practiced everything i could find. I used to go up in the old days (70's) and ski north meadow without poles to start my day of skiing. But of course I never truly became a student until I became a teacher.
post #16 of 16
First Footing: Mount Ober dry slope in Belfast.

First Snow: Saalbach, Austria.

First Jagermeister Fleugl: Saalbach, Austria.

And that was the start of a beautiful friendship...

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