Monday, February 15, 2010

It's Olympic Time

Just another wild and crazy guy - dressed for the occasion.
It was February 1953 on the slopes of Colorado, and I was a bit leaner and a lot younger. It was fun times as several of us spent our weekends west of Denver as we escaped work at Lowry Air Force Base.
My skiing days began in the very late thirties and very early forties in New York. I had fourth-hand skiis and leather strap ski bindings that were not the greatest in the world. We skiied on a neighbors hill (had I done it behind our house I would have ended up in the creek) There were no tows or lifts and so for every one minute slide down the hill there was a 15 or twenty minute herring-bone climb up the hill.
A few years later (with a car available) I graduated to commercial slopes like Catamount, almost on the New York/Massachusetts state line and now there were rope tows and longer more challenging trails. I got infected with the ski bug in those days.
The real conversion came in Colorado. Rocky Mountain powder snow was wonderful and the slopes far more challenging. The mountains were higher and every weekend was filled with adventure.
I guess it's the same way nowadays -- ski all day and party all night. I remember snake dances down the main street of Idaho Springs, Colorado and celebrations atop Lookout Mountain, overlooking the city of Golden. As I said, it was a wonderful time for a young, wild and crazy guy.
My last real involvement with snow skiing was in Italy in November and December of 1955. I was assigned to the Italian Air Force at a base in the foothills of the Dolomites not far from Venice. In the process I gained some Italian ski troop friends who would take me to Cortina on weekends to prepare the slopes for the 1956 winter Olympic games. So, I can claim to have skiied Olympic trails but never got to see the actual Olympics because of a transfer to Holland a week or two before the competion began.
Today my competion Northland hickory skiis, my wonderful magnesium skiis, and my very early Head laminate skiis are long gone. What we have in the immediate area here are some of the best cross-country trails in Michigan; however, I don't have the stamina or the urge to ski anymore. If I lived in Colorado I'd have serious vertigo problems. Guess that's part of the aging process. Still, it's nice to dig out old pictures, and watch the Vancouver Winter games, and reflect on what it was like when I was young and carefree.

1 comment:

  1. What, you're not carefree now? And what's that tag hanging off your pocket?