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Picture of me skiing, kind of blurry

Skiing, In Pictures

Surreal qualities of night skiing, Blue Mountain, Canada. Clockwise from James in the reflective coat: James, Ben, Wes, Brian, and me. My fifth time on a snowboard, and I finally got it! Almost no falls. Jan. 15, 2000.

Pausing to enjoy the beautiful view down the slopes of Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Dec. 1998. In a few moments, down we go!

Skiing, In Words

Why Ski?

When I joined my high school ski club in January of 1992 I was completely oblivious to the sport and just wanted to try something new. After my first lesson I was hooked. It's a fantastic feeling to be gliding down a slope on a soft powdery surface. Unlike many other sports, you have the safety of knowing you can fall and it usually won't hurt much. In fact, on steep hills, there's a very fine line between falling and actually skiing. You might fall backward and slide down on your side a bit but then push yourself back up and regain control with only a moment to realize what just happened.

When you're skiing at a resort you're in a sort of suspended reality and removed from the rest of the world. Your two skis aren't any good for walking, but they glide really nice. Get yourself up to the summit of a hill right away. Then inch over to the crest, and breath in the air of an expansive open valley. Bring your eyes down to focus about fifty feet below you, down the cliff you're about to proceed over. Then feel yourself leaning forward, into the open space, and feel your body succombing to gravity...

A skier is lucky to be out skiing on a warm, sunny day. But for a real snow-lover, this is great weather too. (Me at Killington, Vermont, Dec. 1996)

One of the best feelings I've ever had is at that very moment, when you consciously make the decision to lean into the fall, as if you were leaning into the entire valley in front of you, with all the little trees and lakes far below. And you know, the split second after you make that decision, a rock solid decision, there is no turning back. Your whole body is immediately swept forward and you're pointing down, head over feet, and in one more split second you'll be flying away at top speed. Now—now's the time, while you're still leaning into the acceleration—now you execute a turn, and another, and your body compresses hard at your knees with the weight of your turning. You've done it! You're controlling your descent, almost at the edge of your limits. If you turn too hard and your skis skid out from under you, you'll fly out of control. But they don't. You've attacked the cliff, and succeeded. Soon the trees and lakes are normal size again, and you stop to catch your breath before heading up the lift to do it again!

The photos below were taken on a few of my trips to various ski resorts in Colorado, Canada, Vermont, and all around the midwest. For more stories, you can read about an exhausting week skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado, and about my very first ski trip as a college freshman (written as college freshman), to Blue Mountain in Collingwood, Ontario. My friend Wes did all the planning for both of these expeditions, and for many more as the Blue Mountain ski trip became an annual event for students at the University of Toledo. Wes has an extensive ski resort ratings section on his web site.

Wes, Roland, and me at Caberfae, Michigan, Feb. 1999. Roland's from Germany and is an expert at both skiing and snowboarding. This was my first and only ski trip with him. Wes and I go way back, to our freshman year of college, when I helped him learn to ski!


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