Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pining for Ski Days Past

Snow was abundant for a while here in the Pacific Northwest. To the south of us in Utah, my daughter said they were buried up to their hips a week and a half ago. It's melting now, but part of me misses it. There is something serene and centering about the snow when it falls. I love the feel of snowflakes melting on my face and the crispness of the air. And despite the lure of spring gardening (seed catalogs are already filling my mailbox), I find myself pining for ski days past, wishing for one more time on the slopes.

Postcard from Ragnar in Norway sent to Karl in Tacoma, WA (ca. 1918)

 I wish I had a photo of me in the 60s, flying down the slopes of Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state, with my pig tails flapping in the breeze. Those were the days when ski boots were laced tight around the ankles and ski clothing went on in layers: jeans, double socks and gloves, long underwear, sweaters, turtle necks, hat and parka. I did fork out money for bibs later, becoming more stylish, but in the beginning, paying for a ski pass and gas was all I could afford. A day on the slope in the late 1960s was $5.00. It sounds cheap now, but with wages at only $1.10 an hour (my first job), it isn't a whole lot different from today's cost.

Vince - 1971 (Germany)


I received my first pair of downhill skis in the ninth grade. My parents had never learned how to ski, so transportation to the slopes  meant trips on the KJR ski bus, rides in the back of a neighbor's car, or cramming into a high school friend's VW bug. When I later married, my husband and I also skied.

This was a new sport for Vince and he had his first lesson in Germany, while on military leave. We took a ski train to the highest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze (near Garmisch), and spent one incredible day. The lesson was challenging. Vince's knees were too stiff from a previous injury and wouldn't bend enough for the standard "snow plow" stop. He was a scary sight going full board down the hill trying to stop. 

Zugspitze - highest mountain in Germany

 Sharon - 1971
(Germany)
We continued to ski with our two children, but stopped when the budget grew too tight. We paid for their downhill passes and stayed home. I have regretted that decision, and have been campaigning to resurrect this sport ever since--even cross country skiing. Big hint to "you know who." I MISS it.

I can honestly say that skiing is in my blood. Most of my family in Norway are skiers, which hardly comes as a surprise. Wasn't skiing invented in Norway? I have received more than one photo of the family cross country skiing somewhere. Maybe I can join them someday . . .   
Reidun in Orvos, Norway - 2008
 

 Copyright 2013 © Sharon Himsl
[Postcard from Gravseth family archive]

2 comments:

  1. Ooo...skiing is in my blood too, Sharon! I grew up just south of the Grand Tetons, and we had ski resorts in every direction. My little sister and I used to skip school and buy half-day passes in Jackson Hole, then gorge on Taco Time crispy tacos on the way home. Such fun memories! My husband doesn't ski at all, so I miss it, too.

    I love the photos! You were and still are a gorgeous lady! How amazing that you skied in German on their tallest mountain! Awesome!

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  2. Thanks, Kim! Someday we both have to ski again. The slopes are calling us and those tacos, too. Yum!

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