The ski racer that I was. I can look back at the years as a young man and remember being on the hill in the starting gate. The race was at Sunday River in Maine. This was a very cold day and standing atop the hill the coach told us to make sure we side slip the course and to remember the gate setup. Very confusing at times, swing gates, flush, and other combinations that you have to be a rocket scientist to even develop. So from top to bottom I went, red then blue then red then blue. Ok, I think I have it now. You have to make sure you go through the red then back through the blue. No problem right? I was now down at the bottom of the trail and other racers and I are standing inline to hop on the chairlift to bring us back to the starting gate. I figured it out, the best ski racers would go up front, or first then the other racers would follow. My number was not one of the lower numbers so I would be taking off at a later time. It was very cold this day and starting to snow very hard. When the snow hits your face and lands on your goggles things begin to freeze. The race is off, I can see the racer, red then blue then red. I have to mention that when I was racing back in the late 70’s all the poles on the course were bamboo. You could nudge them but didn’t want to lay them over like you see today. A man could become an opera singer real quick in those days. I stood on that hill and now I was getting chilled to the bone. I know it is my turn real quick the line is getting shorter. I’m preparing myself for the big moment, I have studied the course and all set to go. The coach states, nothing to it right? Well I’m not so sure coach. You will be alright and conquer this course. Ok, he doesn’t know me like I know myself but I will give it my best try. I’m now in the starting gate, 3,2,1 and I’m off. I am moving at a good clip and now can see the bottom, oh, crap! I just hit that red gate a little hard and now my turn is too wide. If you get out of timing for the next gate you start getting behind and its hard to get back in line. I find myself sitting on the back of my ski boots. You know this really helps in your confidence. The trick is to stay on the front of your ski boots so your in control. I sat back and now I hear a pop and the ski is off into the sunset. How in the heck do you ski with one ski. The coach never showed us how to do this. I see a red pole in front of me and I am on a collision course set for a possible accident . I cannot turn with this one ski and SMACK! I hit this red pole like hitting a Mack truck. Whap! It twirled me around and I fell , bounced and rolled. Snow particles can find every crevice in your body when you fall like that. I finally came to a stop with my hat, goggles, and ski poles strewn all over the place. I laid there for a moment hoping that someone would come to my rescue. Hey you alright? This must be the rescue squad. This little old lady came over to me, she might of been a gate keeper. I told her I think so. I haven’t even done a self check of myself and stupid me tells this lady, yes. I give credit now to the snow gods for saving me on this day. You can always pick yourself back up but at some point the body starts to say it is time to give it up. I raced from 1975 into the 90’s but only had some success on the top and never getting first. The racing pole became plastic and would bend almost to the ground. The great challenge to go through a race course is amazing. If you have never tried it you must give it a try. Remember Red and Blue then Red.
Above Photo my friend Doug Fuller