I was a X-Country Ski racer when I was young. The first pair of skis I raced with were all wood. My coach told me that if I can do good with these that I could get a pair of fiberglass skis next season. I was determined to race the heck out of these wooden skis.
I joined the Eastern Ski Circuit my freshman year of high school. A few of my piers also joined and I remember traveling with one of the racers dad all over the place on weekends. We would travel to Vermont or New Hampshire to race. Sometimes we would stay in a ski condo overnight and sleep in bunkbeds with other racers. The competition in the Eastern circuit was fierce. I developed the skills really fast that year.
I would take my skis into the cellar before going to these events and treat the bottom of the skis with Pine Tar. This was a sticky gooey substance and I would heat it up with a torch from my dads workbench. After heating it up I would rub this compound with a cork so it would smooth out into the bottom of the ski. Certain days of racing you would have to use a wax called Klister. This was chosen when the days were very warm and traditional swix wax wouldn’t stay on your skis. You would put this under the foot region and make sure not to get it on you or the tips and tails of the skis. This Klister was applied the same way as the Pine Tar. This stuff would come out of a tube like toothpaste and you would heat it up to smooth it out. This was one substance that I hated because it always got on your hands or clothing. I’m sure some of you older skiers remember this stuff. With the Klister on the skis you could walk up hills. It would keep your skis stuck to the snow when you pushed down under your foot. Gliding was from the tips and tails of your ski.
I had a very successful year skiing with those wooden skis and I had a lot of great memories traveling around. I was a Nordic Skier and I put a lot of time into it. I did quite well skiing for LFNSA- Livermore Falls Nordic Ski Association in Maine. The time was 1975-1979 and our team was smoking hot. My Freshman year was probably the best for us. We won all the races as a team around our area and went on to win the New Englands. We had six Nordic racers that were selected to race the New Englands that season and all six made the top ten in the cross-country racing event. Overall our team won the New Englands in Nordic. I have to tell you that back then Nordic also include Ski-Jumping. We had some guys on our team that could fly like a squirrel. I did get my fiberglass skis the next season.
So I look back and remember those great times and will never forget some of the people I ran across. Smoking Dan Simoneau,Rick Groleau, Tim Tenney, Steve Fuller, Rick Knowlton or Rick Couture. Sorry I might of missed some . These were great memories for sure.
© 2014 Dwayne Bilodeau