Extreme Shooshing Anyone?


I have a love hate relationship with downhill skiing. In fact I have not skied in several years due to this storied relationship. There was a period in my life when I did a bunch of cross country skiing. That proved to be far less painful than downhill, as you will come to realize in the ensuing tale. I have no idea why I am thinking about extreme shooshing today. It may be that it popped into my mind when I was preparing for my upcoming early spring fishing trip to the great white north of New York. Nonetheless, I feel that I must expound upon my remembrances and my brief experience with downhill skiing.

Most of the kids I grew up with did not ski at all, with the exception of the Pavlus boys. As to why the Pavlus boys skied, my best guess is that it was something that their parents loved. Since there were no dog crates for young boys, they needed to be included in all family activities. The Pavlus boys would often elaborate and embellish tales of their skiing prowess, whilst we ooed and ahhed. We were all jealous.

The other kids in the hood were far more interested in tobogganing and skating during the winter months. Probably because these activities did not have any need for parental involvement. That particular topic needs to be expanded on a bit.

Back in the good old days, no kid in my neighborhood was driven from activity to activity by their parents. If you wanted to play organized sports of any sort, it was up to you to sign up and either walk or ride your bike to every single game. Parents would occasionally show up for a game, but it was still up to you to get there. At some point this all was transmogrified into the parents being responsible for every second of a child’s development, with no chance whatsoever for trial and error. I hate to blame the Pavlus parents for the woes of our society, but I am afraid that all evidence points to them. The trial and error process is a critical component of the Darwinian, survival of the fittest, upbringing of a child. This is really the only explanation that I can think of for the existence of Hulk Hogan and Refrigerator Perry.

Much later in life I would go out for my one downhill skiing adventure. This particular event involved a bunch of drunken college buddies packed into a VW microbus. The instigator of the whole affair was a dude named Artie Ippolito. Artie was not exactly college material, but he was a close friend and coincidentally my first room mate. We lived together in crappy little apartment in my home town, where I attended college. Artie mostly sat around all day drinking beer, smoking weed, and thinking up stupid crap to do. It was during one such “thinking session” that Artie formulated the plan for us all to go skiing. After a couple of brewskis, the idea sounded like genius to us all.

None of us had ever downhill skied, but we all enthusiastically charged the ski slopes. A few trips and flips down the bunny slope, and we were all ready for the big hill. After almost dying while climbing onto the ski lift, we made it to the top. A few nips of liquid bravery will make you do about anything. At about the halfway point down the mountain, the ski patrol stopped by and asked if we needed to be airlifted off the mountain.

And so ended my one and only downhill ski lesson.

All content copyright of Christopher Hammond