Weekly Gift Idea: Skiing

skiingSkiing Equipment Can Be Great Gifts for Christmas

Up here in Idaho, folks are getting excited about skiing. It’s all over the news showing that there is none of snow from mother nature to get going but there is some artificial snow and a couple of skiing sites are open, but snow is expected in the mountains this weekend.

I never could afford skiing when I was a kid. There was for rich kids. Before World War II started, two of my brothers friends, Orval McDaniels and Orville Broderick, were excellent skiers. When the war broke up, they join the Army immediately and the Army send them to Fort Carson Colorado where they became ski instructors. Both were made sergeants. They trained with the 10th Mountain division and were sent to Italy, Orval and pack artillery and Vearl was in the infantry. Orval was killed outright by an artillery barrage and Vearl was wounded and captured. He too died. They are buried in the 10th Mountain division Cemetery near Florence Italy.

10th Mountain Division Cemetery, Florence, Italy

10th Mountain Division Cemetery, Florence, Italy

I have been to Florence a couple of times but I didn’t know about the cemetery, a missed opportunity on my part. There are 355 brave Americans buried there.

Some years ago, I took my youngest son, Jimmy, skiing in Park city. He was an excellent skier but I joined the ski school. The instructor though I was too good to be skiing with the school. He grabbed some of us, told me my skis were too long, and that he was going to take us up on the hill. The guys in the ski shop told me not to change my skis, that the guy was nuts. I should’ve taken out of the warning. But I have them change the skis anyway.

SKI 2We get on the gondola and went to the top of the mountain. Then I went about nine’s zillion miles an hour, knew I couldn’t make the turn at the bottom of the hill, knew I couldn’t slow down, knew I couldn’t stop so when I saw this steal cable across the bottom of the hill, placed there I guess to kill people like me. I simply fell down. But in my instructor had caught up with me and I decided I’d had enough of that crap, and despite the the advice of the instructor just to stick with him the rest of the way down, I decided to go down with the ski patrol. So they put me on a toboggan and down I went. Jimmy met me at the bottom of the hill, which he had just skied down. That is the sum total of my skiing experience.

Why the kid, we used to ski down the hills on our shoes that we had no skis and learned no skills.

SKI 3But skiing is a great sport. I just won’t be going to the Idaho ski resorts. I wrote a pretty funny poem about that event at Park City. Let’s see if I put it on tjbooks.com. Nope, not there. Sorry! I know where there is a copy but my daughter took the book home to Ohio to make copies so I don’t have access too it. So, I’ll not let that stop me. I’ll just write another one for you too. Let me try to think back first. I’ll call the ski school instructors Mary and Bill.


Park City Human Landslide


John Taylor Jones, Ph.D.

In the early 1990s,
We decided that we wanted to ski,
Not by why his wife, Pat,
Just Jim and me.

So we hopped a plane from Philadelphia and
Flew back home to the West.
We didn’t want to ski in New Jersey,
We wanted only the best.

Jim didn’t need any training,
He geared up and flew down the hills,
But I had to enter the key school
With instructors Mary and Bill.

“You are not to drink any soda pop,”
Was our instructions from team leader Bill.
“You must always be well hydrated
If you are going to be king of the hill.

With that important instruction,
From ski instructor, Bill.
We grabbed onto the rope tow
And glided up the beginner’s hill.

Well I had no trouble at all with that hill,
I skied like a trooper of sorts.
Mary yelled, “Way to go, John!”
I thought I had mastered the sport.

Then Bill said, “You’re too good for this hill, John,
But those skis are way too long.
The gondola will take us to the top of this mountain,
and we’ll go sailing along.”

The ski shop guy said he was crazy,
Our instructor bill that is.
But I got shorter skis anyway.
Then I could really whiz.

At first it wasn’t too bad,
Though I knocked down a skier or two.
Folks were warned I was coming,
“Here comes that no-stop fool!”

Then the big hill loomed down before me.
I thought, “This is the end!”
But down I went anyway,
Very good on the straightaway
But there was a turn at the bottom of the hill,
And I knew I could not make it,
And would end up in layaway.

I sped down the hill like a cheetah,
Thinking that it would be neat ah
To be able to stop ah,
Or at least to turn ah,
Because a steel cable was ah
At the bottom of the hill ah.

I decided I had to fall down or die.
I banged my head on the icy slope.
And Bill shot down to give me hope.
He said, Want to keep skiing?
I said, “Nope!”

I went down by toboggan,
The ski patrol guiding.
Now that was great “skiing,”
Such easy gliding.

Jim thought I was dead
Or had broken a leg.
He said, “You okay, Dad?’ I said,
“I just broke my head.”

And that was the end
of skiing for me.
Park City had won,
But now I was free
To forget about skiing,
It was just not for me.

But still the slopes call to me
Here in Idaho.
“Come skiing, John, Come skiing, John!”
I’m only 82, but still I WONT GO!

The End
copywrite©2014 John Taylor Jones, Ph.D.

Korea 1951

Ted Olean of Minnesota is on my left. We are mortar forward observers on HIll 1243, the highest and most bombarded hill on the line. 17th Infantry Regimental Combat Team, 7th Division

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