Remembering My First Pair of Skis

They were a Christmas present. Dad had ripped two boards about four feet long and four inches wide. The board was crafted into a gradual point on one end. The point itself was about a one-inch square. All of this I learned only after receiving them at Christmas because they were carefully hidden from me.


For many weeks, after I had gone to bed, Dad put the pointed end of the boards into the reservoir of our wood stove and then in the morning took them out and gradually shaped the warped end so that the board curled. They were painted red on the top. The bottom was coated with the kind of wax Mom used to top off her canning of strawberry jam. I could keep a piece of this wax to refresh the coat if it wore down.


These “skis” stayed on my feet by two leather straps that were riveted to each side of the ski. They were just the length that allowed my rubber overshoes to fit snugly.


I could hardly wait to get back to school after Christmas vacation. Some of the bigger boys from our one room school had built a ski jump on a high hill just across the road from our school. At recess we all carried our skies and stomped over to the hill. When my turn came I skied down the slope quick as lightening and jumped high in the air landing on my feet.


I looked pretty good, I think, but I knew it was not personal skill. It was all because of my equipment.

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