I have to thank my friend Jim Knosp Housley for jogging my memory. He was shocked that our first time skiing at a resort was our last time skiing with the Buck Brook students. His reaction jogged yet another memory from that winter of 1969 – 70.
The memory is a short vision of an effortless ski run. It was a vision that changed skiing for the rest of my life.
Indeed, Jim, I must have taken the students and staff on at least one more ski trip to the Pocono Mountains that winter. And I do vaguely remember finding another ski hill to check out.
The proof of both another trip and a different hill is my watching a skier from the lift. This skier was passing on our left side, opposite from where the run was on our first trip to the Poconos. Otherwise I remember the resort being similar to the first, with one lift and one run in a clearing between the trees.
The chair I was riding had passed the first pole holding up the cable when my eye was caught by a female skier making the most graceful decent of a hill I had ever seen. No effort at all. She just held her poles straight out to her sides and she did not turn. Nor was she just going straight down the hill as fast as she could. Rather she was in complete control and merely leaning. Just leaning from side to side.
As she leaned her skis naturally following the effect of her weight and tracked to the left or right.
Just leaning from side to side and letting her skis settle in beneath her.
It was beautiful. I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
It was everything I had always wanted my skiing to be.
Not trying to control skis. Not worrying about form. Not launching into a turn.
Just leaning from side to side.
And because of that, in poetic form — legs together. Skis parallel. Perfect.
I got off the chair, pointed my skis down hill, stuck my arms out to my sides, poles dangling in the wind, forgot about turning — and have celebrated my association with motion and gravity ever since.