I have been skiing as long as I can remember.
I had a small pair of wooden skis with just leather straps across the toes when I was little. They served both as downhill and cross-country skis, taking me through the woods and down the hills. Today with high-tech carving skis, I tear down the mountains as hard and as fast as I can.
Even with the lack of snow, we've skied once or twice a week since Dec. 10. With good grooming and fantastic snowmaking, the skiing has been great.
As I pound down the slopes, I am amazed at the ability of kids on both skis and snowboards. They jump and turn around, go backwards, and do about anything you can think of and still look for more. A little fellow crossed in front of me the other day like a mad man. He went up a bank, spun around twice in mid-air, landed in front of me and continued on down to the lift. He couldn't have been 7 years old.
But somewhere in my 60-plus-year-old body, a 14-year-old is hiding. I still have that urge to do some of those crazy things.
I have watched these snowboarders for several years now and thought I had it figured out. So the other day, I borrowed a snowboard that a girl left in our old shop and went up our back hill to play. Knowing that many snowboarding accidents result in broken wrists, I used inline-skating wrist guards. The only problem was I couldn't find any gloves or mittens that would fit over them. So I continued with bare fingers.
I locked my feet into the bindings and eased my way out onto the very gentle slope. All of a sudden, I was off.
Knowing that you have to use the edges of the board to turn, I leaned into the slope. Yep, that worked well. Suddenly I was down.
It was no big deal. I wasn't hurt or anything, but my bare fingertips were cold and a little sore from dragging myself to a stop on the crusty snow. The biggest problem, though, was getting back up.
I finally rolled over, got on my knees and was soon upright and moving. As I started down the hill once more, I realized it's not as easy as it looks. I raced backwards for a few moments before crashing again.
I got my feet out of the binding and headed back up the slope. One run down was not going to be the end of this little adventure. I may have been down, but I hadn't been defeated.
After locking my boots into the bindings once more, I started back down the slippery slope. I tried to catch an edge by leaning again but spun around on the icy surface, landed on my belly and skidded to an abrupt stop. I was losing interest in the game.
I'm sure that on a better surface and with a little instruction I would have fared better, but I had to give it a try. At times, I'm still a little kid at heart. But landing on that hard, crunchy snow made me realize that maybe some things are better left to those younger folks.
I'll just step into the bindings of my bright orange skis and meet them at the bottom of the hill.
Deer hunters should mark March 23 on their calendars. Charles Alsheimer, an authority on whitetail deer hunting and a wildlife photographer, will present his seminars "Whitetail: A Journey Through the Seasons" and "Hunting the Whitetail Rut" at the Main Street Baptist Church in Oneonta. Doors open at 6 p.m. with coffee and vendor displays. Alsheimer's multi-media presentation begins at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Bob Turrell at 607-432-2240.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.