Dick the Skier
In the old days, Dick used to ski at the local golf course on wooden and leather skis. He’d walk up the hill then ski back down. By the time Dick returned to skiing, skis had become far more interesting as new technologies were introduced.
The first time I ever skied was when Dick and I were students at the Art Academy of Cincinnati. This was the 1950s and we were still teenagers. The original Playhouse in the Park was just up the hill from us. Some lunch times Dick and I would climb up the hill. Dick brought along his old pair of leather skis and asked if I’d like to learn to ski down this hill. “Oh, sure” I called out with na´ve confidence.
Dick positioned me on the skis and pointed me to go down the hill. Down I skied, but he forgot to tell me how to stop! I careened right across the street in front of a bus as it turned the corner. It passed me so close I could see the faces of passengers obviously disturbed by this near miss. I finally slid to a halt and sat down unhurt, though shaken, in a bunch of bushes across the street. The rest of the day I was a heroine as my story spread through art school.
Years later, after Dick had returned to skiing and became a teacher, I took 6 weekly ski lessons from Dick at Perfect North Slopes (PNS). And, at each lesson, I would fall and acquire a fresh new whiplash. Except for the one week I worked with another teacher and did not fall at all. Go figure!
Dick was a ski instructor for many years at PNS, then he stopped teaching and drove an hour each way a number of times each week to meet with his ski buddies just for the fun and excitement of the sport.
Every season Dick would treat himself to one or two or even three new sets of skis. He just HAD to have the updated versions.
Dick began his second career of skiing with Doug Sauer at Sugar Creek ski area until it closed down around 1989.
Dick was a self taught skier, helped along by his ice hockey and ice skating experiences in early life. He did not take ski lessons until much later.
On one of Dick’s first descents at Sugar Creek he cashed through some wooden fences at the bottom of the ski hill -- skinning up his shin.
The following year he again crashed and this time broke his thumb – after that he took some ski lessons (smile!).
On a trip out west around 1992 to ski Keystone, Breckenridge and the Arapaho Basin – Dick was accompanied by a number of his enthusiastic ski friends.
Doug recalled this rather wild skiing experience with Dick. It was Dick’s first time at Arapaho Basin and he was in one of several chairs in front of Doug on the ski lift. By the time Doug got to the top of the lift he found the others chatting about where to go next.
Dick, by this time, had assumed his favorite ‘leader’ role, whereupon he led them down a Double Black Diamond run, one of the most treacherous trails around – Black Diamond runs are considered expert runs and Double Black Diamond runs – well, the concept of ‘extreme expert’ is appropriate! If that title does not fit you, don’t go!
Except for a few, this was way above their ability or desire to continue this adventure. So with their skis in hand, they walked slowly down the hill, passing the top steep parts without injury.
On the same trip, Dick brazenly led the group way beyond the recommended trails and got hopelessly lost, wandering off the maps and into avalanche zones!
They just made it back safely before dark – in the nick of time. After that scary fiasco, they all used their maps and did NOT just follow Dick! – although, of course, that remained an optional choice for the ‘more adventurous’ among the group!
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