Sam Bauman: Almost time to break out your skis | NevadaAppeal.com

Sam Bauman: Almost time to break out your skis

Sam Bauman

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Slide Mountain now boasts a cap of snow, enough to trigger thoughts of enjoying the ski slopes. But don't rush out to the garage to retrieve your father's skis passed along to you. If the skis are seven feet long, with straight edges and bear-trap bindings, and are polished wood, they're not for skiing these days.

It was more than 20 years ago those skis became obsolete, replaced by shorter skis with curved edges, narrower under the boot but wider at shovel and tail. That was a spin-off from ski boarder shapes which made a lot of sense.

I bought a pair of the new format Rossignols and found skiing them was easier than my old straight edges and I never went back to the style, my first pair of skis bought in Denver with safe-release bindings years go.

Don't know what happened to those old skis, probably bashed them skiing in Japan. But the new Rossis worked well and I replaced them after a six-year span recently. The new Rossis (why change horses, etc.) work even better and the bindings are safer — came out of them a couple of times, to my pleasure and disdain.

So I stuck with Rossi, but there are many good skis out there, check what your ski shop offers. There are even handmade skis on sale in Reno if you're rich.

Of course skiing is a risky sport, so classified by Nevada. There's no totally safe way to ski. But I did learn a trick about falling on skis I'll share.

Recommended Stories For You

If you're moving along and feel a fall coming, try to fall forward rather than backward. This keeps the skis mostly parallel downhill from you. Try not to fall backward, which sends one ski forward and the other uphill because of the weight balance. This is a dangerous condition with the uphill ski tending to extend and risk a serious accident.

Don't blame me if falling forward doesn't work for you. It does for me.

And those old woodie skis — polish them up so they look good and hang crossed over the fireplace with photos of those earlier days. Add trophies you won in amateur races.

Heavenly is opening this weekend, and if the snow on Slide Mountain says anything, it's time to buy a season ticket for Heavenly or your favorite resort.

I'm getting a little long of tooth to ski anything tougher than a blue run. Several tumbles on curbs have weakened my sense of balance. I try to overcome balance weakness by standing on one foot for at least 30 seconds (easier said than done), then walking toe-to-heel for several feet. I don't do well with either.

And considering my falls when walking over the last six months, I'm not a good risk for the slopes. When I fall on dry land I just call 911 and a fire truck with helpful fire fighters appear. No such service on the slopes, except for the ski patrol.

But looking back over many years skiing in Japan, Korea, Europe and even the Atlas Mountains in Africa, I can only thank the ski gods for their help. And thanks for those less-famed resorts such as Buck Hill in Minneapolis. And for those men and women who built ski lifts to get me up the slopes. I can remember when a two-seat chair lift was special. Now they have six-seaters and up.

A good citizen: Can you answer these?

Here are some questions faced by those seeking to become citizens. Courtesy Citizen and Immigration Services:

What is the supreme law of the land?

What does the Constitution do?

The idea of self-government is in the first three words of the Constitution.

What do we call the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?

What is one right or freedom from the first amendment?

Answers:

Supreme law is the Constitution.

The Constitution protects the basic rights of Americans.

The Bill of Rights.

What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment? Speech, religion, assembly, press and petition the government.

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? Thomas Jefferson.

When was it declared? July 4, 1776.

And what is one thing Benjamin Franklin is noted for? Starting the first free library.

Can you name one American Indian tribe in America? (USCIS has the official list, including Arawak).

Name one of the longest rivers in America. The Missouri and the Mississippi.

Name one state that borders Canada. Include Alaska.

Civics class over.

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.