Alpine skiing, or downhill skiing, is a whole lot of fun. I’ve been a skier since I was about 11 years old, so that means I’ve been at it for nearly 50 years. Heavens. In high school I was on our school’s ski racing team. I was a pretty fearless son-of-a-gun, so I did fairly well at ski racing. Because of this background, I’ve always been one of the fastest skiers on the slopes. Not bragging here; just telling the facts.
As a very fast skier, I had to learn the art of passing other skiers who were slower than I was. Don’t laugh; there is an art to it. You pick out your victim when you’re still quite far above them on the hill. You gauge their speed, and you compare it to yours to estimate how soon you’ll be passing them. You watch them turning and you get a feel for the rhythm of their turning. Most people are fairly patterned as they ski, so after you watch a few turns you can predict what their course is likely to be. Then, as you get closer to them, you begin timing your turns so that when they’re turning right, you’re turning left. Then, at just the right moment, when they turn right, you turn left and you go whizzing by them in the space that they’ve created on the hill. It’s simple, really; and elegant. It works out pretty well most of the time. Most of the time they don’t even notice that they’ve been passed.
Something strange was happening to me today on the ski slopes. I was finding that there were quite a number of skiers who were skiing faster than I was. Now, I haven’t slowed down, of course, so clearly something has happened to cause other people to ski faster than they’ve ever done before. Is it the newer ski equipment? Were they using some sort of new, fancy wax? Is there something wrong with my skis that is slowing them down? I don’t know. I’ll have to work on figuring this out.
Meanwhile, if I am going to be passed by other skiers, that’s fine. I just wish that someone would teach them the art of passing. Because clearly, no one ever has.