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Racer beats frostbite with makeshift boots warmer

Compiled by Allen R. Smith

For the first 20 years of my teaching career, I was a very active ski coach. One of the boys that I coached was a young man named Justin, who went on to win the National Slalom Championship at age 14.When Justin was about 8 years old, we were running slalom gates when he came up to me and complained, “Coach, coach. My feet are cold. Can I go in?” I answered, “Yeah, Justin. We’ll just go to the top of this course, run a couple of more gates and you can go in.” Grudgingly, he agreed, and hiked back up to the top of the course. After skiing a few more gates, the young boy came up to me complaining, “Coach, coach. I really have to go to the bathroom. Can I go in?” I said, “Yeah, Justin. We’ll just go to the top of this course, run a couple of more gates and you can go in.” Grudgingly, he agreed, and hiked back up to the top of the course.After a few moments, the young boy looked over at me with a contented smile on his face. He said, “Hey coach, my feet aren’t cold anymore!”- Rusty Crook, Mount Rose, Nev.Broken legs or the boojey? One of the most enjoyable aspects of teaching is watching children take up the sport of skiing for the first time. Some of them can barely walk before they’re dropped into a pair of ski boots and guided down the mountain.The other day, I was leading a group of new skiers into the maze of our beginner chairlift when I cruised by a woman in her late 30s and her 3-year-old daughter. Her daughter was crying her eyes out, clearly upset over something that had just occurred.Since we had a few moments to wait in line, I asked the mother why her daughter was so upset. She explained that they had just come off of Chair 9, where the young girl had dropped her pacifier onto the slope below. The run under the chair was a challenging bump run with moguls the size of small economy cars and the mother was not anxious to ski down it for the sake of a lost pacifier.As the young girl continued to wail at the top of her lungs, the mother bent over and explained to her in her most maternal tone, “Honey, we can’t go get your ‘boojey’ (infantese for pacifier). Mommy’s not a very good skier. If Mommy went down to get your boojey, Mommy would break both her legs and have to spend the rest of our vacation in the hospital. Now you wouldn’t want that would you?”When the girl failed to respond, the mother prodded her by asking, “Well?” The little girl replied, “Just a minute. I’m thinking…”- Allen R. Smith, VailVail, Colorado


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