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Welcome to New Zealand

Compiled by Allen R. Smith

Every year, a small contingent of Americans traveled to New Zealand to work the winter season. And every year, the New Zealanders would think of ways to indoctrinate the new “Yanks” into their culture through a series of sophisticated practical jokes.The first weekend that I was at the resort, we were having lunch in the Instructor’s lunchroom. While inside, we leaned our skis against the outside of the building.During lunch, the Kiwi’s started up a conversation about the “weirdo.” They said, “You guys better be on the lookout. That weirdo that saws the tips off of skis is hanging around again. Every year, this guy wanders in from the woods and saws the tips off skis. Some sort of protest or something.”After lunch, I went outside to where I left my skis. My heart sank as I noticed a handsaw sunk halfway through the tip of one of my brand new K2s. I absolutely panicked. Not only was I out the tools of my trade, but in those days, we depended on selling our skis at the end of the season to pay for our airplane ticket back to the states.While the blood rushed from my head, the rest of the instructors started snickering and rolling on the ground. Sensing something awry, I looked closely at my skis.The Kiwis had made a special hand saw that had a slot cut into its blade. This allowed them to slide the saw blade over the tips of some unsuspecting bimbo’s new K2s.Welcome to New Zealand!- Bob Gagne, VailThe boot that fitsEven though I had never taught skiing to Vince before, I could sense something was awry the first time I laid eyes on him. He had a unique gait and seemed unusually off balance when he walked. Tall and muscular, Vince appeared to be like any other beginning skier; at least until I took a careful look at his feet. On his right foot, he wore a size 10 boot. On his left foot he was sporting a size 13. Expecting to hear how he’d endured some life-long orthopedic affliction, Vince explained to me,”About three weeks ago, I slipped in the driveway and broke my left ankle. I had already booked our ski trip and the family was really looking forward to going skiing. So, I had the rental shop back home give me a big enough boot to go over my cast.”Will that be a problem?”- AnonymousVail, Colorado


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