Sam Bauman: If I can walk I can still ski happy



When I slipped into the senior ranks, I did so gradually, slowing down some things but keeping up others. I’ve written about the sport of skiing often in the past, obviously enjoying it. Recently some readers have asked me why I still enjoyed sliding down a snow-blanked hill. After all, they say, it’s dangerous.

Well, it certainly can be dangerous. I’ve broken a leg racing in a ski club event in Italy (and won a Fiat 500 in the process) and turned an ankle skiing with U.S. Special Forces in Germany and my back will never stop complaining about the many falls I have taken.

But when I look back at my skiing experiences I realize I got a lot out of the sport. I learned to ski while in the Air Force in Colorado on battered wooden skis and GI boots. And I kept it up after being sent to Japan as an intelligence officer (not an oxymoron, please). In Japan I skied just about every mountain there, including Mount Fuji (no lift, had to hike up). I spent many a night on the train for Shiga Kogen, Green Rando hut at Shiga and got to meet a lot of Japanese I would not have otherwise.

And it was fun, skiing down a road to the train station. I even went up to Hokkaido where the hot springs are common and the U.S. for years maintained a listening station, eavesdropping on the Soviet Union. I skied with some of those radio spooks.

I’m sure I skied most of the Japanese ski resorts and met a lot of people, including a Belgian diplomat who had spent WWII in a Japanese prison camp.

When I moved to Germany, I took my skis (and a fancy bar I had bought) with me. And in the 12 years I lived in Germany, Italy and France I skied many of the European resorts. I did much of this with the International Ski Journalists Club, an organization that spent a week skiing as guests in some European resort. I made many friends then, Russian as well as East Europeans. We talked politics in an atmosphere of free speech, despite the men in black overcoats who watched the Russians to avoid defections.

Back in America I’ve skied both coasts as well as the Midwest and Canada. And I’ve made more friends on the slopes than in bars.

So, why do I still ski? Well, I don’t do it as well as before, but I do make it a point to ski on my birthday (this year bad snow and my bad back precluded it, but wait till next year). But the pleasure is still there, the rush is still there and the beauty is all around me. The work of making smooth turns, the quick jerks to avoid another skier or boarder, the moment of air when I jump a mogul is still a thrill.

So why do I still ski? I guess to show that I can and maybe to convince other seniors that it’s worth doing.

Of course, the ski and riding resorts are closing early this season. Here at Tahoe we didn’t have a good season.

But wait until next season.

Senior voters can pull the lever

There are lots of voter blocs, but one that consistently goes to the polls is the senior one. We vote despite the politicians not really paying much attention to us. We hobble or shuffle to the polls happily.

Right now the Legislature has a bill before it that would require a photo ID to vote. One friend of mine thinks that’s just wonderful; all those illegals out there dying to vote. Not exactly the case.

Seems that Nevada has 5 cases of attempted voting fraud since 2008, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Not a lot of justification for the expensive law, which would probably ask the DMV to issue the photo IDs. A crime that doesn’t exist. It’s about the same level as the move by some to take back the 73 percent of Nevada land that the Feds control.

Seniors have a stake in both these measures. Speak up, for or against.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.


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