The Art of Skiing

The other day, I was watching some vintage Goofy cartoons with Rosebud. One of the cartoons we watched was The Art of Skiing, released in 1941. It’s a classic!

I laughed when in the beginning, you see a book titled The Art of Skiing and then underneath, it’s written: “pronounced SHEEing”. You see, in German, that is in fact how you pronounce Ski (originally, German never had an “sk” sound; the word ski likely came from Norwegian which does have the “sk” sound). Although this cartoon doesn’t necessarily take place in the Alps, I liked all the allusions to this part of the world: the yodeling, the Almglocken (alpine bells), some of the background music and also the alpine-looking mountains.

When I was growing up in upstate New York, I took some alpine (downhill) skiing classes and went skiing at a few ski resorts south of us (Swain, Bristol Mountain, also Cockaigne in the western part of New York State) and also in the Adirondacks once or twice. But I’ll be perfectly honest: although I had fun downhill skiing, I wasn’t ever very good and I’m actually a bit frightened of downhill skiing.

I absolutely adore cross-country skiing, however. Not only is it fantastic exercise as it’s both aerobic and great for all your muscle groups, I always feel so at peace when I’m cross-country skiing. It’s kind of too bad that I’m a stay-at-home-mom while we are living here in Bavaria, because there are lots of cross-country skiing trails around our house. My cousin tells me she went cross-country skiing with her twins when they were babies, but so far I haven’t had the courage to go out on skiis with Rosebud on my back, and now Superdude. I have thought about getting some toddler cross-country skis for Rosebud, because I think she would really enjoy doing a little skiing, but then I never get any further than thinking about it. Maybe that’s something for next year, if I can find toddler skis like that here (I’m sure I can, I just have to look!).

But back to the alpine skiing. Within half an hour of our house, we could go downhill skiing at Blombergbahn or at Lenggries, and of course, one of the most famous skiing areas in Germany is in Garmisch, which is also pretty close to us. In fact, you may have heard that the recent Skiing World Championship 2011 was held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. I listened to some of it on the radio here. I didn’t watch it on the tv here at home, because our television isn’t actually connected to the German network. When I was visiting my neighbors next door one afternoon during the WM (Weltmeisterschaft, or World Championship), I enjoyed watching the Skispringen – the ski jumping with them. The first time I really thought about ski jumping was in 1988, when the Brit Eddie the Eagle competed in the Calgary Olympics.

Watching the above Goofy cartoon also made me think of a former student of mine, who is a fabulously talented competitive skiier, so here’s a little shout-out to her (she knows who she is – she’s amazing in all respects!). She could teach Goofy a thing or two!

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