WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT SKIING
- for Tim Bodeen
The foot of dry powder that fell in the night
reminds the man on the chairlift
of snowmaking machines at Sun Valley.
They have it down, he says. Different formulas
for different hills. Another man,
on another day, likes my helmet's snake-like
pattern. He wears a GPS on his collar
that tracks his speed, and so far today,
so he says, he's topped out at 56 mph.
His language tells me he's American.
In Canada, the skimeister in the gondola
talks to his young class about his assigned
movie on risk. The nail that sticks out
in Japan gets pounded down, he says.
The boy he talks to listens to headphones.
We're sitting across from each other.
I put my Anarchy Goggles over my eyes.
Here we have to look at each other, my son says.
The man driving truck from the pipe line
says oil money puts his daughter on skis.
We're in a camper, crossing ice fields,
father and son, Living the risk for ten days,
night and day. Transforming the culture
of materialism in American alpine skiing
won't be easy. We share a century of time
and experience, Trans Canada Highway
with Neil Young and Spearhead. Once,
we took a second-class bus from the southern
tip of Mexico and headed North. Crossing
borders is what we talk about, doing it.
24 March 2010