The allure of skiing

A woman in a man’s sport – where the ratio for the norm is 5 to one, I have always been challenged by men who finesse the turn and make it art – – I remember watching in my young 20’s these very tall, strong boys (men) work the hill, ski the trees like the trees weren’t even there, run after run. I skied about 200 days a year from 1987 to 1995, working to ski anything, anytime.

Telemark skiing was the pinnacle of moving the talent and strength to an art of the turn, carving and working and adventures in the woods on the backside of Killington. “If these trees could talk” we used to say… How long could I keep up… I remember at Mountain Top in the hot tub with a bunch of telemarkers, trying to fit in, girls with long braids, patchulli, patagonia jackets, wool hats, “crunchy” laid back extremely fit (and quite often stoned) people. Those moonlit ski nights hiking and skiing and sitting around the open fire. Top notch female tele skier friends like Kathy, Annie, Deb and others were always welcoming and I was amazed following in their tracks.

The moguls have always been my favorite challenge, both in bringing down an injured person top to bottom on Outer Limits,(taking off layer by layer when sweating, tossing each piece of clothing in the sled), to skiing it up, counting how many times in a row with my buddies, clicking my poles to indicate I am in the line and turning … the pony tail bopping, remembering the heat of the workout on that hill. Chuck, Bobby, Donna, Joy – my Pasta Pot friends, Frankie and his brother. I remember the day – actually have a photo to post here from the first Bear Mountain Mogul Challenge I competed in – up in the air (you can see the fear in my eyes…. not knowing if i actually will land it). The second year making the top 16 was the top of my game in moguls, although I think I ski them with much more finesse and control now almost 15 years later.

I was one of 4 women on the patrol back in 1988 never more than 5 in one year – Some of the amazing women in my ten years were Ellie, Heidi, Karen, Liz, Helen, Kristina, Betsy and Kris I remember as friends. It was an interesting trip. I waited tables at night, and patrolled all day. Living in rentals, whatever was the cheapest at the time, resorting at times to sleeping on a couch or spare room to make it all work. After a day on the hill and working at night I loved to dance, would go with friends across the street from Charity’s to the Wobbly and dance the night away (I would only have one or two drinks, knowing that I couldn’t keep it up the next day on more than that – and one time actually gave it up for 6-8 mths.) I loved to dance… some poor unsuspecting guy would dance with me and then when he was tired I would just pick another… much to “his” chagrin. It was a crazy game back then. How hard can you ski during the day and how good of a workout dancing can you get at night? My ski “bum” years lasted 6 fulltime and 4 half time years, when I finally got a job with the American Red Cross, because I couldn’t live without benefits… Yes, crazy, living 10 years with no health benefits, can’t imagine that now.

The allure, the cold, the snow, the clothes, the air, the people, the steeps, the trees, the fun – – can’t imagine my life without it.

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Nancy Cook 2021

About Nancy

Nancy Peck Cook is a trainer and speaker who has presented in front of large and small audiences for the past 25 years.  Her work as an executive and volunteer trainer for the American Cancer Society during the growth of the signature activity Relay For Life trained professionals to be more confident and successful in their roles. 

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