Here are some photos taken by my father from 1961 when my parents went to the annual ski jumping event in Salisbury (in the northwest corner of Connecticut), held in February.
The ski jumping continues today although the old, wooden ski jump was recently replaced by a shiny new metal one. And the wool sweaters and leather gloves have been replaced by "performance" materials, inevitably visually dramatic. Snow making machines often enough replace Mother Nature. And even skiing goggles will increasingly be augmented with heads up displays for the skiers showing altitude, wind-conditions, ranking, Twitter feeds, and what nearby restaurants still have open tables.
So yes, Plutarch's Ship of Theseus comes to mind. If you have replaced the handle of your grandfather's axe twice, and its head four times, is it still your grandfather's axe?
Many people have fond memories of downhill skiing. The week between Christmas and the start of the new year has traditionally been reserved for many families' pilgrimages
Both my husband and I grew up downhill skiing. His family spent day trips going to the little hills dotted with glove-shredding rope tows. They belonged to a local ski club that had a lodge in New Hampshire, and many cold Friday nights he spent en route to destinations north. They also went once or twice a year on ski trips to real mountains with real snow, including in Colorado and Switzerland.
My skiing experience was limited to the lifts that were near my schools and college. I spent my time on the ones that were (and are), as my friend Joe Lotuff recently described to me, "classic, woolly, old school, New England ski areas".
Skiing is a relatively new sport. But to some it has inverted from a meditative place to get away from the crazy of the rest of life to a breeding ground for a whole new kind of crazy.
These thoughts crossed my mind as a I looked through these pictures. And, of course, I also thought, "what fabulous sweaters."
(See also Reggie Darling's Nordic sweater post here.)