Sunday, January 15, 2006


Skiing and I, we go back a long way. I was on wooden boards before I could say a single word in English.

But it hasn’t happened here, in Madison. I hardly ski. In fact, that’s too generous a statement. Basically I do not ski except in the most extraordinary of circumstances.

There are many reasons for it and I intend to explore hardly any of them. I will say this: when I moved to Wisconsin I’d have this conversation about skiing and I'd get all animated and I would shout with great exuberance “yes! yes! I do ski!” only to find out that the person was talking about cross country.

People who downhill don’t get people who crosscountry.

I mean, what’s the thrill? You want to walk through the woods, just walk through the woods. Why do you need boards and poles?

Still, I am loath to knock in any significant way this weekend’s extravaganza, geared to make Madison, yet again, the capital of year-round-fun: the “ski around the Square” event that took place yesterday and today.

Problem is: no snow. We are experiencing a January with weird weather.

But hey, I am in Madison, a city teeming with Scandinavian uff-da or uff–ya or some such thing, and so suddenly, there appear truckloads of snow piled all around the Capitol, so that anyone can clip on the boards and ski.

I myself did not.

I was plenty impressed with the people who went around and around and braved the dirty slushy snow, but somehow I failed to see the point. Then again, it could be that I’m suffering from my usual cross-country inertia and apathy, failing to see the glamour of swishing up and down a trampled, snow-laden path.

Plus I had a bunch of exams to finish grading. A nearby café with unlimited strong stuff of the caffeinated nature, served up until 1 am seemed like a much sounder idea.

Jan 06 250
green grass, gray snow...

Jan 06 251
...and a strong brew