10 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 11, 1996
Skkg As not easy, especidly for a beginner
TOWE, Vt. - A person afraid of
heights has no business on top of a
4,000-foot mountain. Yet that's where I
found myself last weekend - with a set of skis
attached to my feet.
I've never really been an enthusiast of winter
sports even though the state of Michigan has
been home for all 21 years of my life. I never
really learned how to ice skate and I certainly
never learned how to ski.
Sleds and toboggans were the only form of
slope travel I knew as a youngster. Even then it
was spooky to look down that hill and see how
far down it was, and then imagine how fast I
was about to streak down it.
Skiing is a sport that involves great heights
and fast speeds, so it was
key to get over those
phobias, really fast.
Last Thursday a group of4
about 90 of us departed for
the Green Mountains of
Vermont for three days of
Luckily for me, there
were plenty of other ANTOINE
beginners along for the ride
- I would have plenty of PitS
company falling all over Stos
the slopes for the weekend. Stp_
The first day gave me
plenty of bumps and bruises to remember. The
key here is that you don't go anywhere near a
ski lift until you know how to stop yourself and
you know how to turn.
In the beginning I found the only way to stop
was to bail out and fall before I got going too
fast. I finally got comfortable on the skis and
learned how to form the wedge that would help
me maintain control.
Once I was set with that, it was off to the ski
lift. I found the lifts to be quite enjoyable,
except for the fact that it was bone-chillingly
cold up there.
The locals were raving about all of the great
snow they've received this season. There was a
lot of snow on the ground and it looked just
The only problem was that the weekend we
were there, Stowe experienced some of its
coldest temperatures of the season. The mercury
hovered near zero degrees Fahrenheit.
The windchill factor at the summit reached
almost 70 degrees below zero - at times
prompting the lifts to be closed.
Exiting the lift was the next challenge for me.
It's not as easy as it seems, but I did manage to
accomplish it just about every time. We had a
member in our party who was not quite as lucky
- she fell at the end of every lift her first two
days on the slopes. To her credit, though, she
was able to conquer those lifts by the third day.
I "spent the rest of my first day on the very,
very easy slopes, taking things as cautiously as I
could. I was really starting to enjoy it. Every
once in a while I'd lose control and fall, bring-
ing myself back down to Earth.
One of the other obvious keys is to stay warm.
With the conditions so blustery, numerous layers
were required. To me the most important thing
to keep warm is your feet. Your blood flow will
generally keep the important parts of your body
warm, at the expense of your extremities.
It's important to have the right kind of socks
on. The wrong kind or too many layers of socks
could restrict the circulation and make your feet
Luckily, my feet were never cold for the entire
trip. Your hands and your face can always be
warmed with your breath, but once those feet get
cold, you're finished.
To finish out Day One, we took a lift up to
near the top of Mt. Mansfield, some 4,000 feet
high. From there we would ski the 4 1/2 mile-
long beginner trail known as "Toll Road" to
complete our day. By the time I got off that
mountain, it was quite a toll that I paid.
I kept falling this way and that way and it was
obvious that this was a trail that I was not ready
It was getting dark and by now the ski patrol
was coming up behind us, making sure that
everyone was off the mountain.
It was taking sp long that finally I got off of
my skis and proceeded to walk down the slope.
Eventually, a snowmobile was brought up to
give me a ride down. I was really humiliated.
Normally when people embark on a mountain-
ous journey wearing skis, they expect to reach,
the bottom still wearing those skis - not on the
back of a snowmobile.
Another member of our party found herself
being towed down by one of the ski patrol men.
Not a happy ending to Day One of Ski Odyssey
We sucked it up though, and were ready and
raring to go the next morning. Before leaving
we looked at each other and said, "I can't
believe we're going to do this again."
But we had lots of fun. And yes, we went
back up on that same mountain and came down
on our skis this time. Success!
I tried to take it easy, but every once in a
while I took a fall. Luckily, I escaped the trip
without any broken bones or torn muscles,
although there were a lot of close calls over
those three days.
It was a wonderful experience to finally hit
the slopes. I've heard friends talk about it for
years, and it was all that they billed it to be. I'll
definitely be back out skiing some time this 4
For those of you out there with an itching to
get into skiing, Discover Michigan Skiing is
offering a great deal for beginners. Included is a
90-minute lesson, a rental, and passes for the
beginner runs, all for $25.
The program is available for most of the ski
venues in the state, but the rate is only available
for beginners. Call (810) 625-0070 for more
Hopefully, the ski patrol won't have to cart
you off the slope on a snowmobile!
- Antoine Pitts has a World Wide Web page at
Rumors of trade surround Charles Barkley
Suns' general manager denies any trade allegations; Barkley attests to other inquirief
PHOENIX (AP)-Charles Barkley
said he doesn't know if the Phoenix
Suns are talking about a trade - and
he doesn't really care.
"The last time I checked, I had $20
million - and that was before the
new McDonald's deal. I thought about
cashing in my Nike stock, too, but it
split so I'm going to hang onto it," the
Suns forward said.
Rumors on Los Angeles radio sta-
tions had the Suns and Clippers dis-
cussing a deal that would send Barkley
to Los Angeles in exchange for prom-
ising Brent Barry.
Suns general manager Bryan
Colangelo denied any pending trade
"There's nothing going on with
Charles," he said.
Barkley dismissed the notion ofbe-
ing traded to a noncontender like the
Clippers, who beat the Suns for the
third consecutive time this season
Barkley did not play after surgery
to remove a toenail.
"If I get traded, I'm going to a team
that's got a chance to win a champion-
ship," Barkley said Tuesday. "I like
Phoenix. I enjoy playing here, but I'm
not going to go to a bad team and play."
Barkley said he knows "personally"
that several teams have called the
Suns to inquire about making a deal
for him. He believes those teams in-
clude the New York Knicks.
"That's what I hear. I take that as a
compliment that other teams are inter-
Barkley's comments apparently an-
gered Suns president Jerry Colangelo.
"I don't want to be in the position of
responding to what the hell he has to
say," Colangelo said. "He should be
worrying about getting healthy. Ev-
eryone should get healthy, start play-
ing and doing their jobs."
Barkley has two more years on his
Suns contract after this season.
The Suns traded for Barkley before
the 1992-93 season. He led the team to
62 victories - a franchise record -
and into the finals of the NBA playoffs.
"I'm still the only guy in the world
who can be averaging 25 points and
11 rebounds," Barkley said. "People
may call it selfishness or whatever,
but I'm going to do what's best foi
me. That's just how I am."
Continued from Page 9
Stern addressed questions on mi-
nority employment, Dallas Cowboys
owner Jerry Jones and the recent trend
of top players foregoing two, three or
even all four years of college to enter
the pro ranks.
On the issue of minority employ-
ment, Stern stated that approximately
one-third of the employees in NBA
offices were African American. How-
ever, he expanded on his comments
by saying that his offices would not
hire people to meet any sort of quota.
"Hire the best person as long as you
are open to a diverse group," Stern said.
According to a Northeastern Uni-
versity study, the NBA earns an A or
an A- in minority employment year
He showed a good amount of disdain
for Jones and his efforts to have en-
dorsement interest separate from the
NFL, stating that it was wrong for a
team to do whatever it wanted simply
because it is on top at a given moment.
Stern stated that anybody who
would try to go off on their own in
such a manner is "misperceiving what
we are trying to do."
His stance on players leaving col-
lege early to turn pro was pe s
disappointing to NCAA purists. e
he agrees that a player should stay in
school to improve his skills he also
feels that the final decision, morally
and legally, must be left up to each
"We must let players into the league.
I do feel strongly that people should
do what they want to do."
Stern graduated from Rutgers Uni-
versity and received his law de
from Columbia. He became anm-
ber of the NBA general counsel ir
1978 and was named executive vic
president in 1980.
The commissioner played to th<
crowd by showing a brief clip of Chri
Webber on "The Late Show witi
David Letterman." Stern was als
dressed in a manner that would mak
any Michigan student proud.
"I wore a blue shirt with a yellv
tie. And that's from a Rutgers g
Michigan Student Assembly repre
sentatives from the Business Schoo
presented Stern with the award.
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