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Turning back time

Notes from the North Woods

A rusty bullwheel from an old T-Bar at Otis Mountain is slowly being lost to an ever encroaching forest.

A rusty bullwheel from an old T-Bar at Otis Mountain is slowly being lost to an ever encroaching forest.

Fortunately, like those memories, my enthusiasm for such youthful adventures remains intact. As I made my way through the silent woods, I was able to recapture some of the laughter and freedom of those days.

They certainly were simpler times, when parents would drop off their children in the early morning, and return to pick them up at dark, without a care or concern.

It was a time when freestyle skiing was known as ‘hot-dogging,’ and a 360 was called a ‘helicopter.’

Moguls weren’t yet named, they were just bumps, and skis didn’t have brakes. Skis were attached to the boots by leather safety straps.

You could break a leg if you fell, but you’d never loose a ski. We’d often tape old, Life magazines to our legs to stuff into the back of our low top, leather boots, so we could sit back while hot-dogging down the hill.

Tim Drummond, a local kid, was one of the best skiers on the hill and it was always a thrill to see what spin or flip or stunt he would come up with next.

He was a very talented athlete, and it’s fortunate there were no snowboards around at the time, ‘cause some of us probably wouldn’t be around today.

I traversed to the top of the big hill and climbed higher. By the time I finally reached the bullwheel at the top of the old, T-Bar hill, I was a youngster again, and that old, daredevil spirit was back.

After a few quick photos, I skied off and dropped into a tuck heading down a small chute through the woods.

Quickly, I gained speed and my skis were chattering on the crusted snow as I flew down the hill.

I was moving pretty fast when I decided to cut off on a short, steep connector trail which would take me back to the small hill.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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