Ski and the City

In New York, it’s a big deal to have a tree outside your window; such is the case at my daughter Eliza’s apartment. When I went to sleep Wednesday night to predictions of a winter storm, I purposely left the curtain open, and when I pushed up my eye mask in the morning, the tree’s web of branches were lined with snow.

I thought, Thank goodness I ignored Eliza’s suggestion that I was crazy to shlep my cross country skis from D.C, which turned out to be easy peasy on Amtrak.

I dressed quickly and headed out to glide to my daughter Emily’s preschool class in Tribeca, where I planned to spend the morning.


Snow is one of my favorite things and so are friendly exchanges with strangers. As I headed out, Eliza’s neighbor, whom I’d never met, held open the door for my skis and me with one hand and high-fived me with the other.

Amid a constellation of clumpy flakes, I poled down the block. It was almost embarrassing to make eye contact, because nearly everybody was smiling at me. I felt like I was in a Grandma Moses painting, never expecting to be the only one enjoying this winter wonderland on skis.

A man in a red suit, who was shoveling a path, said, “The Olympics?”

“On my way to Sochi,” I told him.







Of course, as you can see, my route had nothing in common with Sochi. Here is what I have learned from forty years of city skiing . . .

~You don’t have to take off your skis to cross streets that are plowed with snow and dotted with salt; you just waddle across, ducklike:

~You can ski on sidewalks with as little as a slim coating of slush:


~If you worry about scratching the bottoms of your skis, you’ll miss out on the fun of skiing every time there is a modicum of snow. My waxless skis have traveled hundreds of miles on city sidewalks over the past 15 years and they feel no different to me from when they were new. After all, if you don’t play with your toys for fear of scratching them, what’s the point? If necessary, you can always remove your skis to, say, climb a fence:








~It helps to have a jacket with big pockets:

~Not everyone has as much attraction to strangers as I do, but if you do, with skis in the city and a camera, you have a great excuse:








~Some strangers are more interactive than others:

~If you see a cluster of 50 umbrellas in Central Park, you can bet they are less likely to belong to New Yorkers (who scoff at umbrellas in the snow) than to a dance club from a high school in Texas:







~And when you get tired, alternative transportation is never far:









Let me know about your experiences of getting around on skis; otherwise, let me know if I have convinced you of the merits.


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