Wednesday, July 12, 2006
This is the stupidest thing I've ever seen in my life.
For a while now I've been vaguely aware that the Fédération Internationale de Ski governs "grass skiing" as an official discipline — in fact, on the FIS website you can view grass skiing race schedules, results, competitor biographies, and official rules (even though nary a mention is to be found there of disabled alpine or cross-country skiing, both of which are administered jointly by the FIS and the IPC and which have hundreds of competitors and THEIR OWN FREAKING WORLD CUP CIRCUITS). (Not that I'm bitter.)
Nevertheless, until today I had never really investigated this "sport" or fully grasped how truly asinine it is. If you want to learn more about grass skiing history or technique, the place to start seems to be this website, the online home of Grass-Ski France. (Why doesn't it surprise me to learn that the French are really into something this dumb?) From that site I learned that the only place to go grass skiing in the United States is apparently Bryce Resort in Virginia, where its introduction is the brainchild of one Horst Locher, a German-American who says of the "sport": "It's kind of my baby... I still dream that it will grow big."
Keep dreaming, Horst. Keep dreaming. I can think of no better way to bastardize my favorite sport than by removing the essential ingredient: snow. Why not try swimming without water or playing baseball without a ball? Those might be fun, too. I bet grass skiing involves way too much friction, a much greater potential for injury, and a lot of overheating due to wearing too much protective gear in the hot sun, with a dose of hay fever thrown in for good measure.
But OK, I can hear you critics out there already: "How can you knock it if you haven't tried it, Carl?" This may or may not be a valid point. So here's what I'm proposing: if anyone reading this can find me a place to stay within one hour of Bryce Resort and arrange with the mountain's management for visiting U.S. Disabled Ski Team dignitaries or potential disabled grass-skiing pioneers to receive grass-ski rentals and lift tickets free of charge, I will be on the next plane to Appalachia. Because to tell you the truth, I'm kind of curious.