Tag Archives: memories

For love of cross country skiing

Of all the things my parents gave me, one of the things I most appreciate is the love of x-country skiing.  When I tell people I grew up in Vermont, I’m often asked if I ski.  I have to give a qualified yes by saying only x-country, as some time in High School I gave up downhill because of the cost, which meant that none of my friends were doing it either.

I have no real recollection of my first time on skies, so I couldn’t tell you how long I’ve been on skies.  I have an early memory of skiing at the Granville elementary school as part of a day of winter sports.  By that point I was comfortable snow plowing down hills, so I must have been on skies for a while before then.  While many other activities with my parents went to the way side, skiing is one that I’m typically chomping at the bit for, and I’m always looking for a snow report when I call and talk.  Some of my favorite childhood memories involve neighborhood ski parties, were a pack of 20 or so family friends would trek through the mountains, taking turns breaking trail along the way.  The parties have since passed, but we still typically get out with my parents when we visit Vermont.  Our mid winter trip is timed to give us the best chance at getting some good skiing in.

There is something magical about gliding through the quiet woods after a storm.  Once you get into a fluid motion, with a consistent glide, you almost feel like you are flying.  Susan knows that a good snow fall down here in New York means we’re getting up early the next day to take advantage of the snow before the Sun does it’s damage.  Our 2.5 hour outing to Fahnestock Winter Park yesterday, under really excellent conditions, may be one of my favorite memories of the winter.  That we got out skiing in December here in New York gives us pretty good odds of having at least one more ski day this year.

Here’s to hoping that 2011 brings us plenty more snow in the North East so even more skiing will be in our future.

Passing of Gygax

I remember very vividly being introduced to D&D at the age of 12.  A friend of mine from junior high, Travis Dudley, had all five 1st edition boxed sets.  Our first coupld of days with them were mostly creating level 55 characters and fighting Dragons.  Not high art, but incredibly fun.

A year later 2nd Edition came out, and we started being interested in things besides just battles with dragons.  I remember getting issues of Dungeon Magazine, and DMing adventures out of there.  D&D lead off into other RPGs, like the teenage mutant ninja turtles universe, shadow runner, cyberpunk, and a range of table top games.  It even lead to my friend Chris and I writing our own table top game (85 page rule book), that had 3 generations of game play mechanics at the age of 15.  Yes, at 15 we spent our spare hours writing an 85 page rule book, printing out drafts on my dot matrix printer (which took about 3 hrs), and doing play testing and editing.

But it all started with cracking open Gygax’s D&D and a realization: with a few well crafted rules your imagination can take you to places you never imagined.

RIP Gary.