By Ina Fassbender
When I was a child and winters were really powerful dropping one or two meters of snow, my four sisters and I used to spend every afternoon after school at the snow-covered cow meadow with our wooden, candle-waxed skis, wearing black leather ski boots with shoelaces. Parallel turn was an unknown expression and if our skis were not waxed well with candles, it was impossible to ski down the hill – one could only walk with them.
Years later when I had my first ski holidays in the Alps with modern ski gear, I did not miss my old equipment. I learned to downhill ski with elegant parallel turns and carve up the snow faster and faster. What progress!
Last Tuesday I went with my family for a day of alpine skiing at the Sauerland ski area complete with 20 lifts and the longest track of about 1200 meters. When I saw a placard announcing a ‘Nostalgic Ski Race’ in the neighboring village, I remembered my own experience with old wooden skis and asked the Berlin pictures desk for permission to go there and cover the event, expecting to get some nice winter features.
I arrived in Neuastenberg early on Sunday morning. There were so many Dutch people, that you could have an impression that Sauerland ski area was part of the Netherlands. I had a feeling I was in another country and should improve my spoken English.
I searched for the ‘Nostalgic Ski Race’, an event held there every two years since 1986, to find only modern ski schools, eight-person chair lifts, neon-colored skis and families sporting high tech ski suits. There was no nostalgia!