Who Introduced You to Skiing? My Family's Story

Posted by Mary on September 7, 2011

Do you and your family LOVE Snowsports? Maybe it’s time to share that love and help others make memories!

12-year-old-mary_0001 (12-year-old-mary_0001)
Here I am holding a photo of myself skiing at Boyne Highlands in February of 1972.

Of course you love Snowsports or you most likely wouldn’t be reading this. How long have you been participating in skiing or snowboarding and who got you started? Have you thanked that person or family lately?

When I was about 10 years old, the Tinkey family, friends of my parents in Indiana, invited my family to join them for a ski trip to Canonsburg Ski Area in Michigan. At that point in my life I don’t believe I had ever heard of skiing and I certainly never would have imagined this trip would change my life.

Mrs. Tinkey and their skiing kids had their own gear, and were out on the snow in minutes. I remember Mr. Tinkey taking the time to assist all of us (2 adults and 4 children) as we went through the process of finding the rental shop, filling out forms, trying on gear, and lacing up both pairs of laces in those old firm leather boots.

Next was dressing each of us, walking up the stairs and out the lodge doors like Frankenstein in our boots and onto the snow. All the while I was watching my parents and Mr. Tinkey schlepping all of our skis out to the snow, which seemed a football field away. It was exhausting trying to get the boots into the binding, pulling and pushing down that old “bear trap” sort of binding.

Next was the lesson, and this part I would NOT recommend, but dear Mr. Tinkey taught us all how to make a “snowplow”. We were off and skiing, well sort of. Luckily we all made it through the day, a bit sore and exhausted, but we laughed and shared stories over dinner that night at our condo. We all agree, it was great fun learning a new sport and having a reason to go outdoors in the Midwest in January.

My mother, being a petite woman with a banking career, fretted a bit too much about a broken leg, she decided that she would stick with golf as her sport. She became the eternal hot cocoa provider during our yearly ski trip. She would happily sit and cross stitch in the lodge until she spotted one of us heading in to warm up. She somehow would have a cup of hot cocoa and a snack in our hands before we could get our hats off and sit down.

I still smile when reminiscing about our yearly trips, and when we hire an instructor from Canonsburg, Swiss Valley, or Boyne, all Michigan resorts I visited at some time, I can’t help but share my special memories of skiing there. It most often brings laughter and more stories from their memories.

In this world of convenience, even with all the upgrades in gear that technology has thankfully brought us, taking a family to experience a Snowsports vacation for the first time can be challenging and a bit daunting to say the least. I invite all of you to share your passion and knowledge of Snowsports with others. Introduce someone this year to an activity that you love. It is worth the effort put forth. I assure you that the Tinkey family made memories themselves, and I will be forever in debt to them for introducing me to a way of life I have fully embraced.


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Comment posted by Tristanski on September 22, 2011 9:34 AM MDT

My grandfather skied with Alf and Svere Engen. He jumped in the 1939 nationals at Ecker Hill in Park City. And he served as a ski instructor at Gunstock, New Hampshire. He taught my mom - and she taught me. Every time I ski, I wonder how in the world I got so lucky!

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