Long wooden shoes…


Contributing Editor
Walt Pickut

According to a popular online dictionary, the word “Ski” is defined as:

“Each of a pair of long narrow pieces of hard flexible material, typically pointed and turned up at the front, fastened under the feet for gliding over snow.”

That sounds like “long wooden shoes” to me. Except for the word “gliding.” I used to ski—I’ve even skied on the Lake Placid slopes, host to the 1980 XII Winter Olympic Winter Games—but that was a long time ago.

Today, gliding would probably mean, at least for me, “an inelegant method of making snow angels to the general amusement of other skiers.” But even that can be fun. Beyond that, though, there’s really almost nothing more beautiful and thrilling than gliding over freshly-fallen snow on a bracing winter day high up on a mountain top or deep in a forested winter wonderland.

The only thing more beautiful after a day on the slopes or gliding through the woods is warming yourself among friends at a crackling, après-ski fireside.

Generally speaking, then, I recognize three kinds of skiing:

  1. Downhill – fast, lithe, and powerful.
  2. Cross Country – gracefully athletic, slower-paced, through scenic countryside.
  3. Falling Down – The fun part of watching small children and brave adults learn how to glide along any way they can on long wooden shoes.

So, this week your Jamestown Gazette and the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy invite us all out into the scenic, snowy countryside of Chautauqua County for a Cross-Country Ski & Snowshoe Hike through the Cassadaga Creek Wetland Preserve.

This fun outing will offer skiers and snowshoers (short wooden shoers?) a very special, unique privilege rarely appreciated by skiers anywhere in the world—Enlightenment. Winter is not just another season; it is a celebration of our world.

This winter’s new-fallen snow will become next spring’s fresh, clear streams, next year’s pure, clear springs, and all of our future’s crystal clean water—if we appreciate and protect that land where the winter’s deepest snow falls.

That’s why the CWC is inviting us all to join in and just have some fun where the planet’s most valuable, life-giving resource begins its long trek into our lives.

Join that trek on your own long (or short) wooden shoes. Austrian-born, Canadian creator of heliskiing, Hans Gmoser, says, “A person should have wings to carry them where their dreams go, but sometimes a pair of skis makes a good substitute.”

Join CWC and have a fun—and enlightening—day in the snow. And, of course, as always, enjoy the read right here with your very own copy of the Jamestown Gazette.

Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.