Just remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

XC Skiing

My first time cross country skiing was ugly.

Oh, it’s funny now, but being terrorized by klister at such a young age left psychological scars I’m still getting over.

My buddies and I wanted to learn how to cross country ski, and there was fresh snow in the San Gabriels, so we stopped off at a mountain store in Northridge to rent some skis. Since this was before the days of waxless skis, the shop owner kindly sold us a spray can of blue klister. A spray can.

Looking back on it, I realized he probably never skied a day in his life.

For those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of getting klister on your hands — and your pants, and your shirt, and your hair, and your keys, and your steering wheel, and your seat belt, and your radio, and your pets, and your boots, and your ski poles, and ALL of the doorknobs in your house, and on and on and on — let me say it’s one of the stickiest substances on the planet. Maybe the galaxy.

Let me also explain that klister is intended for OLD, granular, crystallized snow, not the sharp, pointy stuff that makes up fresh snow. Using klister on new snow is simply asking for some serious trouble.

Back to our heroes on their first ski trip with the infamous can of aerosol klister. The foam applicator on this can caused purple foam to come flooding out like Kool Whip. You learn quickly that unlike Kool Whip, klister goes on but doesn’t come off.

So we spray a healthy dose of klister on THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF OUR SKIS! Hey, we didn’t know. No one told us it was supposed to go on only under the center of the ski. But then, no one told us blue klister is the devil’s grape jelly either.

So we go skiing. We made it about 20′ from the car before we had a foot of snow sticking to the bottoms of our skis. You end up walking with long skinny clown shoes, not skiing, and with that much snow built up on the skis, you don’t get far. At the time, it was not funny. Now it’s hilarious.

In the years since I’ve made peace with klister, to the point I’m actually okay with it on my hands (I’ve learned that citrus degreaser is the secret to taming this animal.) I still wax and I’ve gotten quite good at it, but after 30 years I better be.

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