Biding Time With Classic Books, Incidents And Accidents Editorial, Question For You, Mystery Racer, Nordic Walking, Transition To Cycling.

Like you, we are grounded. Yard work, walking, Zoom with old friends, carefully going to the Post Office, watching Netflix, reading, practicing new music, all the activities you are probably doing.

One rainy afternoon found us sorting through the books at the bottom of one of our many book shelves. Among old titles (Moulton “Monk” H. Farnham’s Sailing For Beginners [1967] and James F. Fixx’s Complete Book Of Running[1977]), we found two classics. Skiing With Pfeiffer (1958) was an early instruction book by the venerable Doug Pfeiffer, a natural teacher whose careful and precise dissection of turns and techniques and easy writing style set the standard for all that would follow. Doug gave me a copy of his book back in 1971 when I was at SKIING magazine, and he was the Editor-In-Chief.  His inscription: “A collector’s item for Mike Maginn. Doug Pfeiffer.” That item is still in the collection, Doug.

Here’s the front cover.

And the back cover. Note the comments from “Pleasure-Loving Weekend Skiers”.

Perhaps the greatest adventure we had at SKIING back in those days was participating in the Great Washington’s Birthday Cross-Country Ski Race in Putney, VT. This race was modeled after the people’s races in Scandinavian countries, not quite the Vasaloppet, but still a large group of both racers and fun skiers all dashing across snow-covered farm fields and into the woods.  We looked forward to participating along with Associate Editor John Henry Auran and some other staff members. The problem was I had never cross-country skied.  In fact, I had never heard of it. After all, XC was the “newest” sport in the snow world and a little esoteric.

So, Executive Editor Al Greenberg gave me a lesson in his office, showing me how to shuffle, “like you’re wearing bedroom slippers”, and how to swing arms.  Then, I bought the book below by Johnny Caldwell, Olympic skier and coach, at the Scandinavian Ski Shop on East 57th Street when I picked up my wooden skis, wax kit, and kangaroo skin boots.  It is truly a classic. Note the back cover comment about how the Cross Country “contagion is spreading”.  Not a great metaphor these days.

Do you still have classics like these sleeping on your library shelves? If you do, tell us about them. What surprises can you find between those covers? Why are you keeping them?  Let us know in the Reply box below. We’d like to know.

This Week

Correspondent Jan Brunvand captured an incident in action. is publishing an editorial calling for action from the ski industry and resort management to address the conditions that our readers have reported all season long in our Incidents And Accidents series. We plan to promote the action item called for in the editorial and get some discussion going in industry circles. Please let us know what you think about our approach.

We are continuing our Question For You series, this time asking what changes you would like to see in the Responsibility Code that might help mitigate some of the issues readers have reported in our Incidents And Accidents series. Our readers input was instrumental in framing the problem of out-of-control skiers/boarders. Now, you can help us develop at least part of a solution.

Correspondent Pat McCloskey offers his advice for transitioning to cycling. His comments make sense, especially for those who haven’t been cycling for a while.

Add Nordic walking to your virus-beating activities to stay in shape.

XCSkiResorts publisher Roger Lohr gives tips on how to do Nordic walking, basically walking with poles that reportedly burns a lot more calories than regular walking. There are right and wrong ways to do this; watch the short video in his story to learn the technique.

Finally, our Mystery Glimpse picture from Tread Of Pioneers Museum is a racer who was in a movie. Check it out here. Last week’s picture from the Journal of the New England Ski Museum was Pete Seibert in the years just before he started thinking about where to build a resort in the Vail Pass. There’s a short video included about Pete’s famous hike into Vail’s back country where he first spotted the landscape that would become the resort.

Thanks to our Skiing Weatherman Herb Stevens who as supplied interesting, informative, and instructional weekly snow forecasts all season long. We appreciate his professional approach and look forward to seeing his column again next season.

Thank you, dear readers, for reading Please take care of yourself and be diligent about following CDC guidelines. And remember, there are more of us every day, and we aren’t going away.

Remember those blue bird days.



  1. Lee Hall Delfausse says:

    To add to your treasure trove of classics, I enjoy rereading John Fry’s , a true historian of the sport, America’s Ski Book, first written in 1956 and reprinted with additions up to 1966.

    Personally, I have been blessed to have participated in the sport since 1948 when my parents first introduced me to hiking with skins on the classic trails of Wildcat, Sherbourne and Taft.

    These early lessons led me into the racing world, to Mammoth Mt with Dave McCoy, to the first World Cup races in Europe and now to being an author of the skiing novel “Snow Sanctuary.”

    I use John Fry’s book as a reference as well as for nostalgia.

    I highly recommend adding this book to your collection.

    Thanks for the prompt, Lee

  2. I know these aren’t yet classics, but I enjoyed reading Chris Diamond’s Ski Inc. 2020, and rereading his first book, Ski, Inc. In reading the latter, I was reminded that he discusses the adoption of the skier’s responsibility code by the NSAA in the early 1960’s in response to reckless downhill skiers (snowboards had yet to be invented), the hazards of downhill skiing at the time due to equipment and conditions, and that snowboarding may have rescued ski areas at a time when skiers were in decline. I appreciate the concerns of readers regarding safety on the slopes, but don’t agree that it is all snowboarders fault (and I am not a boarder). Each of us also has a responsibility when skiing – not unlike “defensive driving” when behind the wheel going to/from our favorite ski area. Stay safe all, wash those hands, and don’t touch your face. We all may be a year older next year when we ski, but I think it will be all the more memorable.

  3. Dean Halver says:

    Please if you send the email to me you know that I am a member. It’s very annoying that after starting to read the next thing that comes up is to sign in with name , email address and password to verify I’m a member. Please correct this problem. VERY ANNOYING!

    • Michael Maginn says:

      The solution is to turn on Cookies on your browser on every device you use to access

  4. Dean Halver says:

    The above comment should have been sent to Hopefully someone takes and acts on this comment.

  5. Cathy Meyer says:

    I have a lot of ski books. Two
    of the oldest are “When We Ski” by Charles M. Dudley published in 1937 and “Modern Ski Systems” by Hans Georg, 1954. Great illustrations and descriptions of the maneuvers.

  6. Cathy Meyer says:

    I have a lot of ski books. Two
    of the oldest are “When We Ski” by Charles M. Dudley published in 1937 and “Modern Ski Systems” by Hans Georg, 1954. Great illustrations and descriptions of the maneuvers.

  7. Rich Spritz says:

    I just finished reading Roget’s “Ski-Runs in the High Alps”, from 1913. He accomplished many major first-descents, as well as the first ski tour of the Haute Route. Very impressive!

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