“When I was a boy, we made skis out of barrel staves. We didn’t know we were supposed to use poles,” George Remington recounted.
George, my grandfather, grew up on Racquette Lake, where his parents were caretakers for a great camp. Some historians posit that Racquette Lake got its name because a retreating Tory brigade abandoned their snowshoes (“racquette” in French) on their flight to Canada during the Revolution. It’s a paradox that Grandpa was figuring out skis in a place named for a huge pile of abandoned snowshoes.
My grandfather would have been on skis in the early 1920s, about the same time that the first ski races were held in Lake Placid. Originally a summer resort, the town began promoting winter sports around 1905. One account suggests that winter vacationers back then had to be taught how to have fun on the snow.