Talk of the Tahn: The Gift I Was Given

My brother taught me how to ski on rented metal sticks. Boyce Park. It was the first thing we ever did together besides fight over the last slice of pizza.




photo: shutterstock
 

Skiing costs a fortune. Like going to college, the price of admission has gone way, way up. Just like parking in Pittsburgh. Coffee. Pens tickets. But people have gotten used to paying.

Or some people have. And maybe that’s what much of the hubbub during the November election was really about: The reality is, most people can’t pay. But they’re not the people you read about in magazines touting the 10 best things in our great and promising future.

Which begs the question: Dave, why are you gonna write about skiing in western Pennsylvania when you know it’s a sport for the monied class?

Because when I was a kid I didn’t know what the monied class was. (Probably even monied kids didn’t know they were “a class.”) Which doesn’t fix the problem, but … when I was a kid, maybe I’m wrong, but I remember more than a few guys bombing down the slopes in camo gear and blaze orange. I remember taking the 61A Downtown and getting glass seats for the Pronovost Pens for 14 bucks. I remember when you parked in Pittsburgh the cops gave you the benefit of the doubt, and as for coffee … parents drank it out of cheap mugs. How we got used to paying four bucks for a cup and how we got 12-year-olds to want it like they wanna be online, I’ll never figure, but hopefully there’ll be a backlash and the next generation will proudly hang out in Dunkin’ Donuts. Or drink more Iron City beer.

Back to the slopes. My brother taught me how to ski on rented metal sticks. Boyce Park. Winter nights when we could steal up 376 for a couple hours and he could deal with my frustration. It was the first really hard thing I remember learning to do. And it was the first thing we ever did together besides fight over the last slice of pizza. So even though I’ve skied the great and monstrous Western Mountains, Utah, Colorado, California, Wyoming and taken left turns on slopes the width of the Laurel Ridge, it’s when I come home and shoot down the short cliffs of western Pennsylvania that I feel my original joy. The gift I was given. As the guy says in “Chariots of Fire,” “When I run, I feel his pleasure.” Him being … you know, the Deity.

So I’m not suggesting you should try and commune with God in the overpriced environs of Donegal, but how lucky we are to have three hillside gems: Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain for the kids of Pittsburgh to learn tight turns on ice and rubble and gravel that’ll make them the envy of spoiled Western types who all their lives have known only powder.

And yeah there’s a cheap metaphor in there about Appalachian toughness, but I’ll leave it at that.

In a clearing at the top of a run, I imagine I feel what hunters do on the first day of their season: This is my home, my woods. Dark and deep.  

You can find more from David Conrad at clementcrawford.blogspot.com or crawford_conrad on Instagram.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Host an event in Pittsburgh’s urban sustainable homestead. Join a club for mushroom hunters. Tour a coal mine. Listen to some banjo music. We list our new favorite experiences, food, drink, personalities, stores, items and activities in the ’Burgh.
Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Fourteen years ago this month, the mighty Kinzua Viaduct met its match.
Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

The restaurant, run by Dinette’s Sonja J. Finn, boosts the dining experience at the Carnegie museums in Oakland.
Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

FASTER Pittsburghʼs Hip Hop Cardio promises to get your workout into a groove.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Marc-André Fleury Pens Loving Farewell Letter to Pittsburgh

Marc-André Fleury Pens Loving Farewell Letter to Pittsburgh

In a letter for The Players' Tribune, Fleury recounts his 14-year career as a Pittsburgh Penguin and the bittersweet weeks leading up to his departure to Las Vegas.
Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks 2017: When & Where to Watch Them

Pittsburgh-Area Fireworks 2017: When & Where to Watch Them

You can get your fill of fireworks throughout the long holiday weekend, if you know where and when to look.
See The Tiny House with Room to Grow

See The Tiny House with Room to Grow

The housing company Module, a Pittsburgh start-up, creates an alternative housing model that grows in size as you grow in income.
Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins Video Tribute to Marc-André Fleury

Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins Video Tribute to Marc-André Fleury

With a tear in our eye, we bid the “Flower” Au Revoir.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Best of the 'Burgh 2017

Host an event in Pittsburgh’s urban sustainable homestead. Join a club for mushroom hunters. Tour a coal mine. Listen to some banjo music. We list our new favorite experiences, food, drink, personalities, stores, items and activities in the ’Burgh.
Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Daytripping: The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’

Fourteen years ago this month, the mighty Kinzua Viaduct met its match.
Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

Restaurant Review: The Café Carnegie

The restaurant, run by Dinette’s Sonja J. Finn, boosts the dining experience at the Carnegie museums in Oakland.
Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

Thrive: Smooth Moves While Getting Lost in the Music

FASTER Pittsburghʼs Hip Hop Cardio promises to get your workout into a groove.
Curling in Pittsburgh: ‘It's Basically Golf and Chess on Ice’

Curling in Pittsburgh: ‘It's Basically Golf and Chess on Ice’

On the eve of its largest annual event, the Pittsburgh Curling Club has plans to increase Pittsburgh’s appreciation for its intricate sport.
Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

Top Ten Things to Do in Pittsburgh in June

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Marc-André Fleury Pens Loving Farewell Letter to Pittsburgh

Marc-André Fleury Pens Loving Farewell Letter to Pittsburgh

In a letter for The Players' Tribune, Fleury recounts his 14-year career as a Pittsburgh Penguin and the bittersweet weeks leading up to his departure to Las Vegas.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Pusadee's Garden Will Close at End of Year (But Not Forever)

Pusadee's Garden Will Close at End of Year (But Not Forever)

Look for some big changes at the Upper Lawrenceville restaurant, which is expected to shutter for at least a year.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Best Places for Kids on Rainy Days in Pittsburgh

Read on for some under-the-radar ideas on how you and the kids can survive a rainy day this summer.

Comments


High-Wire Acts at Carnegie Science Center

High-Wire Acts at Carnegie Science Center

The North Shore landmark's new ropes course is a draw for adults and youths alike.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Pittsburgh Pirates Looking for Relief from Their Bullpen

Pittsburgh Pirates Looking for Relief from Their Bullpen

The just-completed, pivotal 10-game stretch began and ended the same way for the Pittsburgh Pirates –– with no one having an answer for the faltering bullpen.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

Make the Cut with Jonathan Moran Woodworks

The Strip District-based woodworker's cutting boards can be custom made with the wood of your choice.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Buckle Up ... Again, as Cars 3 Hits Theaters

Buckle Up ... Again, as Cars 3 Hits Theaters

Reviews of "Cars 3" and "47 Meters Down," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Enchanting Summery Trends to Illuminate Your Wedding Palette

Enchanting Summery Trends to Illuminate Your Wedding Palette

You’ll definitely want to pin these new summer wedding trends to your Pinterest board.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Blooming: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Hosts Town & Country Tour

Blooming: Pittsburgh Botanic Garden Hosts Town & Country Tour

From a forest of Japanese maples to a rocky urban sanctuary, the annual tour covers 14 very different gardens across the East End.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Visit Thiel College for a Summer BBQ

Visit Thiel College for a Summer BBQ

On three days this summer, the college will host visit days for prospective students.

Comments

Edit Module