by Jim Black, veteran and scarred skier

Once upon a time ….in the early days of the Birkie – perhaps 1994 … in the era when skiers were provided a black plastic bag and number tag for their clothes to be transported from the UCHV to Waskahegan …

I arose up early on Birkie morning, as per custom – had a hearty breakfast and tied up the full and black household garbage bag for transport out to the garage. I then waxed my skies and packed my warm end of ski’ clothes in the black Birkie bag and affixed the number tag … very organized and all set to head out to the start line.

I arrived at the UCHV in good time, weighed in my pack, had a few cookies to save stopping at the first Food Station and dropped my `clothes’ bag at the clothing tent. The race went very very well. It was completely icy that year (silver klister all the way!) and I posted my best time ever – 4.5 hours (if I may
say!!!!)

Very pleased with the day and my new found speed, I picked up my bag at the clothing tent and proceeded to the change trailer. Found a comfortable and very warm seat and settled in for the best 15 minutes of every Birkie – expounding upon (and, if necessary to maintain top dog status – perhaps even
enhancing) ones exploits in taming the 55.

Sat down and absent mindedly undid my bag looking forward to some fresh dry duds ….. there was an immediate recoil by all within 20 feet as the putrid odour of garbage gently wafted through the trailer … people diving out the door and so forth.

So ….. I turned to the Birkie newby sitting in the next chair and queried `What? …you didn’t bring your garbage bag?’ …. And walked out. The offending bag was tossed in a bin. As a very experienced skier I immediately – and I believe correctly – assessed that there was precious little warmth and even less
comfort to be found in banana peels.

Fortunately it was a warm day.