A Restless Transport posted photos of the 10th Mountain Division from the LIFE Magazine archives, and it rustled up a memory. When I was very little, six or seven years old, on a family vacation in Breckenridge, Colorado, my uncle and I rode the chair lift with this kooky old guy wearing wooden skis and toting bamboo poles. I remember thinking his skis were long, twice-his-size long.
When my uncle asked the guy about his skis, he told us they weren’t for everyday, but every once in a while, he’d wax up the ol’ wooden sticks he’d worn as a member of the 10th Mountain Division, “gunnin’ down Nazis in the snow.” If my memory serves me correctly, my uncle and I gave a collective sigh of “Cool!” And before we knew it, he was off.
Until that time, the only connection I think I’d made to skiing with guns was the chase scene in The Spy Who Loved Me, where Roger Moore’s flipping, parachuting James Bond pelts one of Stromberg’s henchmen in the chest with the gun hidden in his ski pole. Q always seemed to place James exactly one step, or in this case, one ski ahead of the bad guys.