Christie

Torontonians will know this word as a stop on the Bloor line, but let us turn from that. Let us turn also from Agatha and from auctioneers. And how shall we turn? With a wedge – the uphill ski slipping apart at the back so the skis form a piece of pizza, tips angled together rather than parallel, but weight as always on the downhill ski, and then the skis brought back to parallel, like spaghetti, by the end of the turn. Perhaps few people nowadays know this turn by the old-school name: Christie, or, sometimes, stem Christie. It’s a suitable-sounding word for skiing, with its crisp, crusty sound, with a hiss in the middle and a slight echo of ski in the end. One reason for its desuetude is the increasing obsolescence of its object, obviated by the greater ease with which parallel turns may be made now that we have shaped skis. And how did it get called Christie? Not by what they say at Mont-Tremblant if you cut them off while doing one (that’s hostie or any of several other liturgical references). No, Christie is short for Christiania. And who is or was Christiania? Not who: what. The capital of Norway, named after King Christian IV. You may now know it as Oslo. So wouldn’t that have been a better name for the turn? Perhaps more suitable for a full-on snowplow turn, but modified slightly: oh-slow.

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