Barefooting Friends

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As I look back at the 22 years since I first learned to barefoot, one of the most memorable experiences has to be of all the friends that I’ve made along the way. We all share the same passion for Barefooting and it’s through these friendships that our sport continues to grow and flourish.

Remembering my first run across the water on my bare feet on Lake Anna in central Virginia, I had no idea at the time that I would eventually train, ski and become friends with some of the top barefoot skiers in the World. The likes of Mike Seiple, Ron Scarpa, Paul McDonald, Andy Sable, Brett Sands and now Keith St.Onge and Dave Small! They have all been an inspiration to me and have motivated me to continue to improve my skiing.

But of course, it’s everybody else that I’ve met along the way that makes Barefooting such an enjoyable sport. I always look forward to my time at the World Barefoot Center because I know that I will share the boat with skiers from all ability levels and backgrounds, and that I will learn SOMETHING from EVERYBODY. Who knows, that 11 year old kid from Wisconsin could be a future World Champion and by getting to observe his skiing, maybe it will help unlock the missing link that I’ve been looking for……….we serve as inspirations for each other. There I was in Winter Haven in 1996 skiing at Ron Scarpa Watersports and had the pleasure of skiing with a 14 year kid from the UK who, even then, was an incredible skier. Little did I know that he would become a future World Champion, multiple times….his name was Dave Small.

Then there was my very first barefoot tournament down in New Orleans in 2000, the Monster Mash, where I skied in a 2 day clinic given by a 19 year old kid from New Hampshire, who was also at that time, a phenomenal skier who also later become World Champion……his name was Keith St. Onge.

And finally, the time I was in Austin, TX competing at the 2004 U.S. Barefoot Nationals and I was looking for a ride to the tournament site ( my rental car partner had to get up early ) and a family from Port St,. Lucie, FL was nice enough to let me ride with them……and so I met the Pressendo family. These are just a few examples of the long lasting friendships that continue to this day that would not have been possible if not for Barefooting. Through competing in tournaments to training at ski schools, I have met a lot of fellow skiers young and old and it’s this comraderie that continues to define our sport.

I am looking forward to making new friends and no matter how busy I may be, I will always find time to make sure a fellow barefooter gets a chance to ski! So, if you’re like me and really enjoy Barefooting, don’t be afraid to take the time to talk to a fellow barefooter, you never know who that person may turn out to be……quite possibly a friend for life!

Jim Forster

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