Jim Forster: My Barefooting Friend Duane Godfrey

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As we find ourselves right in the middle of the ski season, some of us are engaged in intense barefoot training, trying to improve our tricks, slalom and jump. But you can’t do it alone, you have to ski with other individuals that have similar goals. I have one such friend and ski partner in Duane Godfrey. For those of you not familiar with Duane, he’s one of the most dedicated, focused skiers I have ever met. His nickname ‘Captain Intensity’ can give you an idea of how dedicated he is to improving his skiing, and let me tell you, this guy can ski! I’m a ripe old 53 years old and can barely perform all four 180 surface turns consistently, but Duane who is 5 years older, can perform 180s, 360s and even 540s, including 1 foot turns! When I watch him ski, it gives me inspiration ( and hope ) to improve my skiing and maybe one day I’ll be able to do what he has. He serves as an example to young and old skiers alike that you’re never to old to learn.

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But I have to tell you a story about Duane’s latest accomplishment. There he and I were, this past Sunday, skiing at my favorite place and behind my 2004 Sanger. We had perfect conditions, glass calm water and it’s Duane’s turn to ski. He starts with his usual back deep to 44 mph, position turn to the front and then a series of maybe 14 turns in variious combinations ( 360s, 180s, 540s ) and then he ends up in forward BSP. As he rides along, I’m thinking he”ll soon throw the handle to end the pass, but wait, he’s still skiing! He loads ino a front toe hold, waits a few seconds and then does a beautiful toe back. Now I’m thinking, OK, he’s done and he’ll kick out of it and on to the next pass……but wait, he pauses, sets up and does his very first toe front! And let me tell you, it was textbook perfect, no faltering or near butt outs, just a clean feet to feet toe front long line. His arms were raised above his head and he was all smiles, I think I heard his yell over the droning of the boat engine! I was truly amazed at what I just witnessed and now the bar has been raised.

But on top of his skiing, Duane is also a kind, caring person and will go out of his way to help anybody. I first met Duane at the 2010 Worlds in Brandenburg, Germany where we both competed for our countries ( he for Canada, and I for the USA ). We struck up a conversation on the starting dock and the rest is history. Duane comes to Florida to ski when he’s not flying as an Airbus A319/320/321 captain and we train together either at the WBC or in West Palm Beach. Being a pilot myself, the conversation naturally turns to flying when we’re not talking about skiing so there’s no lack of conversation between the 2 of us. As Duane heads off to the Canadian Nationals this weekend and I to the US Nationals next week, I just want to say ‘Good Luck Duane’ and look forward to catching up the next time we meet again!

Jim Forster

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