Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/349

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227
THE PERVERSE SKI

visitors. These skis, like the gooseberries below, were in great demand. My Polynesian guide told me so. "Everybody has a go at the skis," said he.

But he did not add, as he truthfully could have done, that the skis frequently have a "go" at tourists. Skis are alike the world over, and their idiosyncrasies are as marked in New Zealand as elsewhere. They have notions of their own about navigation, and very perverse notions they are, too. For carefully laid courses they have naught but contempt; under the feet of the unskilled they are intractable. They start willingly enough, perhaps, but only with malevolent intentions. On them one scarcely launches one's self before trickery begins.

Skis are in accord in only one respect—their determination to throw the skier. In some other things they do seem to agree, but these are mere incidents contributive to the main purpose. Often they act as if they were going to ram each other, but such is not their design. Theirs is more often a hurdling game. They hurdle over each other, and the skier hurdles over them both. At other times the skis, like some married people, agree on a separation almost at the start. In that case they run as far apart as they can, and one's legs, becoming imbued with the same spirit of isolation, do likewise, each faithfully following its ski until the downfall of man is accomplished.

It is safer, if inexperienced, to use skis as toboggans. But even then you will find that when you want to go