Bygone Days

Photo 209 of 1981

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Photo by Scott Haefner: Bygone Days

Indoor spectator area for the ice skating rink at Grossinger’s Resort. Starting in 1951, the annual World Barrel Jumping Contest was held here in January. I discovered some of the original barrels upstairs in the rickety, unstable attic.

An interesting anecdote from Tania Grossinger that I found online, retelling her experience at one of the contests: “The rink manager spies me in the crowd. ‘One of the young members of the Grossinger family has just volunteered (Volunteered? I’m just there to enjoy the show!) to help us out!’ Someone leads me to the ice. I panic. ‘Don’t worry,’ I’m told. ‘It’s just part of the act!’ He shows me how to kneel, cover my head with my gloved hands, and assume the asinine position of a barrel. The introductory music blares. The audience collectively holds its breath, as do I. I wish I remembered how to pray. I peek through my fingers as the blades of the champion’s skates skim my hat. I’m a goner for sure. The audience breaks out in wild applause. The record has been broken. I have survived.”

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