The Corner

Americans, Would-Be Americans, Skiers, and Would-Be Skiers

My “Salzburg Journal,” or “Salzburg Souvenirs,” I guess I call it, continues today. There will be one more installment. I’d like to share, now, a couple of letters responding to yesterday’s installment. The first concerns immigration (not a Salzburgian topic, but we got there, somehow). I was complaining that I know a couple of German investment bankers who are dying to come to America, and be American, but can’t. Meanwhile, millions of campesinos have just waltzed over the southern border, no problem. I’m happy to have the campesinos, though I’d prefer they went through lawful channels. But can’t we find a smidgeon of space for a couple of investment bankers? (I realize this is a lousy time for that type — but they can do other things too, believe me.)

Okay, the letter:

I had a friend from Lichtenstein who ran a horse farm in Virginia for years. Then one day last year when he was returning from a visit to Europe he was told that his papers weren’t in order — something screwy had happened — and he was given two weeks to pack up and clear out. He took all his money and talent to Belize, which was damned happy to get him.

If we don’t allow in enough educated, inventive, and risk-taking people, there will be too few creating the new industries and different ways of doing which will allow us to absorb the poor and uneducated seeking the means to a better life for themselves and their children.

And something a little lighter? I mentioned Toni Sailer, the champion downhiller, known as “the Blitz from Kitz” (meaning Kitzbühel, an Austrian ski town). A reader writes,

When I was in college (the ’60s), I took up skiing to impress a long-ago-defunct fiancée. It was all the rage to rent “high performance” skis, so on my third or fourth trip to the mountains I rented some Sailer skis. I had hardly learned to “snowplow” and I put these babies on. They were so slick, literally and figuratively, that I spent most of the day hauling my butt out of the snow without traveling more than a few feet at a time. I brought them back to the rental place completely unscratched, as I had hardly skied on them in two days, and the staff — all advanced skiers — were in awe. “Not a scratch? You must be a great skier.” I kept my secret because they were all college-age women.

Toni never had much of a problem, you can bet the ranch on that.

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