Yours truly won a pair of skis from Salomon last year in a national ski writing contest.

It was quite pleasing to win the Hirsch Award for Web writing, for stories which appeared on this Web site, and doubly pleasing to get a new pair of Salomon Tornado Ti's as prize.

The timing of their arrival was not as pleasing.

A fall at Mount Snow in that wonderful snow of last February essentially destroyed the rotator cuff in my right shoulder.(How does one fall at Mount Snow, you ask? It gets worse: I got lost getting down. Again, how?)

A week after Dr. Stephen Desio repaired the rotator cuff on June 7, to the extent possible, UPS pulled up to the house and delivered the skis.

Trust me, skiing was the last thing on my mind. Thanks to painkillers, I can't actually remember what was on my mind, but it certainly wasn't skiing.

OK, so now it's months later and skiing has regained its allure.

The skis were brought to Mountainside Ski & Sports Shop at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, just down the road from my house, where Kate Best checked the base for edge-to-edge flatness, and stone grind tech Brian Newman put them through a series of machines to get them almost perfectly flat, before handing them back to Best for a final waxing.

Seems all skis need TLC when they come from the factory.

They also need regular TLC during the season, as bases get whacked from use.

The more you ski, the more often your skis need to be touched up.

You can do this yourself, or take them to a ski shop.

The ski shop's easier. A full workup on new skis runs $44.95 at Wachusett. A wax job costs $8.95.

More information. Or call 978-464-2300.