We're back in Colorado after a 5 month vacation in Florida. The tan will be gone, maybe, but the boards are waxed and ready. If the moisture keeps coming 2008-2009 might be the best snow season in years. Now, after going thru the hurricanes this year in Florida all we need is a Fay to dump 30" of rain (30') of snow to get us started.
But I still have those straight boards, and as long as I have them in my hand, there's a good chance I'll be back to the snow soon.
What a winter in the west so far in 2006. Sorry everybody but I didn't work at a ski area this year. After 20 years in it, I just said... So off to Snowbird to get 7' of fresh powder. Just cause I'm not workin' doesn't mean I'm not going to enjoy it. Still skiing on straight skis this year, and I guess I'll only change when I can't find them anymore. Pictures are from Aspen, last week
This page and is based on my personal opinions and after 50 years of skiing I have a bit of an edge here.
We were out shooting the fall color during the last 3 weeks and saw the signs of winter and the ski season coming. Among those signs are the ski swaps and equipment deals. It seems that all the ski shops are unloading skis, boots and about everything else to make room for the new stock they already have, hmmmm, go figure. So it's time to get that new stuff cheap. Now is the time to start getting into shape. We do it by putting on the skis and boots and doing stretches while it is still warm, so when that opening day comes you have a bit of an edge on those summer relaxed muscles.
Skiing is a hazardous sport as in any extreme activity. You take the chance of being hurt, maimed, even killed so think a bit before you take that big step into the unknown.
I worked as a mountain manager at a rather popular ski area in the east, but my real experience comes from the extremes of the west. For 20 years now I have been an extreme skier and have done the film thing, the cliffs, and more. What I say on this page makes sense to me.
Out of Bounds
The first article will be on out of bounds skiing. I know, yeah yeah, it's so cool to go out and go where no mans gone before, till your dead. Have you ever seen an avalanche? Pretty awesome, huh. Right, until you live through one. I remember one day near Berthoud Pass, in Colorado. We decided to take a small chute down to a stand of pine trees. The jump was great, as five of us made the landing and started our run down. Something didn't seem right, it was way too quiet. The ground seemed to be standing still, but I knew I was rocketing down the hill at the speed of light. The trees were moving, but the ground wasn't. It just didn't seem right, then I felt a push on my back. Of course I thought it was one of my fellow travelers. I looked around and that's when I saw that fateful wall of snow. The push was the wind ahead of millions of tons of snow heading toward me. The next thing I remember was tumbling, going from light to dark, as I floated to the top, and then got sucked under again. When it was all over I was on top of the snow, skis were gone, hat gloves, one boot, etc... I set the peeps and tried to look around for my friends. 3 Made it to the trees, and were waving frantically, one was missing, and I was in the middle, of the destruction. I was stupid that day. It ruined skiing for me forever. You just can't play around out there, you aren't good enough. Believe me when I say this. I have only been back once, and that was to look at what had happened, and to say goodbye to friend.
Ok that story is over and done. Let's talk about skis, and I know there is going to be a lot of comment about this. My first skies were wooden with bear trap bindings, complete with that funky tool you tightened your boots with. The place was Majestic Hills in Wisconsin. They had 3 runs, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. The lifts were old rope tows, with gas engines and car wheels for sheaves. I skied those old skies for 2 years till I got my first pair of Heads which had high tech bases and a more modern binding that fit the old leather boots. Man I was stylin' My point is the design changes. I love straight skis. These new parabolic skis are just like the new cars with blue headlights. What's the point. Ok so I'm not against change. So I demo a pair of Solomon shaped skis and the first turn, I'm on my ass. I happened to be with a good friend ski instructor, and he said, well stop being so aggressive on those new skis. LOL, I laughed, and went back to my straight K2 Extremes. I think that if you have been skiing for awhile the new skis might be a place you don't want to be. I don't like change, so maybe it's me. If you are learning and are just trying this ski thing out, the new shaped skis do all the work for you. So I look at it like this, when I'm in the trees at Steamboat Springs, and I need to turn, it is not a time to learn. To all the manufacturers out there, please don't stop making the straight skis. Of course I still like the old Hudson cars so that will tell you something. In those old days we measured our ski length by standing on the floor and raising your arm. The tip of the ski should have fit right into your palm. That was the perfect ski length, and in my case that was about a 210 CM. My K2's are 208. See I haven't changed, and I can boost that I have skied half the ski areas in the world, including Chamonix. Nope the old way is best, I think.
Hey People listen up. I've been in this business for awhile, and I have this to say. You don't like it don't read this again.
We give you a place to have fun. We pay a lot for that, and you know why? Cause you sue us. You are really over the edge when you use my property (at your own risk) and do something crazy. Yeah, Yeah to do a trick for your friend or to be cool and you bust your ass. Then you have have the gall to sue me. Knock this shit off.
Have fun and ski, board, tube, play at your risk, Don't give me this crap that "I got hurt and it's your fault!" It's your fault when you are beyond your limit. I can't tell you your limit. Be smart.
Don't make me responsible for you, if you make me do that the sport will be dead.
I think that's clear enough.
Skiing with a friend? How many times have you been out on the mountain and can't find them for lunch or whatever. Consider buying a two-way "family radio set": these walkie-talkies can communicate up to two miles and are great devices for keeping in touch! We found ours at Staples and they have an effective range of about a mile. We have found that many remote areas don't have cell phone accessibility so don't count on them to work, but never-the-less carry one with you just in case.
Ok we got a search off Google today asking about powder straps. If you are lucky enough to be in an area that gets mega snow, powder straps are a cheap and important thing to carry with you. Ok when was the last time you were doing the trees after 3' of snow and fell. Then spent an hour looking for that one ski? Powder straps tie to your ski binding and are about 3' long, and are a fluorescent color. In searching for your skis, they make life much easier. I tried to find an internet link to them, but I think you can find then in any reputable ski shop. If your in the deep, light, snorkel type snow, don't leave home without them.
More to come