Buyer's Guide Benefits
I think you SKI-ers do a great job with your annual Buyers Guide (September 2001). Even better, a friend just turned me on to the SkiFinder and BootFinder on skimag.com. While the reviews in the magazine are informative, the online guide is a user-friendly way to narrow down the list of skis I want to read about. (No offense, but I can only read so much about gear before I go cross-eyed.) In any event, both resources have been quite helpful, and I'm psyched to shop with knowledge.
I just took up skiing a few years ago and have finally gotten skilled enough to justify buying my own gear. One question: Why no reviews of mogul skis? Don't SKI readers like to rip it in the bumps?
Editor's Note: If you log on to skimag.com, you'll find all the information you need on mogul skis.
I loved Warren's Miller's latest column (Warren's World, September 2001). Although I will never turn away a powder day, the sport has its share of chores. In particular, "Special Discount" rings true. I have six kids, all skiers. There is little cheap about the sport, even when "discounted." Regardless, we're sold.
In all of my 48 years of skiing, I have met no one with such an edge as Warren Miller. He's been around the sport long enough to know that you have to work hard for your fun. But Warren always seems to find humor in all of the hassles. Next time I'm at my Timeshare condominium (in early November) at Mt. Bellyache, I'll try to think like Warren.
Demo or Buy? No-brainer. Demo. (Forum, September 2001). After you ski 'em hard, return them and get new skis the next day. By next year, you'll have spent less than the price of new skis and you won't be stuck with a beat-up pair of dated skis.
As someone who spent years working in a shop, Tom Winter should know that the quality of a demo fleet depreciates as the ski season matures. Edges are blown out, bases get core shots, bindings are mounted and remounted. And I'm not sure if you've seen demo bindings these days, but those things are scary! There's nothing like dropping into a chute only to look down and see one ski missing. (I've done it.)
I agree that one should demo before one buys; but isn't that common sense? I mean, are you going to buy a new car without taking it for a test drive first? Let's face it, we're not talking computers. A ski's camber stays lively for a good 50-80 days anyway. Skis are like shoes; they're personal, and they have to fit correctly to perform correctly.
Stop Ski-Town Growth
My opinion is that ski country's explosive growth is a bad thing (In My View, September 2001). When I moved to Vail 18 years ago, I almost passed it by because there was so little to the town. Granted, it's been almost two decades since then, but the place is now littered with homes and more are on the way. Every inch is crowded and claustrophobic. And these high-impact homes are blocking my view of the mountain.
The Right Fit
What's the matter with the U.S. ("Missing Link," September 2001)? We can put a man on the moon, but we can't connect two neighboring plots of land? Utah is leading the charge to connect ski resorts, allowing skiers a Euro experience on American soil. Does this mean we'll soon look to Utah to lead us with our religious beliefs? What it might do is lead skiers to vacation exclusively at Utah resorts because of the vast acreage now offered by their new,interconnected areas.
Squaw and Alpine basically share a ridgeline. The attitudes at those two resorts resemble those at Alta and Snowbird¿twwo resorts that have agreed to connect. I know environmentalists make it hard for resorts to upgrade, but a little leeway from each side could lead to compromise. I hate to say it, but can't we all just get along?
It amazes me that we haven't been able to convince more people that the shorter shaped skis can make all the difference.
Don't they know how enjoyable their ski life would be on a 130 to 170 cm shaped ski? And that these ski lengths automatically put skiers on the ski's sweet spot by centering them in all phases of a turn? It's like hitting a golf ball in the sweet spot of the club all the time.
A shorter ski provides dramatic improvement in maneuverability on gentle cruising runs, steep black-diamonds and (especially) in the moguls. Unfortunately, the world still probably sees these shorter skis as training wheels and not an end product. Too bad for them.
President & CEO Jiminy Peak and Brodie Mountain Resorts
President, National Ski Areas Association