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Climb Higher

First Tracks
posted: 12/13/2001
by Rick Kahl

Don't feel guilty. That rush of adrenaline you feel as you gaze upon the shiny, sexy new gear at your local shop does not flow from a vile, materialistic fetish. No, that almost obscene craving is not really about skis, boots, and other technological wonders, but what that gear symbolizes: the possibility of becoming an even better skier, of continuing your evolution to a higher athletic and spiritual level, of achieving moments of perfection.

New gear can do that to you. Consider this: Freeskiers on fat skis explore steep and fast lines in Alaska that were unthinkable 10 years ago. Mere mortals can now head off-piste, ski the trees, filet narrow chutes, and otherwise rip terrain they considered unthinkable just last year. New gear has opened more terrain to us; it's made our mountains bigger.

Of course, new gear shines on traditional slopes, too. It can make you jackrabbit-quick in bumps. It can help you arc amazing turns on the groomed. With it you can even fire off lots of itty-bitty turns, if that's what you want to do.

We spent weeks and weeks last winter testing gear in all kinds of conditions. We were amazed and awed, and on occasion achieved a higher level of being. We've seen the light. Buy the right gear, and it will take you to new heights, too. And that's nothing to feel guilty about.

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