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Definitely Not Your Rock Skis

If you were shocked to see the price of new skis hit the $1,000 mark, better fetch your glycerin pills. Dynastar raises the bar with its new Avant Premiere, which retails for an astonishing $3,000. To be sure, you get a great ski: a cruise-control version of Dynastar's Autodrive World Cup Race GS, lovingly handmade at Dynastar's factory in Sallanches, France, by craftsmen who've created gold-medal-winning boards for Tommy Moe and Marc Girardelli. All materials are the best available on the globe, right down to a metallic paint job that changes from burgundy to green to copper, depending on the light. For your money, you also get exclusivity (only 70 pairs will be sold in North America), coordinated Look Pivot bindings, hand-tuning and waxing for the next three years by Dynastar's gear pros, along with an annual ski clinic with a Dynastar athlete (either Moe or Jeremy Nobis). The skis also come with an executive pass to the Lange/Dynastar's VIP café at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics, where they just might be priceless as date bait. For information, call 802-764-6400.

Next Trick: The Ultimate Donut

In what may be the oddest coupling since Bill and Hillary, NBC filmed a spot at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., earlier this season to cross-promote the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics and NASCAR racing. In "The Dream," race car driver Tony Stewart fantasizes what it wouldbe like if NASCAR became a Winter Olympic event as his car bombs down a race course. A special stunt vehicle was painted to look like Stewart's race car, towed up the mountain by snowcats, then driven down a small jump. Stewart, of course, was too smart to drive the car himself. The spot recently premiered during the Cal Ripken Jr. 400 NASCAR race and will re-broadcast leading up to the Salt Lake Olympics. The car caught serious air off the kicker, but survived better than anticipated, suffering only a few minor dings. "They definitely wanted to get it on the first take," one of the stunt organizers said.

Flame On

Don't tick off C.J. "Turbo" Turner, a former World Pro Mogul Tour competitor, on the slopes. The 41-year-old father of three-in full-blown midlife-crisis mode- has designed a rocket-powered monoski. (Strapping on a rocket, he figures, "gets away from the stigma that monoskiing is lame.") Last year, while skiing in Vail's Back Bowls, a guy riding Chair 17 above him leaned over and yelled, "Go back to France, mono boy!" Turner flipped him the bird, fired the rockets and blasted off, spewing flames behind him. Turbo's father and brother, both engineers, helped design the system. His ski is mounted with 12 small "booster rockets," wired through his fireproof suit to a switch on his ski pole. A dial regulates the amount of rocket fuel released and the number of rockets fired. "It's solid fuel," he says. "It's completely inert until I go live. Once it's lit, there's no stopping it." With all 12 fired, he can reach close to 90 mph-"when the coast is clear." Once he has ignition, "falling is not an option-and moguls are out of the question." -Hilary M. Nangle

Your Year To Race Nastar?

The Salt Lake City Olympics aren't the biggest race of the 2002 season. In terms of sheer volume, that honor goes to Charles Schwab NASTAR, which enters its 33rd season stronger than ever. Close to 100,000 recreational racers are expected to take to the gates this season in about 5,000 races at more than 100 ski resorts. These skiers hope to qualify for the NASTAR regional and then national championships, which will be televised on the Outdoor Life Network. NASTAR was created by SKI Magazine in 1968 to provide a public race program. It offers skiers an opportunity to measure their improvement and compete against friends and family. NASTAR enjoys a partnership with the U.S. Ski Team, which looks to recruit promising juniors. Picabo Street and Chad Fleischer represent NASTAR on the U.S. Ski Team. To regiister, go to www.nastar.com.

For The Record

Skiing's Golden Girl Dies Diana Golden, who raised disabled skiing from a recreational sport to Olympic status through sheer athleticism and a steel will, died earlier this year. She was 38. Golden lost her right leg to cancer when she was 12, but that didn't slow her down. She started ski racing in high school and continued at Dartmouth College, developing into one of the greatest competitors in skiing's history. Golden won 29 World and National Championship gold medals, and dominated racing in the late Eighties, sweeping the slalom, giant slalom, downhill and combined events in the 1987 and 1988 U.S. Nationals. Golden pushed to have disabled skiing included as a Demonstration Sport in the 1988 Calgary Olympics, which lead to the establishment of the Paralympic Games. After her racing career, Golden worked as a motivational speaker and supported a number of youth and disabled causes. She was inducted into the National Ski Hall of Fame and the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. "There aren't any mystical, magical secrets," Golden often said. "Persistence is what wins."

Art Collector Mason Beekley, America's preeminent collector of fine ski art and books, died earlier this year. He was 75. A former patrolman and instructor turned successful businessman, Beekley amassed the world's largest private collection of ski art and books, including the only two paintings by Andrew Wyeth with skiers in them and a 1555 book that contains the first illustrations of skiers ever published. Beekley founded the International Skiing History Association in 1990, along with Skiing Heritage, the organization's quarterly magazine.

Not Made In U.S.A. For the first time since skiing exploded in popularity in the Sixties, no significant manufacturing of skis will take place on American soil this winter. After shipping its 2001-02 skis to dealers, Volant's ownership decided to close the factory, citing the high cost of domestic manufacturing. A spokesperson was confident Volant would soon have a new owner and a new life. However, any future manufacturing would likely be done overseas. Meanwhile, K2, the perennial leader in American skis, is shifting the remainder of its manufacturing operations to China, where 75 percent of its skis are already produced.

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