Skier, doctor and inventor Dr. Bob Smith passed away on April 18th. For more on Dr. Bob Smith, see Jake’s post.
Watching this video of Dr. Bob testing his no fog goggle concept, you have to wonder:
Was skiing better back in the day?
Is it even possible today to ski lift served untracked beneath a mid-day sun and then launch through the trees onto a clean ribbon of untracked? Skip to 4:25 to see Pepi Stiegler, long time JH ski school director do it…
Bottomless, fresh tracks as the sun sets on the South Hoback Trail? Skip to 5:11
Edit below, although awesome, shows the Fingers at Squaw essentially tracked out in less than a minute.
The game has changed. Gone are the endless days of untracked down The Starr, complete your eights on High Rustler or thoughtfully considering a myriad of options off The Cornice Bowl. The tradeoff being, thanks to scores of high speed lifts, fat skis and etc., that huge amounts of vertical can be racked up in a day. Still, doesn’t multiple laps of unhurried face shots seem better?
Scoring first tracks in today’s world involves a lack of sleep, a mad rush to the hill, and this:
It also requires a mental checklist for line A,B,C or …. in case the ripper in front of you gets there first.
Today, it’s one (maybe two) laps and the game of untracked is over. Sure, resorts with staggered lift openings provide a chance to replicate the untracked, but not without plenty of competition and a do over of checklists provided above. Obviously, the crafty locals who frequent these pages can dip into a plethora of stashes for their fix, but top to bottom can be hard to come by lunchtime.
Dick Barrymore sums it up it in the clip above from “The Last of the Ski Bums” when he says:
“There were A FEW people riding the cable car and sticking to the groomed trails…”
When the genie appears to grant three wishes, a ski bum season back in the day should be included on the list! Assuming, of course the Fatties, Smith Goggles and Gortex come with the package.