When daydreaming about the upcoming winter it’s easy to think about “gearing up.”
Maybe your eight-year-old skis are starting to get a little noodly and they don’t quite have the same snap they did in their younger years. Perhaps your boots are packed out and you’ve been thinking about some lightweight touring boots. Or maybe you just want some new gear because– you know, YOLO.
When shopping for skis, consumers are bombarded with images of pro skiers buttering pillows in Japan or ripping spines in Alaska. It is easy to market the kind of skiing that we all dream about. Glorious deep days under bluebird skis or storm skiing with free refills. The reality, of course, is that the huge majority of east coast (and mid-western) skiers will spend the bulk of their ski days tearing around on groomers or, if they are lucky, bouncing down bumped up tree lines. It is much easier for manufacturers to market to the kind of skiing that consumers wish or hope to be doing rather than the reality. Besides, a glossy magazine ad of someone skiing carving a groomer in Pennsylvania doesn’t look that sick.
Fast forward to opening day in the Northeast which almost always features skiers on chairlifts skimming over grassy slopes and down white ribbons of death. Unfortunately it’s not uncommon to see people standing in those same lift lines on Soul 7s or Atomic Bent Chetlers. These folks are STOKED to ski some pow, no matter the fact it’s November and they’ll be sliding around uncontrollably on boiler plate for several weeks, if not months.
A far less noticeable skier in that same lift line that tends to fly under the radar is the practical east coast skier. While everyone wants to be slaying bowls and getting pitted in pow, this ice coast veteran knows whats in store for his or her winter. He/she is going to be skiing a good amount of hard snow and packed powder. They will consider themselves lucky to get one, or even two, real powder days. As a result. we find these noble skiers flying around on Volkl Kendos, Blizzard Brahmas, or Rossi Experience 88’s.
These “woke” skiers have likely been around the block enough times to realize that getting a flashy, new, mid-fat ski doesn’t make all that much sense. As they say, a jack of all trades is a master of none. Their proven frontside ski gets it done on the ice while still being serviceable when things get soft.
It can be a difficult realization for an east coaster (or midwesterner) to realize that the huge majority of their ski days will not be described as epic. Instead, east coasters make the best of what they have with a stellar crew, a good attitude, and even better skis.
The sensible skier knows to maximize the amount of fun they will have and its best to take the “horses for courses approach” as opposed to the “run what you brung” mindset. It’s this understanding of one’s environment that will take your ski experience to the next level. Let us all take a lesson from these sensible snow sliders. Instead of fighting your way down the mountain on your fully rockered 4FRNT Devastators, acknowledge that you will have far more fun laying trenches and demolishing corduroy on a more practical ski.