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When I Was a Boy

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

When I was but a mere boy making my first turns, boots buckled the other way 'round, skis were retained by way of safety straps and lift rides were long, cold and uncovered.

But first, it's really amazing what hasn't changed. Is boot design really so different? I look down at my feet and see plastic, with shell and cuff, four buckles. Rear entry came and went a couple times, but we're still in the same boots as 30 years ago.

Bindings? I remember Bob Goldstone, the guy who got me into skiing, proclaiming at one point that "the boy" (me) was "ready for Nevadas." The bindings mounted on my Dynastars, circa 2007, look a lot like the N57 Nevadas I was rewarded with after my first descent of Fall Line.

Skis, sure, ski shape has changed. But we went to monocoque and back. There's still wood or foam in cores. Cracked edges didn't catch on. We went to GLM, then long, then short again. The new skis are easier to pack into a car, but they don't feel much different to me.

 

Apparel? Sure, there's Gore Tex, and soft shell. But pound for pound down's still warmer than anything, wool is still alive and kicking, and after years of trying and buying gloves, I'm back to mittens. Mom was right, they really are the warmest.

 

To me, detachable lifts aside (and that was a huge development, though at my home hills, actual and spiritual, they're either not present or not a real factor), it's been the little things that have made skiing better. Those reverse buckles first made by Lange -- man, was it hard to buckle up the old boots, especially for kids! Plastic base layers, starting with polypropelene. I first experienced these in the wet Northwest. Revelation.

 

And ski brakes. Has there been a nobler invention than the ski brake? How did we live without them? Was there anything more insidious, more odious, more frustrating than the safety strap? They must have driven hundreds of skiers away. Then again, given the crowds on groomed runs these days, maybe that wouldn't be so bad.

post #2 of 25

I certainly don't miss getting whacked in the head (you forgot to mention the HELMETS) by the skis that were tethered to my legs when I yard sale'd oh so many years ago.

post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

I'll take a brake over a helmet any day. At least for convenience. And helmets have been around the whole time, anyway. Only just starting to be used by adults recently. I remember seeing kids in Austria skiing in helmets back in, well, back then.

post #4 of 25

And the first boots I ever skied in were leather and lace up'seek.gif.  Can we say cold wet feet.

post #5 of 25

Yeah, I was going to say.  Buckles?  You're just a kid.  Lace-up leather boots. Wood skis. Cable bindings. Blue jeans. Wool. Cold. Boot-top fractures.

 

I'll take progress anyday.

post #6 of 25

Yeah, I remember those cold days with the cotton (!) long johns that my mom bought me and my wool mittens and coat that she knitted.  Lace up boots, cable bindings, wood skis, and goggles that were ALWAYS fogged up.  Yuk, how did I continue?  I also remember those long, cold chair rides.  

 

That has changed. Gore-Tex, synthetic (or Smart Wool) base wear, fleece, plastic boots, and helmets have made hanging up in the air in a howling snowstorm almost comfortable.  Of course today's skis, boots, and bindings are right out of the Jetsons compared to what we had then.  Also, don't forget Dr. Smith and his amazing double paned goggles.

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by raspritz View Post

 Buckles?  You're just a kid. 

That's why I hang out on this forum!

 

 

Though the first pair of skis I ever used had cable bindings.
 

post #8 of 25

Not just lace up boots but hand me down lace up boots that were several sizes too big.  Fit?  If you can get yer feet in 'em they fit.

post #9 of 25

Blue jeans, Awe yes.  Each pair coated with a can of Scotch Guard. Not that it did one bit of good.  

post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 

They had Scotch Guard when you were growing up? What are you, 20?

 

post #11 of 25

True Story.

 

Just last night I was sitting at the dinner table with my 5 and 7 year old girls. They are obsessed with surface lifts right now since they started riding the High Lift and the North Face Lift. They were asking about platter lifts... which caused much confusion because I refer to them at Poma Lifts - and Poma makes our T-bars.... anyhow, I started telling them about rope tows. They thoughts that sounded like scads of fun. Yet I remember learning to ski in the 1974 at Winter Park. The "bunny hill" rope tow there was essentially a fixed rope tied at the bottom, top and a few places in between. You had to pull your way up. God I hated that thing.

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

They had Scotch Guard when you were growing up? What are you, 20?

 



a couple of times over and more

post #13 of 25

For all the scotch gaurded blue jeans,cotton thermals,levi jacket and yeah the strap that went around the leg for the ski........I dont for the life of me....ever remember being cold or miserable????? I remember the joy of learning to ski, I remember following my cousin into the trees falling and losing half my equipment. I remember talking around  the fire at night with that  pretty young girl that I had just met that day!  And ya know what? for all the shaped ski's, goretex and fast lifts.....I'd trade it all for one more day like it "used to be!!"

 

Pain is temporary, chicks dig scars, and Glory is forever!!!       biggrin.gif

post #14 of 25

I'm quite fond of my 1981 poles with detachable straps.  I traded up from the Allsop Shock to those after the Allsops were nonono2.gifstolen. The are still in great shape (because the strap pops out before the pole bends or breaks) but it's getting harder to find baskets for them.

 

Cat Tracks-using Yak Trax version .  I. don't care if they aren't cool  They let me boot up at the car, grab a ticket, hang my lock on the rail with the cat tracks and step in and ski to the chair, no dealing with the lodge, finding locker or stashing stuff under a table hassle at all.  Boot bottoms still look brand new.  Extra nice on days when parked in nonono2.gifshuttle bus land.

 

Optical gear advances that give us better depth perception in flat light.

 

Ski Boxes..   hated dealing with racks and ski bags or having to wash the skis at night after getting back to get the road salt off of them.  Can also bring several pairs of skis and decide what to ski when I get there.. even change it up mid day.

 

Foot rests on lift bars.. makes it with the effort to lower the bar assuming you aren't over 6'6" tall.

 

Sure to think of a few more things that have made skiing better since 1970.. although the Vuarnet glasses came out in the late 50s

 

I'd still ski in jeans with gators.  It's only cold if you wipe out or the chairs are wet.

 

 

OH! and I got a lot of mileage out of those pigskin glove covers that kept your brand new Hotfingers from getting shredded by the rope tow!

post #15 of 25

When I was a boy in the 1960’s:

1)  Skis had grooves cut into the bases.  Fisher President DHs had a couple of them.  Today the only skis with grooves are used by jumpers.

2) Long thongs were considered really cool. Now most people think they are something hot women wear.

3) Rossi was marketing a great model called the STRATO.  They are still marketing a STRATO model today.

4) The best skis used interesting wood cores.  They still do.

5) Skis were layered with aluminum and fiberglass.  They still are (titinal is mostly aluminum).

6) Most skiers bought the skis their favorite racer was using.  Today, most skiers haven’t a clue about what skis racers use, let alone know the names of any racer outside of Bode or Lindsey.

7) Vain and stupid kids (like me) wore cotton (blue jeans) when they skied.  Today vain and stupid kids (boarders) still wear cotton (sweatshirts) when they ride.

8) LOOK/Nevada made the best heel piece of any ski binding made (putting the Marker heel piece back together was a pain).  LOOK still makes a pivot heel, but they charge 20x more for it today.

7)  A lift ticket to a top resort was under $10.  Today a lift ticket at Vail is around $100.

8) Some of the top selling brands of skis were made in the USA.  Today HEAD, HART, K2, HEXEL, OLIN, etc. are made elsewhere (well, some HARTs are made here).

9) Rich people and racers skied in stretch pants that went inside the ski boot.  Today ski racers have skin tight body suits and rich people no longer have a way to differentiate themselves on the slopes.

10) Most people couldn’t arc a turn to save their lives.  Today that hasn’t changed. 

11) You went to the hardware store and bought a couple of mill bastard files for $3.00 and borrowed your mother's old iron when it was time to tune your skis.  Today, if you read EPIC  SKI forums, you need a $400 portable bench and $100 of diamond stones plus a zillion dollars of file guides (except for the portable bench, I have a lot of that stuff).

12) People actually wore headbands while skiing.  Today helmets are the only head gear most people wear.

post #16 of 25

We used to watch the 'hot doggers' from the fire in the lodge skiing down the 'bowl'  around '72.  They wore cowboy hats and wiggled.  I had ski swapped wooden skis/ cable bindings / leather boots, and when I got my first pair of composite skis at age six or so I was sure I was going to be a hot dogger too.  When those skis broke I was devastated.

 

Later, my dad got into safety and made us use Spademan bindings, with the plate and no toe piece.  Gowdawful to get on in deep snow, but cool to look down and not see a binding.

 

As to skiing, my brother and I would catch the bus at 7:30 am, jostling among the other kids in the parking lot to stash our skis on the outside racks. Skiing was the business of counting the number of runs we could do until 4:15 pm, often eating on the chair in order to not waste time.  We only skied what we could tuck, as anything else would have lowered our tally.  The bus ride down was always much quieter.

post #17 of 25

I thought I had finally arrived when I got that first set of Head "Comps" with the yellow P-Tex bottoms.

 

My Mom and Dad bought me a black Montant sweater with the red stripe like all the PSIA instructors had. I think it costs them $60 in about '64. I still have it and I wear it today. You can't buy them anymore. 

 

Snow making was voodoo black magic.

 

Rope Tows common and Pomas were "fun".

 

Dear God, Please bring back stretch pants for a ladies fashion.

 

post #18 of 25

Oh man, I dreaded our Poma.  Seemed like you had about a 50% chance of getting past the first shot.  Kids were down everywhere.  But in retrospect maybe that was better than slipping on the big rope tow when it was icy, trying to lock on with your armpit, burning holes in your mittens.

 

You mean, as a guy, I'm not supposed to be wearing stretch pants anymore?

post #19 of 25

My first time skiing, some time in the early 80s, I am old enough to remember all the cool skiers wearing skin tight pants, puffy waste length jackets, or fart bags, neon sun block, head bands, and rear entry boots.   At the lodge Vaurnets or Bolle on the face or in the frosted colored hair, fur was everywhere, fur boots and moon boots were common.   At the rental shop they still had the old skis with the straps and no brakes, which they were still renting out when they ran out of the newer gear.  Skis were a mile long.

post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Que View Post

True Story.

 

Just last night I was sitting at the dinner table with my 5 and 7 year old girls. They are obsessed with surface lifts right now since they started riding the High Lift and the North Face Lift. They were asking about platter lifts... which caused much confusion because I refer to them at Poma Lifts - and Poma makes our T-bars.... anyhow, I started telling them about rope tows. They thoughts that sounded like scads of fun. Yet I remember learning to ski in the 1974 at Winter Park. The "bunny hill" rope tow there was essentially a fixed rope tied at the bottom, top and a few places in between. You had to pull your way up. God I hated that thing.

Hi, nice one. My two boys are about the same age as your kids. They've never seen a surface lift, though, as those have disappeared from our mountain. How are things at Crested Butte? My wife and I had probably our most fun ski week of all time there back in the '90s. Love that place.
 

post #21 of 25

I have posted these before, but after reading this thread it seemed apropriate.  Who ever mentioned Fisher President downhill skis with the grooves cut in them, I have skied those my Dad skied those in the 60's and had 4 or 5 pairs and a few unmounted in the box.  Anyways I grew up skiing in the early 80's these two videos of me and my sister show a bit of the transistion of things up until at least 1995.  Notice the ski straps, straight skis, mittens, one piece snow suits, stretch pants, tether or leash when teaching.  And its hard to tell but my first skis (still have them) the toe piece was fixed as in no release mechanism.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdqJHMI4u7U

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6QGsJAO_dY

 

post #22 of 25

Learning to steer a car from the passenger seat so the driver could take their coat off at about 10 or 11 yo old, now they want kids in the backseat until age 13.

 

Spring skiing with my Dad when I was around 12-13 and being offered pulls from the bota bag with the rational that since I could ski better than him I was grown up enough to have some wine out on the slopes.

 

Chairs at Schweitzer being called Momma Bear, Poppa Bear, Baby Bear and Grandpa Bear.  They also had a couple of rope tows and a T-bar.  Top of Momma Bear got taken out one year by a patrol started avalanche, there are houses now located where that chair used to be.

 

First skis were wood with metal edges and step in bindings but my leather lace up boots weren't compatible with the bindings, next week I got some wood skis with cable bindings to work with the boots.  When I broke those in the shovel area my Dad wrapped them in glass cloth and they held together for me and then for my brother.

post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Que View Post

True Story.

 

Just last night I was sitting at the dinner table with my 5 and 7 year old girls. They are obsessed with surface lifts right now since they started riding the High Lift and the North Face Lift. They were asking about platter lifts... which caused much confusion because I refer to them at Poma Lifts - and Poma makes our T-bars.... anyhow, I started telling them about rope tows. They thoughts that sounded like scads of fun. Yet I remember learning to ski in the 1974 at Winter Park. The "bunny hill" rope tow there was essentially a fixed rope tied at the bottom, top and a few places in between. You had to pull your way up. God I hated that thing.

Hi, nice one. My two boys are about the same age as your kids. They've never seen a surface lift, though, as those have disappeared from our mountain. How are things at Crested Butte? My wife and I had probably our most fun ski week of all time there back in the '90s. Love that place.
 


Nice! It is doing really well this season. The mountain is open wall to wall and attic to cellar this weekend. Which I know doesn't sound like much for most mountains but Third Bowl opened up last weekend and the Peak opens this weekend. So far we're on pace with the "big one" from a couple of years ago. Lines are filling in nicely and the backcountry snowpack is pretty chill right now. Remember the platter for North Face? That's been replaced by a T-bar so that eliminated *some* of the lines that could form there. They keep talking about putting a lift out of Teocalli bowl (not sure if that was open in the 90's) but thankfully someone keeps talking CBMR out of it.

 

So the funny thing is all the "goods" are accessed by surface lift here in CB. My girls think that surface lifts must be for expert skiers. I didn't have the heart to tell them that back in my day surface lifts were usually for the bunny hills.  LOL.

post #24 of 25

Lace boots...my first pair (must have pictures stoved somewhere)

Cold hands and legs

But I remember fondly a jacket I had...I had torn a pocket and my mother had sewn a patch over it depicting a grinning indian (native american)... I loved it...

post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Remember the platter for North Face? That's been replaced by a T-bar so that eliminated *some* of the lines that could form there. They keep talking about putting a lift out of Teocalli bowl (not sure if that was open in the 90's) but thankfully someone keeps talking CBMR out of it.

 

So the funny thing is all the "goods" are accessed by surface lift here in CB. My girls think that surface lifts must be for expert skiers. I didn't have the heart to tell them that back in my day surface lifts were usually for the bunny hills.  LOL.



I remember one T-bar and one poma. I thought it was brilliant tactics to have those crappy lifts accessing the most challenging terrain. Seemed like it kept the lines down. The poma had a hell of a kick to it.

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