I also used to participate in rec.skiing.alpine, aka rsa. There are a few other current Epic members who inhabited rsa as well. There was also a rec.skiing.nordic if I remember correctly. I probably started posting in rsa around 1993 (with apologies to my former employers) but I know it had been there awhile before I started paying attention to it.
As Kneale alluded to, rsa was a very free-wheeling place. Completely un-moderated, so the abusiveness gradually escalated to the point where very few people remained. Also as Kneale pointed out, when the EpicSki and POWDER(now TGR) forums came into being, practically everyone who wasn't in the middle of an ongoing bloody cyberwar defected to either of those fora or both. rsa introduced me to a number of people who are still friends today. When we moved to Salt Lake City in 1996, I had an already-established network of backcountry skiers whom I "knew" online and who welcomed me into their ranks. I'll always be grateful to rsa for that.
There were two moderated ski forums that were more or less contemporary with rsa; TelemarkTips.com and Paula's Ski Lovers. TT was a lot of fun, a very irreverent crowd with a great, self-effacing sense of humor. Paula's was much more sedate but a nice counterpoint to rsa once the flame wars exploded.
Also, a lot of original members of rsa split off into a private group that I still get message summaries from. I could perhaps manage an introduction for you if you pm me.
What's incredibly ironic to me about rsa is that its rise and demise almost exactly paralleled that of another newsgroup I joined way back then called rec.outdoors.fishing.fly. This was a flyfishing group and, again, I made a bunch of connections that have served me well over the years. Just like rsa, however, the completely anonymous and unmoderated nature of roff eventually resulted in huge name-calling, fights, insults, and even threats. Can you believe that??? Unbridled aggression about FLYFISHING?
All of this is why I believe in moderated internet forums. The human collective can be very ugly at times if left to its own devices.
Edited by Bob Peters - 11/19/13 at 2:31pm