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When did Ski Reality become Irrelevant? - Page 5

post #121 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by smpdx View Post
 

Yes, I was forced to abandon skiing but I think skiing also abandoned me. It's been bloody hard work to get back in, for one thing. It takes a great deal of deliberate effort and will and determination. The misery starts in traffic on the way up, then there's the chaos of the lodge parking lots, the clusterf**k that is the rental center. And let's talk about gear for a minute--it's taken 23 years and a dozen bloody ski shops to finally work out that I should ski a 26 boot instead of a 27. Really? Then there are the lessons, christ the lessons--I had one instructor who was baked and likely drunk as well (the resort comped all of us on that one); the flavor of the month theories (pressure your tips? no power your tails!) that seem to vary like hair color from instructor to instructor; the educational discourse that sometimes confuses more than it educates cloaked in mystifying verbiage cribbed from biomechanics and things like kinesiology and specious interpretations of physics.

 

And that brings me to the culture, most germane to this thread. It's all so bro-tastic dudes! To paraphrase Mcconaghuey--"I keep getting older but the ski bros stay the same age". For me it's like 1994 all over again--gnarly rock-on hand-signs and stuck-out tongues and all. At 20 it (mildly) amused me, at 40 it's just boring. My wife, a woman from an athletic midwestern family, a cross-country skier herself, was turned off downhill skiing years ago by what she remembers as cliquish tribalism, brand snobbery, and immature one-upmanship. Now I happen to disagree with her position because I believe that it reflects only a minority of the skiing population--but I cannot in good conscience deny that the undercurrents exist. They continue to be perpetuated by the vocal and highly visible promotion and characterization of alpine skiing as some sort of extremist cult.

 

You've laid out the hassle of skiing very well and that's not even an exhaustive list.  From a young age my mission has been to cut through all that BS and click into bindings on snow, whatever it takes.  As long as I am able, I will fight and slash through every obstacle between my bed and that moment of click.  I think one has to have that mindset to truly enjoy skiing as a way of life.

post #122 of 186
@smpdx, great post.
post #123 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by sooneron View Post
 

This could be the biggest reason.

It also points out to another issue. Most of those families don't have the slightest clue that skiing can be affordable if you go about things the right way... Looking for used gear/swaps/lift ticket deals or passes. Where can they go to get the info on cost saving measures? Sure you can google "ski for cheap", but that can quickly lead to lost time on an internet goose chase. Then they see Permin and the gang tumble out of a chopper that costs $500/hr and say "F*** that!"

They could ask me, but if they have the misfortune of riding a lift with me, there's a good chance they're going to hear it anyway

Quote:
Originally Posted by smpdx View Post
 

So let me weigh in from a perspective that is probably uncommon on this message board.

 

I am, I suppose, an atypical skier. Born and grew up mostly in India--during the socialist Indira Gandhi years not the shiny Bollywood post-economic reform years. Lived and moved about on-and-off in SE Asia because of Pop's job. Saw a bit of Africa and Europe as well.

 

While I'd seen plenty of snow--mostly from my dorm window at boarding school in Darjeeling--skiing was something that women did in Europe wearing stirrup pants and tight sweaters.I couldn't be bothered and even if I HAD cared the skiing infrastructure in the Himalayas in the 70's was non-existent.

 

I moved to the States at 17 to go to college in the snowy upper-Midwest and that's where the bug bit. It all started off because a drinking buddy was dating a gal who happened to be on a local ski team. Went to grab a few beers and some skiing broke out. Jeans, crashing in the lift line, the whole rookie bit. But there was something about it that got me to come back--I think the exotic physical sensation, the dramatic tension of speed against balance, the sound of the snow under my ski, the wind in my face. There was something deeply gratifying about it all. And it kept me coming back until I was good enough to HAUL ASS down those wee black diamond runs on that little midwestern hillock (aah the ignorance and hubris of youth!). Then real life interrupted and I landed up in a place with no mountains and no snow.

 

20 or so years on and I'm living in the Pacific NorthWest. Husband of one, Dad of two. My kids learned to ski at Bachelor with their cousins, have season passes (with their buddies) at Hood. I, on the other hand, had skied maybe a handful of times since those glory days of my pomp. I'd tried Mt Hood and Mt. Bachelor; and before that Montana and Tahoe. But the experiences were always singularly unpleasant. The lift tickets were expensive, the boots were uncomfortable, the mountains intimidating, the wife uninterested in it all. I figured I'd 'aged out' of skiing and resigned myself to being the ski dad who drives the kids up and then spends the day with his kindle in the lodge.

 

I don't know what changed a couple of seasons ago--maybe it was watching the kids, knowing that they won't be with me forever, wanting to share in an experience that I once had loved as much as they do now. So I forced myself to get back on the slopes. I took lessons for the first time in my life--some were awful, some not so awful. Suffered through rental queues and packed-out boots. Finally bought myself a season pass this year and I'm happy to say that while I can't keep up with the kids I can at least stay within screaming distance (OK, I know, they're sandbagging).

 

The point of the exhausting autobiography is this: Yes, I was forced to abandon skiing but I think skiing also abandoned me. It's been bloody hard work to get back in, for one thing. It takes a great deal of deliberate effort and will and determination. The misery starts in traffic on the way up, then there's the chaos of the lodge parking lots, the clusterf**k that is the rental center. And let's talk about gear for a minute--it's taken 23 years and a dozen bloody ski shops to finally work out that I should ski a 26 boot instead of a 27. Really? Then there are the lessons, christ the lessons--I had one instructor who was baked and likely drunk as well (the resort comped all of us on that one); the flavor of the month theories (pressure your tips? no power your tails!) that seem to vary like hair color from instructor to instructor; the educational discourse that sometimes confuses more than it educates cloaked in mystifying verbiage cribbed from biomechanics and things like kinesiology and specious interpretations of physics.

 

And that brings me to the culture, most germane to this thread. It's all so bro-tastic dudes! To paraphrase Mcconaghuey--"I keep getting older but the ski bros stay the same age". For me it's like 1994 all over again--gnarly rock-on hand-signs and stuck-out tongues and all. At 20 it (mildly) amused me, at 40 it's just boring. My wife, a woman from an athletic midwestern family, a cross-country skier herself, was turned off downhill skiing years ago by what she remembers as cliquish tribalism, brand snobbery, and immature one-upmanship. Now I happen to disagree with her position because I believe that it reflects only a minority of the skiing population--but I cannot in good conscience deny that the undercurrents exist. They continue to be perpetuated by the vocal and highly visible promotion and characterization of alpine skiing as some sort of extremist cult.

 

Fell free to tell me to go and F**K myself--I'm a fat, foreign, middle-aged c**t. I'm soft, I can''t nut up and deal and get with the program. But I'm laying this down as somebody from the outside looking in. Given the incestuous nature of skiing world I'm the guy who's coming at you with the view from the muggle world of people who don't know from skiing. And, frankly, if skiing is to have any sort of healthy future it needs to engage blokes like me. The numbers don't lie; the deja vu that is the faces in the lodge at the end of the ski day (it feels like I''m seeing the same people over and over again--across thousands of miles and decades) doesn't lie.

 

I'm resolved to keep skiing until I punch out; my kids will carry on after I'm gone. It's their kids that I worry about--will there be any sort of ski industry left?

I'll just throw it out there that in spite of my outward trolly persona, in person I'm just the opposite, especially on the mountain. If anyone makes the mistake of asking me pretty much anything on the lift, or the trail, they're probably going to get more than they bargained for. I freely dispense advice on almost any subject; technique, equipment, traffic, resorts, beer, you name it. I will even tour around the mountain with complete strangers, (as long as it's not a powder day) and reveal my favorite stashes. Very few take me up on it, but I'd like to think that there are many out there like myself, who are more than happy to share their knowledge and experience with others, and who hopefully don't just dismiss everyone who hasn't learned the ropes as a clueless gaper. We were all gapers at some point, and at least in person, I will go out of my way to help someone who's motivated to gape less.

post #124 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post
 

 

Yeah, running a primarily rental shop (at least our in-store customers are primarily renters); that is typically what I find as well. People want sun, not snow. They want cruiser groomers. They want views, and relaxing days on the hill with their kids or friends.  They come back and rave about how good the conditions were, how they need to get into the mountains more, how much fun they had, even if it is 2 week old crusty hardpack.  They are often more stoked skiing than picky locals who complain 90% of the time and only ski 10 days a year because conditions aren't just so.  I love the fresh perspective of that more "casual" skiing group.

I'm one of those locals who tries to ski at every possible opportunity. This means I ski a lot of less than ideal conditions, but it also means that a lot of days exceed my expectations. Skiing garbage builds character, and as an old K-mart buddy used to say; "no matter how bad you think it's going to be, you have to show up so you're there to bitch in person". I can't tell you how many times I've shown up to bitch in person, only to have a really good time. Yesterday was one such day, which was especially nice after two days of less than stellar skiing at Vail/BC.

 

Of course I'm never disappointed when I luck into a powder day, but sunny days with crappy conditions and a couple of friends puts almost as big a smile on my face.


Edited by MT Skull - 3/14/14 at 7:13pm
post #125 of 186
I tried taking some Texans down Elephants Graveyard once. They thought I was trying to kill them.
post #126 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post
 

I spent a lot of time skiing by myself, and figuring shit out. All with a smile on my face, and not worrying about the other guys.

 

Ditto.  Now I can ski with people I wouldn't have been able to before.  It was work, but damn fun.  And now I feel more immersed in that culture.  Never had a problem with it when I was in over my head, it was just something to strive towards.

post #127 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by sooneron View Post
 

That's why I'm liking what Meathead is doing these days. Their Powder section from Jay Last year was historic. I also like the angle that Sherpa is taking. They give you some of the journey.

If Meathead wastes one more second of my time with interviews of Randy "The Hammer" Grasso, I'm gonna throw up in my mouth a little.

 

Randy is one of my old Killington posse, and while he's a decent skier, his head is big enough without giving him any more attention that he doesn't deserve. Radio Ron on the other hand, should have his own full-length feature film.

post #128 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by sooneron View Post
 

That's why I'm liking what Meathead is doing these days. Their Powder section from Jay Last year was historic. I also like the angle that Sherpa is taking. They give you some of the journey.


You must have missed this part:

 

post #129 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I tried taking some Texans down Elephants Graveyard once. They thought I was trying to kill them.

I belive this is SOP with Texans.:D

post #130 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post
 


You must have missed this part:

 

I haven't seen all of Into The Mind. All.I.Can is one of my new faves.

 

& ecimmortal - That was phenomenal filmmaking.


Edited by sooneron - 3/15/14 at 7:41am
post #131 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by MT Skull View Post
 

No, the crowds I dislike at Vail are there because Vail caters to their needs; long, unchallenging runs, overpriced food, rentals, lessons, and accomodations, and state-of-the-art lifts to whisk you away to more overcrowded, unchallenging terrain. Vail, like many resorts has looked at numbers too, and understands that for a certain percentage of the population, price is no object, and a high price of admission is actually attractive to many, since they believe this will keep the riff-raff out. Fortunately, there are still ways for dirt-bags like myself to ski there on the cheap, if only to satisfy my curiosity about how the other half ski.

 

There are a lot of reasons why small local resorts are closing, probably the least of which is less new skiers/boarders. Shorter seasons, higher energy costs, and higher rates for liability insurance force many resorts to raise prices, which if we're talking about local bumps with limited vertical, and aging infrastructure, just encourages skiers to drive further or fly for their limited ski days. By contrast, my favorite bump also happens to be the closest and the cheapest, with some of the best (arguably) terrain, and snow in the region. Their business model doesn't factor in real-estate sales, or lavish accommodations, since they offer neither, and therefore isn't as susceptible to market fluctuations as it is to fluctuations in weather patterns.

 

Vail has their business model, and it appears to be working for them. My resort has theirs, and it appears to be working for them too. More resorts will open, and stay open when the demand is high enough, but they will either have to charge more, or attract more customers to stay in business. I don't particularly like either option, but realistically, only chumps pay top-dollar to ski overcrowded resorts. Same goes for manufacturing, but even if numbers remain flat, or even steadily decrease, does not automatically mean that we'll start seeing more expensive, lower quality products from resorts or manufacturers.

 

Anyway, the declining numbers (or lack thereof) are not the result of ski porn, or too much focus on XTREME skiing. If you really want to know where the blame lies, I think you need to look at inflation and income inequality. "Average" families simply cannot afford skiing anymore, unless they're XTREMELY wise about how they spend their ski dollars, and demand maximum return on their investment.

 

I consider myself incredibly average income-wise, but have been incredibly fortunate to find great and affordable skiing close to home. I don't have children, but if I did, I would do what my parents did to pass on my passion; swap sales for equipment, season passes for all (kid's passes at Loveland are under $200), lessons from dad (not going to ditch the kiddos so I can freeski all afternoon, and then bitch about what lessons cost and not tip), and of course bag lunches and snacks. This might cramp my fun factor for a few years, but I'd hope eventually I'd get a rush out of seeing my kids get better, and even crush dear ol' dad. Take the kids skiing 20+ days a year, and the cost per day goes down considerably. If parents aren't willing to do at least this much work to bring their kids into the sport, they might consider school programs, or augmenting skiing with the kiddos with school programs if they're reasonable enough. Either way, the Vail's of the world want nothing to do with you, and the good news is, you really don't need a resort like Vail to teach your kids to ski either.

 

So those are your choices; figure out how to keep the sport affordable for you and your family, and keep growing the sport, or let it become a sport for only the rich. Either way, it won't be the resorts, the movie makers, or the manufacturers who ultimately decide whether the sport grows or not. Also, this whole discussion is pretty much the epitome of a first-world problem, so I have been crafting my responses to reflect the surriousnuss of this whole bidniss.:bs:

 

The shinking of the middle class, income inequality, and parents who are too busy chasing a dollar to teach their kids to ski are the real root of the problem IMO, but what do I know? I'm just here trolling.

Btw, no one would have thought you were trolling if you had posted as cogent a statement as this earlier in the thread. 

post #132 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by MT Skull View Post
 

If Meathead wastes one more second of my time with interviews of Randy "The Hammer" Grasso, I'm gonna throw up in my mouth a little.

 

Randy is one of my old Killington posse, and while he's a decent skier, his head is big enough without giving him any more attention that he doesn't deserve. Radio Ron on the other hand, should have his own full-length feature film.

He was barely in No Matter What. Radio Ron is entertaining tho.

post #133 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by dawgcatching View Post

The people who ski 5 times a year, or have given up the sport, are the people we need to reach more.  Sure, guys who live in the mountains and ski 50 days a year (people like me), who have a quiver of skis and travel to ski good terrain whenever they can, are well represented in the industry, and well marketed to.  That isn't stemming the decline in skier visits.  Nobody is arguing that we dumb-down coverage of cutting edge skiing; what is being proposed is that we somehow reach a new audience and grow skiing as a sport, not just "extreme-ify" it for a small group of die-hards.  

Maybe people read the article are assuming we need to get rid of "extreme" coverage, but I don't think that was the point of the article at all.  To me, it was more "how can we involve the casual person and create stoke for the sport?".   Sure, most people posting here are way cooler than the average person on the hill and don't give a rip about those "gaper" experiences, but how those casual potential skiers view the sport is important for us all. 

I doubt this article would have been written if skiing was becoming more popular.  If skiing shrinks, then ski areas close, prices continue to rise, and the general result is bad for everyone.  

Missed this response before.

But there are already media that do that. SKI magazine is the perfect example. And, as someone else said, there are more casual videos that aren't all that hard to find in the Web age. The problem with the OPs article is he ignores these completely to try to make a predetermined point.

Of course there are more videos featuring extreme skiing. These appeal to more people and they appeal to the people that spend the most resources on the sport. That doesn't mean that more entry level, casual media don't exist at all, though.
post #134 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by sooneron View Post
 

Btw, no one would have thought you were trolling if you had posted as cogent a statement as this earlier in the thread.

Ya think it's easy being a schizophrenic???!!!:eek:eek:eek

 

Hey, at least I always have someone to ski/bike/chat with...

post #135 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by sooneron View Post
 

He was barely in No Matter What.

Yeah, but to hear him tell it, ahh, nevermind. Nothing nice to say; say nothing is my new mantra. (for the next 10 seconds).

FAT, SELF-ABSORBED, AND WASHED-UP!!! :hissyfit:

What? I was talking about myself...

post #136 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by MT Skull View Post

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smpdx View Post


.......

 

And that brings me to the culture, most germane to this thread. It's all so bro-tastic dudes! To paraphrase Mcconaghuey--"I keep getting older but the ski bros stay the same age". For me it's like 1994 all over again--gnarly rock-on hand-signs and stuck-out tongues and all. At 20 it (mildly) amused me, at 40 it's just boring. My wife, a woman from an athletic midwestern family, a cross-country skier herself, was turned off downhill skiing years ago by what she remembers as cliquish tribalism, brand snobbery, and immature one-upmanship. Now I happen to disagree with her position because I believe that it reflects only a minority of the skiing population--but I cannot in good conscience deny that the undercurrents exist. They continue to be perpetuated by the vocal and highly visible promotion and characterization of alpine skiing as some sort of extremist cult.

 

.....

 

I'll let the people who actually ski Mt. Hood and Bachelor answer, but I think you've missed a huge part of the culture there. I find it hard to believe it's all bro-brahs.

 

@Jacques at least would disagree with you. He's pretty committed to showing "average" non "bro" dudes or kids skiing.

 

I only quoted one of the videos, there are several there and i'm sure he's got hours more of various "regular" people. (Maybe he'd pm you with all of them? We don't need to be convinced:))

So, ok, I think your opinion has been developed with some serious blinders on. But....I've never been to either of those places or skied in the PNW.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacques View Post
 

 

 

 


Edited by Tog - 3/15/14 at 7:26pm
post #137 of 186

post #138 of 186
Thread Starter 

This one's for @MT Skull - Now you're really gonna think I'm a crumudgeon!

 

*

 

Too funny! Poster on the wall at my local ski shop.

post #139 of 186
Thread Starter 

Another concerning aspect is the possible fallout this extreme campaign may be having on skier safety. The New York Times recently ran an article entitled Ski Helmet Use Isn't Reducing Brain Injuries. It states

 

Although skiers and snowboarders in the United States are wearing helmets more than ever — 70 percent of all participants, nearly triple the number from 2003 — there has been no reduction in the number of snow-sports-related fatalities or brain injuries in the country, according to the National Ski Areas Association.

 

Experts ascribe that seemingly implausible correlation to the inability of helmets to prevent serious head injuries like Schumacher’s and to the fact that more skiers and snowboarders are engaging in risky behaviors: skiing faster, jumping higher and going out of bounds. “The equipment we have now allows us to do things we really couldn’t do before, and people’s pushing limits has sort of surpassed people’s ability to control themselves,” said Chris Davenport, a professional big-mountain skier.

 

Experts agreed on one element underpinning the trend: an increase in risk-taking behaviors that they said the snow-sports industry has embraced. In recent years, many resorts have built bigger features in their terrain parks and improved access to more extreme terrain. “There’s a push toward faster, higher, pushing the limits being the norm, not the exception”.

 

The bigger issue, some experts said, is addressing a snow-sports culture that celebrates risk and challenging the snow-sports industry to re-evaluate its role and responsibility in propagating risk-taking. “There’s this energy drink culture now, a high-level, high-risk culture, that’s being marketed and impacting the way people ski,” said Robb Gaffney, a sports psychiatrist. “That’s what people see, and that’s what people think skiing is, but really, that’s the highest level of skiers doing the highest level of tricks.”

post #140 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fritzski View Post
 

Another concerning aspect is the possible fallout this extreme campaign may be having on skier safety. The New York Times recently ran an article entitled Ski Helmet Use Isn't Reducing Brain Injuries. It states

 

The article is off base since it talks of "fatalities" vs. traumatic brain injury that a helmet could protect from. They only way to analyze helmet use is in terms of the injuries it could prevent.  Out of bounds extreme skiing falls are not relevant yet that is where the increase in fatalities and injuries occurs.  The people interviewed were not professionals in examining epidemiological data.

 

The actual numbers in the studies are helmets providing about 40% better protection.

 

You can't blame a poorly written article for skiing emphasizing the exciting aspects of skiing to the young in order to promote the sport.

post #141 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagles Pdx View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fritzski View Post

 
Another concerning aspect is the possible fallout this extreme campaign may be having on skier safety. The New York Times recently ran an article entitled [URL=http:]Ski Helmet Use Isn't Reducing Brain Injuries[/URL]. It states

The article is off base since it talks of "fatalities" vs. traumatic brain injury that a helmet could protect from. They only way to analyze helmet use is in terms of the injuries it could prevent.  Out of bounds extreme skiing falls are not relevant yet that is where the increase in fatalities and injuries occurs.  The people interviewed were not professionals in examining epidemiological data.

The actual numbers in the studies are helmets providing about 40% better protection.

You can't blame a poorly written article for skiing emphasizing the exciting aspects of skiing to the young in order to promote the sport.

Unlike you, the NYT cites references for their assertions. That tells me a lot.
post #142 of 186
Fritzki should write for TMZ. Or these days, CNN

I posted this a while ago. To show how dead helmet threads are, there was no response.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Ok, firing up this helmet thread instead of starting anew.
Heard a story on Npr the other day about helmets. Saw no spike in the North American helmet thread postings monitor, so.....

Hear the story here:
http://www.npr.org/2014/02/26/282836515/researchers-debate-effectiveness-of-snow-helmets

Fred Bever, of member station WBUR reports.
Quote:
DR. JASPER SHEALY: We've come to several conclusions. One is that a helmet is not a panacea.

BEVER: That scientific bottom-line comes from Dr. Jasper Shealy, an international expert in winter sports safety. For 40 years, Shealy's been part of a comprehensive study of every snow injury reported at the Sugarbush ski area in Vermont. At first, it seemed that helmets weren't making a difference with the more serious injuries. But now, Shealy says he is seeing some encouraging signs.

SHEALY: Only in the last, oh, five or six years have we finally seen a reduction in what we call a potentially serious head injury.

BEVER: Shealy says such injuries have fallen by a remarkable 64 percent at Sugarbush, where almost all mountain visitors now wear a helmet. Shealy conjectures that it's only recently that the riskiest skiers who need helmets the most - young men - are consistently wearing them. It could be that their parents required them to put a lid on it back when they were first learning, and the habit stuck.

If anyone finds a link to said Sugarbush Study please post it.
post #143 of 186

I missed that post of yours Tog.  Good link, worth listening to. 

post #144 of 186
Thread Starter 

post #145 of 186

^^ Holy crap.  That was just violent.  That's the second Hoji avy video this week.

post #146 of 186

Why are irrelevant people given a platform to criticize the reality of some people's skiing.

 

And I don't know what the point of posting that video was. Normal people become involved in snow related accidents. Most avalanche incidents are just normal people touring. Just because you may personally set the bar low in your own skiing experience does not mean everyone else does.

post #147 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

^^ Holy crap.  That was just violent.  That's the second Hoji avy video this week.

 

I can't imagine a worse scenario than snow sliding off of the very first pillow you drop into.

 

However, I too am wondering what the point of the video being posted in this thread is.

post #148 of 186
^That's what happens when you gets too XTREME!!!

If only he had stuck to moguls...
post #149 of 186

^^I thought those were extreme moguls.

post #150 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post
 

Why are irrelevant people given a platform to criticize the reality of some people's skiing.

 

And I don't know what the point of posting that video was. Normal people become involved in snow related accidents. Most avalanche incidents are just normal people touring. Just because you may personally set the bar low in your own skiing experience does not mean everyone else does.

 

Because Al Gore invented the internet.

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