Lurked for a few weeks, and now just joined. I love this site. It's gives me something to do while I'm at work!
I grew up in Kansas, but fortunately for me my mom grew up in Berkeley and was a big ski bum. I still remember her metal Heads and leather boots in the garage when I was a kid. I skied about as much as I could for a kid living in Kansas City starting around age 8. Every x-mas and spring break was spent skiing, and when I was in high school we'd take lots of weekend trips too. Hop on a sleeper bus after school Friday, ski Sat, Sun, sleep on the bus and be home in time for school Monday morning.
After college in Wisconsin where I didn't get much skiing in at all, I spent a year working in a ski shop in Berkeley, and hitting Tahoe 2-3 days a week (whenever I wasn't working!). I probably learned more that year than in all my years before. I was introduced to real powder, skied lots of different skis, different brands, different types, etc, though now I realize I was limited to what we had in our shop and demo fleet (Atomic, Fischer, Volkl, Salomon, Head) so I don't know much about Dynastar, K2, Elan, etc.
Since that magical season (2000-2001) I got a 'real' job, got married, moved back to Kansas and now have 3 kids. My wife knows how much I love skiing (though she doesn't really understand why I have 6 pairs of skis in the garage) and she lets me sneak away at least once a year for a few days. I could ski more if these kids didn't seem to suck money out of my pocket all the time! They are lucky they are so cute...
Anyway, I guess that's my story. I am truly passionate about skiing, but other than my one glorious season, have never felt like I got to ski enough. I am a gear junkie too, but since I don't get as many days as I'd like I feel guilty feeding that habit. This site lets me live vicariously though and that will have to do until I can afford more ski trips!