|Originally posted by Tag:
... I get a great mental picture of this slightly overweight guy with a cigar clamped in his teeth, wearing his Bogner one-piece, stopping at the top of the bowls at Vail (of course), turning and calling out: "Oh Caddie, bring me my fatties! Oh, and repair that sitzmark, please." ...
Out of curiosity, how many of you that say you have a garage full (or maybe just a couple of pairs) of skis actually bring your full 'quiver' of skis to the hill every time and how many actually change their skis during the day? More than twice? Three times? Four or more?
Tag - You are dastardly! Now I will never be able to get your image of the hypothetical cigar-chomping, bogner-clad guy out of my mind. That was great! You should be a cartoonist.
However, with respect to your last series of questions, I think you missed the point a bit, at least from the point of view of an extreme gear freak like me.
Obviously, no one ever changes skis 5 times per day, and no one ever brings their complete quiver to the mountain.
Rather, what happens in my case is that if I know its going to be a hardpack day, I'll probably bring my 9.16's and p40's. If I'm heading out to Whistler or for a late season ski trip in slush, I'll bring a midfat and possibly my Explosiv's. If I'm noodling around with slower people on easy snow, probably just my Enemies, etc. etc. If something changes, and I discover that I have made the "wrong" choice, I don't freak out, I just do like most everyone else and keep on skiing on no matter what is attached to my feet. A given pair of skis may be pretty far from "optimal" for the conditions and use, but you can always get them to work at least at some level.
I clearly don't *need* all these different types of skis to get down the mountain, its just that I really enjoy savoring and experiencing the unique performance of each, as well as comparing and contrasting them. Speaking only for myself, I find the desire to play with different skis to be quite analogous to some people wanting to have 5 different types of wine in the house, others owning a bunch of "enthusiast" cars or a bunch of lenses (instead of one zoom) for their camera. Sure, you can get by just having one of each of these things around, but what fun is that?
I also find it extremely good training to experiment with what happens when you use the "wrong" ski for the conditions. For example, once, for yucks, I skied boilerplate and moguls with my 95 mm (waist width) Explosivs. Needless to say, I got many odd looks. With respect to ice, I found that I couldn't carve to save myself with these fatties, but if I reverted back to 1970's style straight-ski skidded turns, they did just fine (albeit making a horrible racket in the process). With respect to moguls, if I changed technique from carving around each bump to straightforward pivoting, slowed down even more than usual, AND applied a lot more torque to them on every turn, I could get down the mogul field just fine.
HOWEVER, on days when I just want to relax, have an easy ride, and *not* experiment, there is no way you would ever find me on my fatties on an icy day, or on my p40's in powder, even though I learned to ski powder a couple of decades ago at Alta/Bird on 207-ish, stiff-as-a-board Volkl Zebras (and probably could still do it today if I really had to).
I find that gaining experience with a variety of skis is like gaining experience by skiing on different terrain, in different snow conditions, etc. It gives you a tremendous insight into how skis really work. You become very good at quickly figuring out how to quickly get the best out of a given ski / snow combination. Thus, it drags you up into being a more versatile, more sensitive and generally better skier than you would be otherwise. Experience on a wide variety of ski types also makes you a much better consumer (altho, I think I'm already quite good enough at that task - grin), and allows you not to be swayed by the latest marketing hype. For example, I am quite proud that I don't think I have ever bought a pair of skis for more than about $350, most were *much* less than that, and over the years, any that I have re-sold brought in almost the same amount that I paid.
Anyway, that's what I tell myself. Hello, my name is Tom and I am a gearaholic...
Tom / PM