Someone may have a blast and a great big smile on his face as he pounds randomly on a piano. But that doesn't make it music. You may get your kicks from taking off your clothes, covering yourself in finger paint, and rolling around on a big piece of paper, for all I know. But that doesn't make you an artist--or your work art! You may be the world's worst tennis player and still have a GREAT time playing tennis--but you won't find your picture on the cover of TENNIS magazine.
That photographs of poor technique (I have not seen the one referred to here, on the cover of Ski Mag, so I'll withhold judgement on that one) have become so widespread indicates the general lack of understanding of what good ski technique IS, especially in the US. Sure, it's great that these people are having fun. But what inspires ME is someone who can really do it well--whatever "it" may be.
I submit that, no matter how much fun you're having on skis, you would enjoy it even more if you were better at it--and I'm referring to everyone on the slopes, at any level, including myself.
I understand that it is quite different in Japan, where most skiers are extremely technically aware and fanatical--probably to a fault--about good technique. Their magazines are filled with extensive technical articles, copiously illustrated with photographs and photo-sequences of great skiers demonstrating excellent skiing. And these people ALSO have smiles on their faces!
And I think that THAT is really the point, isn't it? Better skiing--technically--is not only more efficient, safer, with a greater margin of control, and of course faster in a race course. It is also MORE FUN! As evidence, I challenge anyone to find me someone who wishes he/she skied less well. Show me a person who, after learning better technique, wishes he HADN'T learned it!
Furthermore, poor technique, fun as it may be at first, loses its appeal eventually. Plateaus, "intermediate ruts," stagnation, and frustration, or at least boredom--not to mention injuries--usually lie ahead for people who ski "incorrectly." Good ski technique is NOT entirely subjective!
We'd all love to ski better, wouldn't we? Once we understand or recognize a move or a technique as "better," don't we aspire to it? Some of us may not want it badly enough to put in the time and effort to acquire it. Some may lack the athletic ability or the opportunity to achieve the level they desire. And for sure, many simply don't know what better technique looks like in the first place. That's a matter of education. But we'd all like to ski better if we could.
And that's why I agree with you, PhysicsMan. It is unfortunate that so many people will never achieve the great technique--and the joy that accompanies it--of which they are capable, simply because magazines like SKI glorify poor technique.
In this country, we understand football, baseball, basketball, and such. Magazines like Sports Illustrated put great athletes performing stunning acts of athleticism and skill on their covers. Most of us would seriously question a photograph of a football player playing badly, or an unskilled pitcher throwing awkwardly, even with a huge smile, if it appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated--because we KNOW BETTER! When you know better about ski technique, the attitude changes there too.
Sure, you could argue that it's elitist. Perhaps it is. But I think it is a great disservice to skiers everywhere to glorify poor technique on the cover of a major and influential magazine. It perpetuates myths, it "mis-educates." It prevents people from aspiring to or seeking the better technique that will make their skiing even MORE enjoyable.
So no, Terrapin--there is more to "the point" than just having fun--isn't there, really? Fun is great, but magazine covers are for the place for fun and GREATNESS! Yes, I'd agree that SKI Magazine should put people on their cover who are having fun, at least. But skiing is a skill sport, a technical sport. So that person with the huge grin should also be demonstrating great technique. Why not--there are certainly plenty of great skiers out there having lots of fun!