Earlier this season, I skied my trusty Fatypus D Sender 194s for the last time. I don't even remember how the day went, what the conditions were, or what I had done that day. In all likelihood, it was probably a day where I hot lapped groomers on an icy, somewhat cloudy day. Maybe I had a drink at the bar, maybe I jumped off some things, maybe I fell over. What I do know is that without even thinking about it, those beautiful sticks went down the hill for the last time under my feet.
I had always thought I'd take them out again at some point on a deeper day this season, but until last weekend, that day never came. 3 weeks before that weekend, I had taken the bindings off of them and given them to someone who needed good, used bindings far more than I did. They took the skis too since I didn't trust myself to not strip the binding screws taking them off. I just got them back last night, naked for the first time in 3 years, and thought to myself, "You did good boys," giving the grizzled warriors a pat on the back. I remember taking them out of the cardboard box they came in, bought on mega discount for 270 bucks off of a now defunct website called Nevergroomed. They came with DVD copies of The Hitlist, Higher Ground, and a letter from the owner. They were the first pair of skis I had ever bought with my own money, and damn were they the most beautiful planks I'd ever set eyes on. I remember taking them out for the first time, in awe of the newfound power under my feet, feeling the enormous turn radius coming around. I remember the first powder day, experiencing the float 112 underfoot and 194 length provides with 140 mm in the tips. I remember the triumphs, stomping new cliffs for the first time, speeding over huge gaps, taking them through the narrowest of straight lines, and stomping my first backflip on a sunny spring day. I remember the falls, 2 major ones coming out of a hairy zone with a 15 foot air into a mandatory straightline on a hardpack day. I thought I'd be injured for sure on one of those, but somehow I was just fine. I remember losing a ski on a powder day jumping off a cliff I stomped twice the week prior. After some brief thought as to how and why I had crashed, I found myself trolling around with my poles outstretched to either side, shoulders burning. I combed through 2 feet of fresh snow for an hour, looking for the other half of my most prized possessions. When I finally felt my right pole hit something ski-like, after I had almost given up hope, I was so happy I could have jumped 2 feet out of that snow in ski boots. Those skis became a part of me, scratches in the base and chips in the topsheet told stories of what I had accomplished each day. Earlier this year, a couple of teenagers came up to me, and asked me if I was BigPurpleSkiSuit. I had no idea how they recognized me at first, I was in a different kit, just standing next to the parking lot. They explained that nobody else rides Fatypus skis like those at Snowbird. They remembered them flying through the air under my feet over the Blackjack Moto 2 years prior. I'm not a pro skier, or even a great skier, I don't have fans, but it was nice that someone recognized me from the skis that I'd been on for the past few years.
This year, I've made 2 ski purchases that I'm very happy with thus far. I can't say I was a worm in horseradish on my old sticks, but you don't recognize just how worn out old skis are until you get on new ones. My old Dsenders have had their glory days, and are now completely decambered. with the topsheets chipped to hell and holes where the bindings used to be. Maybe someday, I'll mount them up again for nostalgias sake, to feel that giant turn radius on spring corn, but somehow I know that experience would never never match up to my memory of them. So for now, they'll take their place as the first ski in my hall of fame. I'll never throw them away, or give them away. Every time I look at them, I'm reminded of how special they were, and still are.