The time has come, the days are getting shorter, the sun is lower in the sky, and there’s a slight hint of a cool breeze in the air. Winter is on it’s way. Dreams of skiing that perfect line in the backcountry, or ripping the resort with your best friends are gathering at the forefront of your mind. You’re a true, core, skier. You’re not some tourist who spends all his time working a desk job to take that one trip out to Jackson Hole and wait in the tram line for 3 hours to ski some chopped up crud. You’re getting up there in your busted up, sticker-plastered Subaru to do donuts in the parking lot at 6:00 AM on a pow day, eating food from the lodge that someone didn’t finish. You are the one who gets first chair, you are the one who hits the top of the skin track at dawn. However, there’s a problem: Your gear is 5 years old and falling apart, and you need some new stuff. You are also broke because you ski so much in the winter that the summertime is spent saving for next winter.

We’ve all been there, skiing around on boots that hurt your feet with skis that have bases so scraped up that they barely slide, and at least one of your bindings has a brake issue. Then you see some gaper with the newest gear on the market, happily diddly-putzing around while you, a true ripper, have to make do with your old, shoddy, probably not really safe setup. No matter how much fun you’re having on the hill, how many times you say to yourself, “Better gear can’t make you ski better.” It hurts. It hurts to know that you, who have committed so much time in pursuit of a sport you love, will never be able to afford that shiny new pair of skis you’ve always wanted, and Jerry Mcgee from whichever pompous, preppy city he flew in from can buy all those beautiful pieces of equipment that you deserve.

But then, everything changes. A guardian angel swoops down from the heavens, and tells you the five words you’ve been waiting to hear, “I can hook you up!”. This people’s champion, clad in shining outerwear, tells you that he can get you the deal on that piece of gear you’ve wanted, but could never afford at those extortionate retail prices aimed at the upper middle class. This white knight could be anyone, maybe it’s someone working at a shop, who gives you a free tune up for some beer. Maybe someone you know is a pro and can sell you a prototype for pennies on the dollar, or even get you a promo code for the newest skis on the market. It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve saved, just the fact that someone cared enough about you to get you the deal is what matters. These people are the real heroes, who give those who truly want to ski exactly what they need to do what they love. They are among us every day, and bring the rest of us out of the primordial ooze of dry scraped up bases and shredded outerwear. They bathe us in the light of beautiful, new toys that will become a part of our most cherished pastime, a part of us, and are happy to do it. You never know who will become that special person in your life, but when they do, make sure you tell them thank you, from the bottom of your heart.

So, thank you!