My history with skis is convoluted and sordid, some would say I’ve had dalliances with too many pairs of skis, others would note that I seem to have a “type” and still others would just shake their head with disgust at the rash choices I’ve made. But every pair of skis I’ve ridden has given me something, shaped me in some way, so here’s my reckoning.
To the blue Salomon X Screams
Thank you for being free at that yardsale when I was ten. Thank you for coming with matching boots that I could fit my feet into. I never skied you at a resort, but I shuffled up and down the driveway, never turning, just carrying momentum out into the flats before I herringboned my way back to the top. You were my first skis, you weren’t great, but neither was I.
To the Hooger Booger Snowboard with the pink feather on the bottom
Thanks for teaching me I’m not a snowboarder. I tried so hard. I thought snowboarding was so much cooler than skiing. I’d hike up the highest hill in town and then straightline down with my Sorrells strapped into your bindings. I learned 180’s and grabs in the backyard, before I spent one day trying to snowboard at a resort and realized standing sideways wasn’t for me. Thanks for delivering my first bad ankle sprain, an injury that haunts me to this day. Snowboarding is cool, but I am not, and thanks to you, I understand that.
To the Head Ski Blades I got at the Thrift Store
Thank you for costing $2.50, and being available the week I learned who Shane McConkey was. I bought those blades, used a hacksaw to cut the brake arms off some free bindings from a yardsale, and performed my first-ever home mount. Those blades made me feel comfortable making turns on groomers, and jumping off cat tracks. I loved them. I got called a lot of names because I rode those blades. And most of those names turned out to be accurate, but that’s a different story. Thank you for starting my lifelong infatuation with tiny skis. I’m still mad about that time I ejected and one of the blades went all the way down and hit the lodge building without me. That sucked.
To the Volkl Expression V’s I got off Craigslist
Thanks for being my first twin tips. I was convinced I wanted to be a park skier, and these were park skis. They had a basketball player in the graphic, which my dad thought was cool, and demo bindings, which I thought were cool.
The second day I ever rode them a foot long section of edge came out underfoot. I hadn’t even hit a rail yet. The ski shop told me it would cost more to fix them than the skis were worth, so I filled the edge with epoxy and skied them another two years. That lack of edge might contribute to me still not knowing quite what to do with my edges.
To the K2 Silencers
These were the first brand new skis I ever bought. I don’t remember ever really liking them, but they were park skis, and I still wanted to be a park skier. The Carhartt sticker I put on them was pretty cool, and one of the brakes snapping off on a 180 led me, in a roundabout way to writing and drawing about skiing for a living. So, sorry I never really liked skiing on you, Silencers, but you served a purpose.
To the Atomic Blog
You were the ski that made it all click for me. The Blog was perfect, wide, light, rockered, poppy. I felt like a superhero on these, learned to ski pow, learned to ski steep terrain, left the resort boundaries for the first time. This was a ski of many firsts for me: first frontflip, first 360, and first backflip, all on the Blog. I still miss this ski.
These skis were so great
A girl I was really into forgot to close the ski rack when I picked her up to drive to the hill, and my Blogs blew out on the highway. They were chewed up but still skiable, so I rode them for another two years. I tried to get them mounted with touring bindings just a couple years ago, and the shop told me the core was snapped in two places and they refused to drill holes in them. But even though they met a tragic fate, this is the ski I think about the most. Atomic, bring back the Blog!
To the K2 Shreditor 112
With the Blogs dead, I finally bought a pair of skis that fit my height, the 189 cm Shreditor 112. I bought Guardians off NS, and had my first touring setup. This ski was a revelation, all the fun of the Blog, but I could go faster and take more chances. I still remember how it felt like my hips were dislocating every time I tried to shifty though.
Not really a touring ski
Those skis took me to some incredible places. I did my first backcountry day on them, grabbed my first summits, skied my first puckery no-fall-zones, and they did it all with grace. I didn’t like the graphic, so I repainted them, then retired them, and then brought them out of retirement a few times. They’re in the garage, riddled with holes, my partner won’t let me hang them in the living room. Every time I ski the new Reckoner 112, I remember how great its ancestor was.
To the ON3P Steeple 102
The Shreditors convinced me that I needed a dedicated touring ski so I bought some old Steeples off their namesake and put Dynafit Speed Turns on them. On my second run ever skiing them I tried to show off for some girls and caught a tip in the low snowpack. I snapped the core about a foot from the tip, but in typical ON3P fashion, they still held up. I didn’t have money for new skis, so I toured all winter on them with that broken tip.
Broken tip, no idea where we were going, no problem
I did all of my first big days in the Tetons on that broken ski. It would flop alarmingly at high speeds, but I wasn’t ever really skiing fast. I tomahawked down a few couloirs because it would catch at weird times though. The Steeple was a good ski, but not a good ski for me. But it was my first flirtation with tech bindings, which were a revelation.
To all the skis I reviewed for Blister
There are too many of you to count, sorry, this was a promiscuous time in my life. Some of you were awesome, skis that taught me about myself and how I want to ski. Some of you really sucked (looking at you G3 Synapse). Most of these skis are just footnotes in my history as a skier. Reviews I did for work. I fell in love with a few, Moment’s Bibby Tour, ON3P’s Kartel 116, but ultimately I moved on from all of them. Sometimes a boy just needs to sow some wild oats, and these skis all let me do that.
To the Moment Deathwish
Thanks for coming along, for the right price, at a time in my life where I really didn’t need to buy skis. I had an embarrassment of riches of review skis sitting in the garage, but for some reason I grabbed those used Deathwishes of Facebook, and my trajectory as a skier changed. I used to be content to bring a new ski to the hill every day, dealing with its weaknesses and trying to find any strengths to write home about. The Deathwish ruined me. It still feels like a perfect extension of my body. It made me not care so much about trying new skis anymore, when I had something so perfect waiting for me at home.
To the Moment Deathwish Tour
I was over touring skis and you resurrected my faith in light but capable and fun options. Most of the most important days in the mountains in my life involve these skis strapped to my feet or my back. They did it all so well. Thank you for giving me the confidence to stop worrying about skiing big lines without crashing, and instead try to ski them with some semblance of speed and fluidity.
To Sego’s Skiblades
Thanks for fueling a bad idea. Thanks for helping me get weird instead of jaded. Ultimately these may have been a stepping stone to something lighter and more focused, but they provided me with a resounding proof of concept, and proved to me that I could have more fun on tiny skis.
To Full Send’s Skiblades
I got to shape you in my image, and for that I apologize. I’ve never gotten to ride something I designed before, and it turns out, it’s a pretty great feeling. You make me feel so natural, so comfortable, so capable. I can’t wait to get weird!
To whatever’s next
I haven’t met you yet, I have no idea what you’ll be. Maybe my next fling will be with a stupid fat powder ski, or an ultralight touring weapon, or maybe even a narrow inbounds ripper. Regardless, I can’t wait to meet you, hopefully you’ll shape who I am as a skier.
To all the skis I’ve loved before: Thank you. Thanks for the turns, the good ones and the bad. I’m sorry for the core shots, the missed wax days, the topsheet chipping, and the occasional bushwhacking. You shaped how I see the mountains, and I’ll always be grateful for that.