November 2000

Features
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
Features

Missing Manners

I think Greg Trinker missed the biggest offender in "Slope Rage" (Ski Life, September 2000): too much chairlift capacity for the downhill skiing capacity. The skiing industry has produced a circular death wish: They need to sell every $60 lift ticket they can to survive, but in order to sell the tickets they need to have enough lift capacity so there are no liftlines. That produces too many skiers for the mountain to handle safely, so the skiers have a bad time and don't come back. Then the resorts need to spend more on advertising and are back to needing to sell even more $65 lift tickets next year. I do not believe there is an economic model that will allow skiing to survive in its current form. At $25 I'll put up with fair conditions; at $65 I demand perfection¿an unachievable goal in skiing.

Stephen Wells

Greenwich, Conn.

Experienced skiers will know the correct etiquette, but for novices you may have confused the issue. In "Slope Rage" you state: "Respecting mountain courtesies, such as yielding to the downhill skier..." which seems to conflict with what is stated later: "The new push focuses on inconsiderate behavior: Cutting someone off on a trail, not yielding to uphill skiers..." Yield to the uphill or downhill skier?
Rich Packard
Boulder, Colo.

Ed. Note: Our apologies to novices. Always yield to the downhill skier.

You can add my name to the list of people who have noticed a trend in ski etiquette deterioration. As a possible solution, my ski colleagues and I came up with the idea of Dude Patrol. After a few warnings by the Dude Patrol, a reckless dude would be invited to choose the option of attending Dude School or of losing a ski ticket or ski pass. Dude stands for "Do you do etiquette?" Dude School would be a little class in the ethics and etiquette of snow sliding.
Dr. Ed Lovejoy
Tucson, Ariz.

I think in the years to come we are only going to see more etiquette problems on the slopes. In a time of increasing prices, as well as lines and waits, it can only get worse. After all, when was the last time you went up to the mountains and dropped $40, only to spend over half of the day in lines: ticket, food, lift.... Just remember, we're all in the same boat. Don't take it out on the others skiers who are up there for the same reasons you are: to feel the freedom and the peace of the mountains and the fun and exhilaration of skiing.
Brittney Rhodes
Edmonds, Wash.

Worlds Apart
Thank you for printing Nathaniel Reade's and Bruce Stoff's comments in "Segregate The Slopes," (Forum, September 2000). My wife and I are of the older generation of skiers, and we've found that young snowboarders on the blues and greens have taken the fun out of skiing. We always look fearfully up the hill, and when we see snowboarders coming we pull to one side until they pass. Thanks to Alta and Deer Valley, we can enjoy skiing a few times a year. We hope that there will be an area in the East that will ban snowboarders.
Allen I. Barry
Milton, Mass.

Ed. Note: For a resort closer to home that doesn't allow boarders, try Mad River Glen, Vt.

Love and Hate
While skiing last season in North America I picked up a couple of your brilliant issues. I find them reliable, dependable, accurate, informative and revealing. They are packed with factual information not published anywhere else. They are easy to read, lavishly illustrated and fearlessly frank. My girlfriend and I believe you publish the best ski magazine for beginners, experts and all stages in between ever to come down the piste.
Gary McKirahan
via the Internet

When my long-standing subscription to Skiing magazine expired last year, I went to the web to renew, and discovered that SKI and Skiing had joined forces. Based upon your description of the difference in tenor between the twmagazines, I chose to renew with SKI. What a mistake. Just because I have matured in my reputation and can afford first-class recreation does not mean I have become brain-dead. On the contrary, I demand entertainment and information from my skiing magazine.
Vance McNeilly
San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

Beyond Whistler
I am curious why you continue to believe that Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C., is the only ski resort in western Canada (Reader Resort Survey, October 2000). There are so many equally good resorts in this part of our beautiful country. Take, for example, any of the wonderful bowls at Fernie in January and February. And Delirium Dive at Sunshine Village or the World Cup runs at Lake Louise. You can find great snow and challenging runs at any of these resorts.
Kara Penny
Calgary, Alberta

Ed. Note: Take a closer look: Lake Louise is ranked 24th and Sunshine Village is in 29th in our October resort survey. And you can read about Fernie on page 95 of this issue.

Gear Talk
After reading your Buyer's Guide, I felt left in the dark. The consumer should be given a better idea as to the number of ski models on the market. I thought the featured skis, although good performers in your eyes, may not be the best ones for me. There are many boards out there that have great reputations and large devoted followings, and they weren't mentioned. Also, three runs is not adequate to thoroughly evaluate a boot. It usually takes that long just for it to really start hurting your foot. If your testers said that a boot had a course fit and it didn't have "all day" comfort then it probably is going to be a killer.
J. Vincent Walker
Forest Hill, Md.

I am always itching to read your annual "Buyer's Guide" (September 2000) but I have found a major flaw in the way you test skis. Having former world-class racers test an entry-level ski and then reflect on it is inappropriate. Instead, you need racers to test race skis, Joe Expert to test all-mountain carvers and Joe Beginner to test entry-level skis. A first-timer's reflection of a ski deemed "slow and mellow" by an elite racer may be quite the opposite. The same method should be used for boots as well.
Matt Prescottano
Medfield, Mass

Ed. Note: The idea of using "Joe Public" has been tried many times, but we know from experience that the feedback is invariably, how shall we put it, imaginative. Testing skis¿discerning subtle nuances and, more importantly, being able to articulate them¿requires experience. (Ask any tester how good a job they did the first time they tested skis!) We have the best testers in the business, because of¿and despite the fact that¿they are some of the best skiers. Most have spent long hours instructing novices; they have friends and family who are novices; some of them even remember when THEY were novices. Trust them. As for the skis we review: Manufacturers pick their best skis to enter; we pick the best of the best.

Why was there not a single fat ski in your Buyer's Guide, especially considering who your typical reader is?
Mark Fuller
Jackson, Wyo.

Ed. Note: In a perfect world, powder skis would be all anyone ever needed. The reality is that true fatties (say, over 85 mm at the waist) are a tiny fraction of the market. And the new, wide Freerider skis that we do review are excellent in powder and on corduroy.

In your Buyer's Guide, you manage to review well over 40 skis, and not one of the skis you review would be considered by anyone with any knowledge at all to be even an average mogul ski. The myth that the so called "shaped skis" do well in the bumps is just that...a myth. Also, not one binding you review would be considered a good setup for even a casual mogul skier. Bumpers want flex, not stiffness made even more stiff by plates.
Joe Monahan
Boston, Mass.

Ed. Note: You're right. As great as the new shapes are, bumps are a weakness. They're too wide in the tail. But the pros outweigh that con. And demand for pure mogul skis isn't there right now. Maybe if more bump bashers like you sound off, manufacturers will listen. Meanwhile see page 136 of the Buyer's Guide for a list of the best mogul skis out there. No pure mogul skis, perhaps, but who's got the knees to bump all day?

Attn: Bootmakers
Ihope someone hears John Fry's call for knee-saving equipment ("The Tyranny of Performance," In My View, September 2000). I recently moved to the West from the flatlands where I grew up, and I was anxious to learn how to ski. Since then, I've suffered two ACL injuries¿one skiing-related and one not¿and consequent surgeries and rehab. I would still love to learn how to ski, but I am terrified of another knee injury. My ego is strong enough to admit that I don't need to emulate racers and don't care if low, soft boots reduce performance. I just want to get on the mountain¿without needing surgery to get off.
Kate Hoskinson
Spokane, Wash.

I am familiar with the ACL-injury-avoidance training video mentioned in John Fry's article, as I see it every year at Mt. Sunapee where I work as an instructor on the weekends. You mentioned that you thought it would be impractical to educate the millions of skiers about Carl Ettlinger's ideas. Well, how about this: Suppose boot manufacturers printed cards, about the size of a ski resort brochure, which contained the two or three main points (along with illustrative pictures) on avoiding ACL injuries? I think that this form of information dispersal could go a long way to help reduce injuries.
Stephen W. Robertshaw
Derry, N.H.

John Fry replies: Thanks for your suggestion. It's something boot makers should do, although I suspect their attorneys might advise them to the contrary. That's the kind of idiotic world of litigation potential in which we live. I hope I'm wrong.

I have a better solution to kneeprotection than John Fry suggests in "The Tyranny of Performance." After having an ACL repaired from a skiing injury, I did find skiing equipment that protects my knees. It's tele-skiing equipment! The boots are low and soft (beware the trend toward higher, stiffer boots), the binding can release and only the toe is attached. In any case, the heel comes up as a natural part of turning. In the past 20 years of tele-skiing, I have not had a single injury. It's been a great way to enjoy skiing while decreasing the chance of knee injury.
Barbara Scott
Concord, N.H.

John Fry's excellent article on ACL injuries certainly hit home: My 14-year-old daughter, a J3 racer, tore her ACL this past February while racing on an excellent course at Gunstock, N.H. As a racer, she cannot be competitive on softer boots, thus the stiffer boots. What worries me is that she is ready to return to skiing with those same boots. However, if there could be a boot that is stiff enough for competition, yet able to recognize the forces acting on the knee, these devastating injuries could be prevented. Will ski equipment manufacturers keep the racers as well as the recreational skiers in mind when designing "knee proof equipment"?
Monique Lowd
Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Swank Vs. Spartan
Nathaniel Reade's article "Death by Powder" (September 2000) was so hilarious that I was literally howling. "Why go swank?" is the ultimate question. You can keep your Vails, your Aspens, your Deer Valleys and other areas teeming with the affluent. Instead, give me the smaller, hard to get to areas that are less crowded and easier on the pocket. That is where I can still enjoy the sport of skiing in the true sense of the word.
Joseph Henry
Virginia Beach, Va.

I felt that Fred Smith's article really captured the essence of Deer Valley ("The Deer Val. Note: You're right. As great as the new shapes are, bumps are a weakness. They're too wide in the tail. But the pros outweigh that con. And demand for pure mogul skis isn't there right now. Maybe if more bump bashers like you sound off, manufacturers will listen. Meanwhile see page 136 of the Buyer's Guide for a list of the best mogul skis out there. No pure mogul skis, perhaps, but who's got the knees to bump all day?

Attn: Bootmakers
Ihope someone hears John Fry's call for knee-saving equipment ("The Tyranny of Performance," In My View, September 2000). I recently moved to the West from the flatlands where I grew up, and I was anxious to learn how to ski. Since then, I've suffered two ACL injuries¿one skiing-related and one not¿and consequent surgeries and rehab. I would still love to learn how to ski, but I am terrified of another knee injury. My ego is strong enough to admit that I don't need to emulate racers and don't care if low, soft boots reduce performance. I just want to get on the mountain¿without needing surgery to get off.
Kate Hoskinson
Spokane, Wash.

I am familiar with the ACL-injury-avoidance training video mentioned in John Fry's article, as I see it every year at Mt. Sunapee where I work as an instructor on the weekends. You mentioned that you thought it would be impractical to educate the millions of skiers about Carl Ettlinger's ideas. Well, how about this: Suppose boot manufacturers printed cards, about the size of a ski resort brochure, which contained the two or three main points (along with illustrative pictures) on avoiding ACL injuries? I think that this form of information dispersal could go a long way to help reduce injuries.
Stephen W. Robertshaw
Derry, N.H.

John Fry replies: Thanks for your suggestion. It's something boot makers should do, although I suspect their attorneys might advise them to the contrary. That's the kind of idiotic world of litigation potential in which we live. I hope I'm wrong.

I have a better solution to kneeprotection than John Fry suggests in "The Tyranny of Performance." After having an ACL repaired from a skiing injury, I did find skiing equipment that protects my knees. It's tele-skiing equipment! The boots are low and soft (beware the trend toward higher, stiffer boots), the binding can release and only the toe is attached. In any case, the heel comes up as a natural part of turning. In the past 20 years of tele-skiing, I have not had a single injury. It's been a great way to enjoy skiing while decreasing the chance of knee injury.
Barbara Scott
Concord, N.H.

John Fry's excellent article on ACL injuries certainly hit home: My 14-year-old daughter, a J3 racer, tore her ACL this past February while racing on an excellent course at Gunstock, N.H. As a racer, she cannot be competitive on softer boots, thus the stiffer boots. What worries me is that she is ready to return to skiing with those same boots. However, if there could be a boot that is stiff enough for competition, yet able to recognize the forces acting on the knee, these devastating injuries could be prevented. Will ski equipment manufacturers keep the racers as well as the recreational skiers in mind when designing "knee proof equipment"?
Monique Lowd
Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Swank Vs. Spartan
Nathaniel Reade's article "Death by Powder" (September 2000) was so hilarious that I was literally howling. "Why go swank?" is the ultimate question. You can keep your Vails, your Aspens, your Deer Valleys and other areas teeming with the affluent. Instead, give me the smaller, hard to get to areas that are less crowded and easier on the pocket. That is where I can still enjoy the sport of skiing in the true sense of the word.
Joseph Henry
Virginia Beach, Va.

I felt that Fred Smith's article really captured the essence of Deer Valley ("The Deer Valley Way," September 2000), but one myth that needs to be dispelled is that the resort's clientele are rich, stuck-up snobs. Some are well-to-do and some aren't. It seems to be an unwritten rule that money, possessions and personal successes are not discussed on the chairlifts with those riding along. During the time that we have spent there, we have not met anyone on the staff or another guest who was not friendly and courteous.
Normandie Mindheim
Heber City, Utah

Lining Up
Kudos for "standing corrected" in your article entitled "Aligned For Success" (Buyer's Guide, September 2000). I am a physical therapist with a background in biomechanics, so I know that alignment makes a big difference. It adjusts your individual anatomical faults and gets you balanced on two flat skis. From there one can learn to edge and carve. Last year I attended Harold Harb's All Mountain Camp. The first day we underwent an alignment session both on and off the snow. Getting dialed into my equipment was just the boost I needed to take my skiing to the next level. I'd recommend his program to all your readers.
Maria Fermoile
Fresno, Calif.

Missed Opportunity
As an American with no ties to the Czech or Slovak republics, I would like to weigh in on Nathaniel Reade's "Beauty and the Bleak" (March/April 2000). In summer '99, my wife and I stayed in the much maligned Grand Hotel in Stary Smokovek. We found the exterior of the hotel to be impressive, the bedrooms spotlessly clean if a bit spartan. The hotel restaurant served a first-rate five-course meal with drinks for about $9 each, including tip. More importantly, the mountains that surround the town have an outstanding system of trails and trams. The people that we met were consistently warm and friendly; the area was safe and clean. You had a great opportunity to show us a great emerging region. Too bad.
Mike Feeney
Canterbury, N.H.

For The Record

In "Summit's Secret" (Ski Towns, September 2000), the wrong phone numbers were given for the Galena Street Mountain Inn and the Creekside Inn. The correct numbers are 970-668-3224 and 970-668-5607, respectively. The Creekside Inn web address is www.creeksideinn-frisco.com.

The 2002 Olympic aerial events will not be held on the Solid Muldoon run as stated in "The Deer Valley Way" (September 2000), but rather on the White Owl run.

"Staying Alive" (Healthy Skier, September 2000) gave the incorrect location of Tuckerman Ravine, which is in New Hampshire. Valley Way," September 2000), but one myth that needs to be dispelled is that the resort's clientele are rich, stuck-up snobs. Some are well-to-do and some aren't. It seems to be an unwritten rule that money, possessions and personal successes are not discussed on the chairlifts with those riding along. During the time that we have spent there, we have not met anyone on the staff or another guest who was not friendly and courteous.
Normandie Mindheim
Heber City, UtahLining Up
Kudos for "standing corrected" in your article entitled "Aligned For Success" (Buyer's Guide, September 2000). I am a physical therapist with a background in biomechanics, so I know that alignment makes a big difference. It adjusts your individual anatomical faults and gets you balanced on two flat skis. From there one can learn to edge and carve. Last year I attended Harold Harb's All Mountain Camp. The first day we underwent an alignment session both on and off the snow. Getting dialed into my equipment was just the boost I needed to take my skiing to the next level. I'd recommend his program to all your readers.
Maria Fermoile
Fresno, Calif. Missed Opportunity
As an American with no ties to the Czech or Slovak republics, I would like to weigh in on Nathaniel Reade's "Beauty and the Bleak" (March/April 2000). In summer '99, my wife and I stayed in the much maligned Grand Hotel in Stary Smokovek. We found the exterior of the hotel to be impressive, the bedrooms spotlessly clean if a bit spartan. The hotel restaurant served a first-rate five-course meal with drinks for about $9 each, including tip. More importantly, the mountains that surround the town have an outstanding system of trails and trams. The people that we met were consistently warm and friendly; the area was safe and clean. You had a great opportunity to show us a great emerging region. Too bad.
Mike Feeney
Canterbury, N.H. For The Record

In "Summit's Secret" (Ski Towns, September 2000), the wrong phone numbers were given for the Galena Street Mountain Inn and the Creekside Inn. The correct numbers are 970-668-3224 and 970-668-5607, respectively. The Creekside Inn web address is www.creeksideinn-frisco.com.

The 2002 Olympic aerial events will not be held on the Solid Muldoon run as stated in "The Deer Valley Way" (September 2000), but rather on the White Owl run.

"Staying Alive" (Healthy Skier, September 2000) gave the incorrect location of Tuckerman Ravine, which is in New Hampshire.