What's up with the born-again Luddite on my left? Isn't this the same guy who annually upgrades to a sleeker, faster, turbo-charged Audi with 3,500 hp and all the bells and whistles so he can get to the slopes a few minutes sooner? The same person who had lasers aimed at his corneas so he wouldn't have to fuss with contacts in the morning before catching first tracks? The guy who spends hours debating whether he should go with a 1- or 2-degree boot ramp angle so he can get to the bottom faster?
But now, it seems, detachable quads are sacrilege-too much technology for our own good, especially for such a social creature. Well, the Model T was a cool invention, too, Steve, but I don't see one parked in your driveway.
The concept of skiing is to ski, not to ride a lift-or to stand in a liftline, for that matter. (By the way, I'm confused by the game you play in the maze. Wouldn't you try to pick the slowest line?)
We're all facing varying degrees of time poverty, and the more runs I can get in the better. To rack up 35,000 feet of vertical in a busy morning or 70,000 in a full day is heaven to me. I love the feel of a red face and a burn in my legs after a hard day of skiing, and high-speed quads deliver those qualities in spades.
Sure, chairlift conversations are an integral part of the sport, and I've started many great friendships on the way up a mountain. But I really don't buy into the premise that four people-or even six-can't have a memorable, compelling dialogue while riding uphill. After all, if you're going to have a party, why invite just one person?
Detachables can be abused. If they're strung up in places where the terrain can't handle the additional traffic, the skiing can suffer. But if they're placed in an intelligent manner, they dramatically reduce liftlines and efficiently spread skiers around the mountain.
Four years ago, as part of SKI's 60th anniversary issue, we named the detachable quad as the greatest ski invention of the Eighties. For those who enjoy skiing as the ultimate form of transportation, that declaration still stands today. You can get your thrills going uphill. I'll get mine going down.