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I want to be the King of Skiing. I want to be the sovereign of snow sliding, the grand poobah of powder. I want to be Les Otten on steroids. And before you go getting all Thomas Jefferson on me, let me point out that democracy hasn’t done all that much for the sport so far: You remember neon, don’t you?
Now, I realize life as slope supremo won’t be all hot tubs and powder mornings — uneasy skis the head that wears a crown-but I know I’m up to the job. And I will be a benevolent despot: The reign of Allen the Great will be known for more than scoring free skis, usurping parking spots, and cutting lift lines. No, I will change the sport, and change it for the better. Consider this my platform, my manifesto — 51 modest proposals for dragging skiing, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century, subject, of course, to change without notice.
1. Issue one get-out-of-jail-free-with-the-ski-patrol card with every season pass.
2. Change the eligibility requirements of the 70+ ski club to dog years, but only for those willing to bark in public.
3. Place Mad River Glen on the National Register of Historic Places.
4. Ban stretch pants for guys.
5. Ban stretch pants for girls…with the possible exception of Cindy Crawford.
6. Make heli-ski operators provide need-based scholarships.
7. Assign four NASA rocket scientists to design a binding that actually prevents blown ACLs.
8. Put Dr. Richard Steadman on every skier’s HMO, just in case.
9. Make ski thievery, pole thievery, and my-seat-in-the-cafeteria thievery punishable by life in prison or a week of continuous Living Single reruns.
10. Prohibit any knucklehead who ducks a rope from suing the ski area that put it there.
11. Open the millennial Cannes Film Festival with a special screening of Ski Lift to Death.
12. Teach avalanche awareness in elementary school, right after sex education.
13. Do whatever it takes to give skiing its own Tiger Woods.
14. Make every snowboarder try skiing for a week.
15. Make every skier try snowboarding for a week.
16. Make Jeremy Nobis try skiboarding for a week.
17. Inaugurate a Concorde route from New York to Jackson Hole.
18. Declare Los Lobos’ “High Places” the official song of skiing.
19. Issue orthotics at birth.
20. Make ski football an exhibition sport in the next Winter Olympics.
21. Prohibit everyone except ski-area employees from wearing hats, shirts, or jackets bearing the name of a resort.
22. Make an IOU an acceptable form of payment for a lift ticket.
23. Declare a tequila shot with a Gatorade chaser the official drink of skiing and name it the Rehydrator.
24. Put a humidifier in every ski-resort hotel room.
25. Start skiing’s own Boxing Day tradition: On December 26, lift ops run the show, and resort CEOs bus trays in the cafeteria.
26. Ban Oprah Winfrey, Christie Brinkley, and every member of the British royal family from every ski area, everywhere.
27. Carve Phil Mahre’s face on Mount Rushmore, right next to George Washington.
28. Carve Steve Mahre’s face on Mount Rushmore, right next to Abraham Lincoln.
29. Let Seth Morrison huck himself off Steve’s nose.
30. Expand the scope of due process to include ski-area cafeterias: If you can’t make a positive ID, it’s free.
31. Let everyone drive a groomer at least once.
32. Let everyone steal the distributor cap off a groomer at least once.
33. Install a “Skis Only” lane in New York State Thruway tollbooths.
34. Declare duct tape the eighth wonder of the modern world.
35. Make airlines install overhead compartments big enough to fit not only a boot bag, but also a ski bag filled with skis, poles, and your ski buddy who couldn’t afford the airfare.
36. Institute a liberal, but strictly enforced, body-fat cutoff for admission to hot tubs.
37. Ban the wearing of fur on ski slopes-except for avalanche dogs.
38. Make winter driving a requirement for getting a license, just like parallel parking.
39. Confiscate all headbands.
40. Lobby hard, when the time comes, for Pope Alberto I.
41. Install turnstiles at the top of the hill on powder days.
42. Require all skiers to tune their own skis at least once.
43. Acknowledge publicly that yodelers are just as annoying as mimes.
44. Reserve every fourth car on every gondola for couples only, complete with tinted windows, sheepskin seat covers, and piped-in Barry White.
45. Make ski racers wear colors that are found in nature.
46. Put a ski area in Antarctica.
47. Put a ski area in Central Park.
48. Bring back wineskins.
49. Outlaw cell phones on the slopes…except for calling in sick on powder days.
50. Encourage everyone to ski more and kvetch less.
51. Pull the ticket of everyone who doesn’t.