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May/June 2000


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Flatlands To Slopes

I chuckled at the article about the bus ski trip from Kansas to Colorado (“The Magic Bus,” March/ April 2000). Our family has been making that lonely trek for the past five years from Paris, Texas, to Steamboat Springs, Colo. We used to fly, but were instantly hooked once we made that first 20-hour drive. We wouldn’t trade our Christmas voyage and the exciting things we see along the way for a crowded airplane.

Carole Fowler

Paris, Texas

High-Speed Control
I can relate to Andy Bigford’s article “Fast And Safe” (From The Top, March/April 2000) because I’m on a high school ski team and often get shunned for skiing fast. Though we may look scary descending the hill without turning, we are in control even at high speeds.
Daniel Ryan
Traverse City, Mich.

After ski patrolling for 20 years, I’ve rarely had a problem with a racer but have seen plenty of athletic young kids who think they can ski when they really don’t have a clue. These are the real menaces on the slopes. I only hope that safety patrols have the knowledge to know the difference between competent skiers carving high-speed turns and the guys who are nothing more than accidents waiting to happen.
Dave Irons
Westbrook, Maine

I’m glad to see that there are some people out there who realize that skiing fast is not only a rush, but it can be safe. Some ski instructors and patrollers need to remember why they started skiing in the first place: Skiing fast is fun.
Jon Seelig
Columbus, Ohio

Fast and safe is possible, but how do you tell an aggressive, adult man that he’s out of control and that he ought to do something about it? Awareness solves problems, but I don’t think it helps to show readers how the experts do it. The separation in skill level between the average skier and Felix McGrath is enormous.
Alton Winkelman
The Canyons, Utah

Thank you Andy Bigford for standing up for fast skiers. Mountains have designated areas for beginners, mogul skiers and powder hounds, but there is no place for fast skiers. I agree that fast is not synonymous with out-of-control skiing and at 81 years old, my all-time biggest thrill is getting airborne on groomed trails. I try to do this in a safe manner, but fast skiers, and slow skiers are a bad mix. Let’s hear it for designated areas for fast skiing¿with helmets, of course.
Stan Dudley
Ellensburg, Wash.

Heart Of Our Sport
I knew Serge Lange (John Fry’s “Death of a Ski Man,” March/April 2000) for only a short time, but he immediately made an impression on me. I am a firm believer in knowing your roots and think it’s important to continue to inform people about skiing’s history. I love the New School phenomenon. But the New School would be No School without the Old School!
AJ Kitt
Four-Time U.S. Olympian
Denver, Colo.

Pro Phone
I would like to ski in fantasy land with the three gentlemen who wrote against cell-phone use on the slopes (Liftlines, March/April 2000). I am lucky enough to live and work 10 minutes from a great ski area and if I can steal a few hours from work to go skiing, then the cell phone is a small price to pay. It sure beats being stuck at your desk waiting for that one call that might bring in a huge deal. I would imagine most skiers¿real skiers anyway¿will agree that skiing is better than working. I also enjoy calling my friends while they’re working to tell them what they’re missing.
Steven Strauss
Coplay, Pa.

Just Get Along
The article about Nike’s “Free the Snow” protest to pressure ski-only resorts (Taos, N.M., Alta, Utah, and Aspen, Colo.) to allow snowboarding really bothered me (“NIKE to Ski-Only Resorts: Just Do It,” March/April 2000). Nike stepping in to aid so-called underdog snowboarders to give them equal rights to a ski mountain iss a joke. There are places that skiers can’t go to at resorts, such as terrain parks, but boarders can go anywhere they want on the mountain. Some mountains may not allow boarders, but that’s just the attitude of the mountain owners. As long as big businesses are sticking their noses in where they don’t belong, problems are just going to continue.
Brian Battencourt
Glassboro, N.J.

The Real Thing
Thanks for the great article, “Little Glory, Big Guts,” about the professional members of the National Ski Patrol (February 2000). These mountain heroes deserve recognition for their hard work. But how about an article about those of us who are members of the volunteer patrols? Our training includes outdoor emergency first aid, CPR, lift evacuation and toboggan handling. Here in the Midwest our patrol duties are nowhere near as glamorous or exciting, but we do what we can to help.
Gary Seno
Brookfield, Wisc.

Plattekill Rocks
I learned to appreciate New York skiing as a child growing up on Long Island and enjoyed the recent story about skiing New York’s resorts (“I Love New York Skiing,” February 2000). However, I was disappointed that Steve Cohen failed to mention Plattekill in the Catskills. It sometimes lacks snow, but it has the best terrain within a three-hour drive of New York City. And after a good snowfall, there’s no better place to ski.
Jim Wallmann
Elko, Nev.

Snowmobile Standoff
I was totally outraged when I read “Snowmobiles: Pal or Pariah” (Forum, February 2000). I love to ski and I also love to ride snowmobiles, but the pro and con writers insinuated that every person who rides a snowmobile is a toothless, truck-driving savage. Those are the stereotypes that we could do without.
Patrick Weatherup
Central Square, N.Y.