Taking Measure

From the Top

Yes, this is ski magazine. But let's talk about golf for a minute. virtuallyevery world-class ski town also boasts at least one excellent golf course, which makes sense when you think about it. Both sports require metric tons of equipment. Both demand that we don specialized garments and ungainly footwear. And skiers and golfers alike tend to punctuate a hard day's recreation with the ritual consumption of age-restricted beverages. Skiing does have a number of advantages over golf. Few skiers wear madras in public, for instance, and seldom is a skier inclined to toss his poles into a lake after making a particularly bad turn. But golf's got the edge in at least one regard: You always know where you stand. A golfer's ability level is right there on his scorecard—plain, precise and quantifiable. But on the hill, unless you're a racer—and relatively few skiers are—it's hard to measure your skills as precisely.

Golfers can strive for years in pursuit of a lower handicap. What do skiers chase? That was the question we asked ourselves as we began to put together this month's cover story, "Are You Good Enough? (below).

Ultimately, we decided, improvement in skiing is more about expanding your opportunities than it is about beating your buddy to the bottom. Skiing can be a competitive sport, to be sure, but the most rewarding competitions are the ones we have with our own limits. Better technique opens up new terrain, allows us to consider new and different kinds of ski trips and may even present new professional opportunities. In "Are You Good Enough? staffers Stu Campbell, Krista Crabtree and Joe Cutts dissect nine benchmark skiing challenges and explain what it really takes to master them. Most are well within the reach of any reasonably accomplished skier, so read the piece, practice on the hill andget ready to raise your game.

Also this month: It doesn't exist, but you'll wish it did. After all, you designed it. Once we'd compiled this year's Reader Resort Survey (see October 2003), we turned over the raw data to a top resort designer and asked him to use your feedback to conceive the ultimate North American ski destination. You can see the results in "Welcome to Fantasy Mountain (below). Now let's just hope someone builds it. Elsewhere in the issue, catch up on the latest at Colorado's Beaver Creek (below), discover what it's like to ski among the stars during the annual festivals in Aspen and Park City (below) and go behind the scenes with SKI contributor and former Olympian Edie Thys at Interbourse, Wall Street's uncompromising annual ski week (below).

Enjoy the issue, and remember: In the end, as long as you're good enough to have fun on the mountain, you're good enough. And failing that, there's always golf.