Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Verrry interesting...

For all you Jay Peak development-watchers out there, check out the video below and read this thread from the AlpineZone forums. Make sure you go all the way to page 2, where Steve Wright replies.

In my recent chit-chat with Steve Wright, he let me in on some of those plans but I was sworn to secrecy. Arrggh, I've been scooped by a YouTube video with Vietnamese subtitles!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

SBR's historical Jay Peak ski quiver

Putting up pictures of your ski quiver seems to a popular topic for ski bloggers and forum posters. Hey, why not? You've done the thinking, spent all this money, made good (and possibly bad) decisions, so why not brag about it a bit. When considering a picture of my own quiver, I realized that I wasn't really sure where to draw the line between "quiver" and "collection," plus I knew that, for the purposes of this blog, there needs to a Jay Peak angle on the topic. Then, inspired by reading MadPat's recent post on the Canadian Ski Museum, I realized that my own collection of skis is a personal history of sorts, not merely yard-sale fodder, as some wags have suggested.

There are almost 40 years of Jay Peak memories in these boards!
While splitting wood this morning, I had a brainwave. Why not assemble all the devices I have used to slide down Jay Peak that are still in my possession, and tell their stories? Believe me, some of these go back a long way.  So here they are, with a little bit of "Jay Peak memory lane" thrown in for good measure.

Note the classic BC sticker. That is BC as in the prehistoric cartoon character!
Dynastar MPI Equipe, 195 cm, Salomon 502 bindings, made in France, circa 1974ish. What an awesome ski this was. Three layers of metal, including one functioning as the "Omega core," GS cut and everybody told me they were too short! They had a pretty wide shovel for the time and were great powder skis. I have many fond memories of floating through the woods at Jay on these skis. This was before they called the woods "glades" and put them on the trail map. I used these skis for many years and sadly, they are no longer skiable due to some serious age-related delamination. 

Don't you love those 80s colours? Ahh, the days of teal and pink.
Atomic ARC Team HV6 RS, 200 cm, Tyrolia 490 bindings, made in Austria, circa mid-80s. These skis are race-stock ice-slayers. RS stands for "riesenslalom" (giant slalom), not sure about the HV6. Probably "high velocity, Mach 6" because that is what is required to make them turn. Not so good in the trees! I bought them from a friend who was on the Ontario ski team at the time. Still skiable, so these will be the weapon of choice if there is ever a "Longboard Day" at Jay. Best Jay memory on these skis? Hmm, probably that time on Ullr's when there no people on the run and the throttle got opened up a bit. Maximum riesenslalom!

Good thing pink wasn't the new black back in the 80s
Karhu XCD Extreme, 198 cm, Rottefella Super Telemark bindings with Voile plates (bindings have been re-purposed to a pair of touring skis), made in Canada, circa 1988. These replaced an earlier pair of the original Extremes, known to telemarkers as "red sleds." This ski was ahead of its time and most of the boots of the day did not have the power to drive them to their full potential. I sure had to work hard to keep up with the posse on their alpine skis! Strangely, my best Jay memory with these skis is going over the handlebars at the top of JFK and landing head-first in a tree well. Once they got over their hysterical laughter, one of my strong young nephews helped pull me out before I suffocated.

The BASE jumper on the base is even cooler than the metalflake top

Burton Rippey 158 with Burton SI bindings, made in USA, circa 2001. This board rides even better than it looks and the step-in binding is tailor-made for old farts. After borrowing snowboards for a year or so, I decided to buy one and snowboarded almost exclusively for three years. Now that my knee is fixed, I might just take it up again. Same problem as telemarking though, it is hard to keep up with the skiers and they stop in all the wrong places. On a spring trip to Jay with Blue Toes I had two unforgettable runs. One was top-to-bottom on the UN, a rare event on a snowboard (it had been groomed flat as as a pancake and I think I was the second person down). Later that day, after BT had gone in, I hung out at Sky Haus till the three other tram riders had disappeared, then enjoyed a totally surreal run on perfect corn snow, riding in complete solitude from the summit all the way to the lower Goat.

Gotta love the Euro graphics: I think they were trying to make them look "woodsy"
Fischer Big Stix 75, 175 cm, Rottefella Cobra R8 binding, made in Austria, circa 2004. Originally mounted with alpine bindings, these were my first pair of "fat" skis. No longer fat by today's standards, they will go down in history as the ski that tore my ACL (of course it was the ski's fault). They make a great "everyday" tele ski and I still use them frequently. This ski reminds me of fun times cruising with my family on mellow runs.

The Sick Birds await transformation on my snazzy new work table.
Rossignol Sick Bird, 171 cm, about to get fitted with new Black Diamond 03 tele bindings, made in Spain, circa 2005. These skis have a lot of holes in them. I went from telemarking in lace-up leather boots and the Karhus to these skis and four-buckle plastic monsters. Had to learn to ski all over again! Then I switched the alpine/tele set up between the Big Stix and the Sickies, which worked a lot better for me. Despite being on the stiff and heavy side,  they are taking on a new life as a back-country ski for skin up, ski down kind of stuff. I recall being completely humbled on my first run with these skis, on the Queen's Highway of all trails, because I couldn't make a tele turn.

I really like the understated graphics on the Prophets
Line Prophet 100, 172 cm, with Salomon Z12 bindings, made in China, circa 2010. Have I told you how much I love these skis? In my opinion, this is the ideal "one ski quiver" for Jay Peak and I am really looking forward to getting back on them with two functional knees. My first run on these skis was a high-speed early morning blast down a freshly groomed Goat, and I knew I had found the right ski for me.

Missing in action: I think the first skis I used at Jay were a pair of white Arlbergs with screwed-on edges and cable bindings.  Once I got serious, I upgraded to some blue Fischers (model name escapes me) with early Solomon step-ins. The first ski I bought with my own money was the Rossignol Allais Major but I soon sold those and got the Dynastars. Between the Dynastars and the Atomics, Pudd sold me an amazing pair of skis known simply as the Rossignol GS. They were a joy to ski on but suffered from a lack of durability.

So there you have it. A personal history of skiing at a single mountain, as told by a collection of skis and one snowboard. And now that I've written it all down, I realized (and if you know me, you'll probably agree) that the collection above also reflects my somewhat schizophrenic relationship with sliding on snow and explains why Telemark Dave has given me the name Mr. Multiglisse. Does your quiver tell a story? I'll bet it does!