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!


  1. My own quiver would make a very short post. (I could do something more interesting with 75mm boots.) My name is Harv and I've got a quiver problem. Very serious when you consider the time of year. I do have my own ski museum, but I'm seriously lacking usable tools of the trade.

    My sentimental favorite in your collection ... not based on the associated JP tale, but just the love for the brand/model ... has got to be the XCD Extremes. I stayed with Karhu until they were absorbed by the machine (K2?).

    The Line 100s look like a killer Jay Peak Quiver o' One. Oh yea... IMO regardless of the ski du jour ... you should remain Sick Bird Rider! Nice one.

  2. Hey, every ski tells a story and I was restrained on this one by the subject matter. I guess I have a bit of a museum also. What you don't see are the several pairs of ancient wood skis (pre WW 2) waiting to be hung on a wall, 1960s wooden water skis for the same purpose, my complete collection of the Karhu XCD series (GT, Comp, Supreme and Extreme), a Burton Elite snowboard from the 80s and my new obsession with 70s vintage wood XC skis (which I still ski on sometimes) and the assorted skinny XC skis from the 80s....

    And then there are the snowshoes. And the toboggans. And the Jackrabbit wax...

    It is an illness, for sure.

  3. Excellent photography on the quiver pics. Much more creative than my line up mug shot.

    I can't really say that my skis have stores. I can tell you where I got them, where they once or currently fit into my quiver. I can discuss at length various vintages of the Legend 8000s and how to tell each year's pair apart from each other and when they moved the mountain point and how much they moved it, etc. Some skis I could tell you how much I paid for them. But I have not affixed stories to specific skis, other than I average breaking at least one Legend 8000 ski every year.

  4. Thanks for the photo compliment Steve. FYI that was with the new Lumix, all using the "intelligent auto" mode. On a few pics I bumped up the colour a bit with iPhoto.

    And yes Grasshopper, your skis do have stories - you just have to listen.

  5. Great post. I had the discipline to purge a bunch of pairs several years ago, but still have (collecting dust) a sweet pair of Fisher GTSs (no, not the pink ones), Karhu Kodiaks, and a pair of Fisher Revolution skating skis (remember those?... they were super short, about 120 cm) among others. But the ones with the best stories are the pairs that I broke and eventually dumpstered, like the Tua Megas I broke on the last run of the last day of a week-long trip to Tahoe (loved those skis...). Maybe I'll line up my own quiver shot of what's left in the basement, just for fun.

  6. Great post SBR.

    Love the ski memories...I have a bunch of skis in the basement with memories, however that will have to wait as I have other priorities for Ski Mad World.

    In a distant future, I'll reply to this with a post on SMW. Until then, I need to get my next post lined up: Ski Movies.

  7. Thanks MPS, I look forward to the movie post.

    SBR note: the comment below is actually from my sister Sklinda, who sent it via e-mail:

    "I enjoyed your story. I think you have the makings of a book here. My first skis were Mom's wooden skis that Dad sawed the pointy tip off so I would not be embarrassed and then he gave them a good Eddy coating of stain and varnish. Off I went to Beaconsfield. The next pair Dad got specially made for me from a craftsman in Piedmont (I guess Bill A. knew this person). They were my first pair of red skis! Then came the red skis with steel edges and I can't remember after that. I think my favourites were my Volkls. Dogski's first were his dad's wooden skis with steel edges carefully installed by Rollie!"

    Further note: for the non-family readers, Eddy is our father; "Beaconsfield" refers to the local golf course where we all took our first runs; Bill A. was an old family friend and a great skier; Rollie is Dogski's dad, also a great skier.

  8. I remember the coolest ski on the planet was the Dynamic VR17 with Look Nevada bindings..only true gods skied on those.. more than a few years ago.