Sixteen Skis

By Beacon Staff

It is snowing really big snowflakes outside and there is not a breath of wind. A perfect day to make sure your goggles are shined up and your entire body is all tuned up and ready to enjoy a perfect day like this one promises to be.

If you want the best equipment to handle each condition of snow, you can do what a money manager friend of mine does. In his ski closet he has: pair No. 1 for hard-packed granular; pair No. 2 for freshly groomed powder; pair No. 3 he uses in one inch of new powder; pair No. 4 is for skiing in four to five inches of powder; pair No. 5 is for six inches of powder; pair No. 6 is when there is a foot of new powder; pair No. 7 is for skiing chutes when there is six inches or more of new powder; and pair No. 8 is when the ski patrol starts opening runs after a foot of new snow.

The cosmetics on the top of all of his skis are identical. He had the art work designed by a well-known artist in Venice, Calif., and the decals of the art work were done by a very good decal maker in Seattle. All of the skis and decals were created so not very many of his friends know that he uses different pairs of skis for each snow condition.

Unfortunately, the resort where his home is located has built too many lifts to the top of their mountain, so any time he skis after 10 a.m., he needs his hard-packed granular skis.

There is a reason why some people spend their entire ski career on a mountain that to a stranger is boring by the time they make their fifth run. But my friend knows where to park his car, where to eat lunch, where the after-ski drinks are both potent and cheap, where to get his edges sharpened, and just as important, where to take his current spouse for a quiet booth and a candle-light dinner.

I think my friend with all of the skis has missed the most important reason to go skiing – that is because when you are at the top of a hill you are all set for a journey of freedom. You can go as fast or as slow as your mood takes you during your descent.
The self-imposed, “I’ve got to be somewhere else” is a self-fulfilling prophecy to a life of chaos. When talking to a very nice man from Hong Kong the other day, he said, “We have to start heading back tomorrow.” When I asked him “Why?” he had no answer. Unfortunately, the family from Hong Kong arrived home as scheduled, but all three children and his wife missed powder days.

When was the last time you skied on a Monday or Tuesday or both? You really owe it to yourself because the work that is waiting for you can wait another couple of days. Why not? Since that first day in the powder snow at Alta, Utah, at the end of 1946, I have seldom missed a chance to forget everything except being the first at the top of the mountain on a powder snow day.

For a lot of those powder snow days my skis were for my transportation to get to the best camera location to document skiers finding their freedom and bringing back those images for my annual tour and for the thousands of people who have supported my lifestyle all of these years when they bought a ticket to one or more of my movies. Do any of them need half a dozen or more pairs of skis? I don’t think so. Just warm clothes and couple of ski lessons to handle whatever snow is waiting for you on your next ski trip.

I can hardly wait to take my next ski run with my wife Laurie, who is such a good skier I can’t begin to keep up with her. However, she always waits for me at the bottom and your friends will wait for you at the bottom, too, so enjoy every turn!

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