On Sep 21, 2004, at 12:15 PM, Denis Bogan wrote:

> On further thought, they might be sending a subliminal message.
> "Hey buddy, if you can't read this page you can't see the trees and if
> you
> can't see the trees you don't belong in the woods.  And besides, all
> the
> good powder in the east is in the woods and we don't want the likes of
> you
> tracking up our freshies."

I thinks it's simpler that that -- kinda like a t-shirt I have from the
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: "If it's too loud, you're too old!" If the
print's too small/faint/illegible, you're too old. Stick to SKI,

Luckily for me, with a decent table lamp and my glasses off, I could
read the POWDER review just fine. There's some youth left in these old
bones (and eye) yet.

SKI's reviews have annoyed me for years, mostly because of their loopy
classification system: "Aspiring Carver" and "Player" my buttocks. At
least they acknowledged "freeride" in the last couple of years. Hardly
a fat board in the crop, and little besides the ubiquitous brands (an
Ogasaka and a Stockli slipped in, but that's it).

[And hey, Joe Cutts -- you out there? Where's the answer key for your
"Tech-Wiz gear Quiz?"]

On the other hand, the October SKI does have a short feature on Fat and
Mogul skis, where they quote one product manager as saying "It's image
more that anything else. the locals are going wider and wider..."

Well, maybe that is true. I'm one of those "locals," I guess, and now
my skinny skis are Volkl Explosivs and all my local buddies are skiing
Jax (I know no less than seven guys skiing those 97mm waisted wonders).
Do we really need them, or is it all just "my ski is wider than yours?"
Men are always obsessed with size.

A little of both, maybe -- 'cause I was also upset with POWDERs "East
vs West vs West 300+" club. I live in Vermont: I have two pairs from
the West 300+ club as my every day skis. I like them even on ice and
groomed. I'd rather be caught on ice with a fat board than powder on a
skinny stick. And it is precisely because I'm getting older that I
appreciate what SKI called "status symbols for young, hardcore
big-mountain skiers."

But back to POWDER: what I DID like was that, unlike SKI and now the
new SKIING, most of the skis pictured were bereft of binding systems
and many were from small indie labels: Line, 4FRNT, Drakeboinay,
Armada, DB.

My current rant is against K2, once a small independent American
company with quirky ads and playful skis. Who can forget the K2
Cheeseburger? Now, K2 is a swaggering multinational corporate giant,
buying up this and that and moving it all off-shore. They just bought
Vermont based Tubbs snowshoes, and are closing the Stowe, Vermont
factory, sending the jobs to China. Screw them. And Volkl, too. Used to
be my favorite ski, back when it was hard to find and hand made and
exclusive. Now they are in every store and every magazine and in K2's
shopping hand basket on the road to hell. Screw them too (although I'd
still take a pair if free. be like stealing from the rich. worked for
robin hood.)

Drifting of into a tirade here, back to Dennis's question. these
reviews any use? Yeah, kinda like the old Sears Christmas Wishboook or
Lionel catalogs. Lots of pictures of cool must-have toys and trains.
Let's you know what's out there, helps you refine your lust.

Still, I long for the good old days, where SKKING ski tests included
the indisputably quantitative Bench test Data: weight, swing weight,
waist location, tip, tail, and midpoint flex in newtons. Numbers, not
opinions. Science, not marketing.

Demo, demo, demo. Demo? Well, maybe -- if, and Henry notes, you can
find that indie label fat ski at the demo day trucks.

But all that said -- Me, I have been relying on on instinct, emotion,
and those pretty pictures. I haven't demoed any of the last 6 pairs of
skis purchased new, or any of those impulse buys at the ski swaps. But
I like my skis -- a lot. Maybe at some point it really doesn't matter,
a board is a board. Maybe Tag is right -- strap me onto a some masked
skis for a blind taste test, and I couldn't tell the difference.

Wow, what am I saying? I guess it must be way past my bed time, I'm
beginning to ramble. G'night all.

| Wesley Alan Wright <mailto:[log in to unmask]>                   |
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