The Equipment Quandary

It all started in September; I have been wracking my brain ever since trying to figure out which ski I should get for this snow season. Now, I seem to be running out of time as I still have not figured out which set of boards I should pick. I’m not talking about any specific brand or model; I’m simply wondering about which ski design might best fill my needs for the winter of 2010-2011 and the seasons beyond.

I used to be an early adopter, but have long left that trait to younger and much more adventurous folks. I will only adopt a radically new concept if I have heard and read enough good reviews about it and if the product in question does offer a significant step forward over its predecessors. So here I am, ready to flip a coin between a pair of wide skis with traditional camber and the new, so-called “tip and tail rocker” and also – I need to flip another coin – one of these “full rockers.” Now, I am torn, laminated, exhausted by this camber discussion. Oh boy, do I miss the time when the argument was limited to a sidecut, an underfoot width or whether a ski should have a cap construction or look like a vintage 1970 design!

My problem, I know it, is that I’m one of many skiers that still delude themselves in believing there’s a ski that can do it all; you know, the jack of all trades and master of none. That’s right, I’d like a ski that behaves superbly on groomers, can surprise me positively in 10 inches of new snow and is guaranteed to impress my buddies when we’re flying over bottomless powder. This is enough to paralyze any skier and freeze him in place until the snow melts, spring returns and I don’t want that. Of course, my budget as well as the only space left in the ski rack inside my garage just allows for one single new pair of boards for this winter. I need some form of catalyst or act of God to force me to moving forward, making a choice, doing something…

One of the challenges is also my set of beliefs. Being an “old dog,” I still think that the longer the skis the smoother the experience, more like riding in a Lincoln Continental versus driving a Mini Cooper. This is another limiting element, because while I still can live with a traditional ski up to 186 cm in length, a “rocker” ski would define a much longer board that wouldn’t fit inside my streamlined, cool looking Thule ski box. As unbelievable as this may sounds, the size of my ski box is probably what will settle the battle, make me forgo my craving for innovation and instead force me to carry-on a few more seasons with tradition. I didn’t even have to lose my sanity, my temper or my camber over this. Yeah, I’ll go with a traditional wide ski and 90 mm width underfoot. I’ll console myself by keeping looking forward to some brand new and revolutionary gear some other ski season…