Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gone Skiing...

Soooo.. been away for a bit. What did I miss? Did somebody say something racist?

Wha? Huh? Okay, never mind that.

So here I was in life, 44 years old and content to let the leisure activity called "snow skiing" reside in the depths of my "F*** It List."

You know, the OPPOSITE of a "Bucket List."

Things I had done, and was basically done with. No particular malice toward these things, just a shrug of the shoulders to say "eh, been there, it's fine, but you can have it."

My youngest daughter Megan, however, had other plans for me. She got the ski bug from several school trips this year, and she's now a little ski maniac.

So off we went to Snowshoe Resort in West Virginia, where even in a horrible year for east coast snow, they still had very nice conditions. My lovely wife once skied herself, but a cranky knee and a mommy's prerogative gave her the right to chillax in the condo and find other things to do with our older, non-skiing daughter.

So I got on the ol' wax death boards for the first time since 2001. And wow, have things gotten a lot easier! The new parabolic or curved skis are pretty much cheating. Mind you, I'm exceedingly average. But these things practically turn themselves.

I was particularly proud of young Megan, who had a fearlessness and a "skier's attitude" that went far beyond what I ever had at her age. When I was just 9, I got my arms pulled off by a tow rope at Seven Springs in Pennsylvania and in a pouting 10 year old rage, chose to spend all day instead side-stepping up a small hill behind the lodge and gliding down that until my dad and brother came by to get me before the lifts closed.

Yeah! I showed that stupid tow rope!

Megan had no problem picking out, and attacking even some black diamonds at Snowshoe, like Widowmaker. Granted, as you can see from the video above, she's not going to the Olympics either, but for just her first month on snow, I was thrilled.

Widowmaker run at Snowshoe Resort, WV. That's black diamond, and my 9 year old daughter (left, brown suit) basically said "bring it on." This slope would have made me cry to mommy when I was her age.
Of course, I just wanted to get through the weekend without tearing any ligaments or breaking any bones. And, without any yahoo wiping me out. Ooops. Too late. A dude on a snowboard took me out like Ray Lewis on a green cross-cut run, which are really like death shutes.

Luckily, the 2 feet between me and the 20 foot fall-off into the trees was enough buffer. And I was no worse for the wear. He did apologize - albeit half-heartedly - and I resisted the urge to go all Joe Pesci on him with my ski-poles.

Who knows what happened behind me to cause the wreck? Plus, it's a sport with well known risks. Ask the Kennedy's or Natasha Richardson. (What? Oh, I'm the bad guy?)

But it did get me to thinking about the whole "Snowboarder vs. Skier " culture war, which, I presume still exists to some degree. I remember when some resorts would not permit snowboarders, but then the market share grew to like 30% and they just couldn't afford their haughty principles.

In my humble opinion, snowboarders DO present an increase in risk on the slopes.

Sorry, but I do. Here's why.

I had a hard time spotting skiers who flat out sucked, and were a risk to wipe out on any run, at any given time. In fact, I noticed those people because they stuck out like a sore thumb. It was like: "Hey, that TOOL has no idea how to balance on skis! Ha ha! Let's watch!"

Meanwhile, the percentage of snowboarders who flat out sucked, was significantly higher. Even those who looked like they had mastered the art of the "Devil's Snow Rocket" would be shooshing down the slopes with relative ease when.... WHAM! Faceplant!

I attribute this - just observationally - with the number of former skiers who had grown bored of the same-old same-old, and wanted to get into something new.

Which is fine. Really. I don't care, because I'm only going to go skiing once a year, when my daughter drags my ass out there.

I also think snowboards, by their very nature, are a touch more wickedly un-controllable than skis. You only have 2 edges to control, not four. You don't have poles for balance. And your body is facing sideways to the direction you are travelling.

It just seems that when things go wrong, they go MUCH MORE WRONG on a snowboard, than they do on skis, which allow for greater maneuverability and last second wipeout-avoiding adjustments.

Then there's the average age demo of snowboarders vs. skiers. We don't even need to go there, do we?

That said, a**holes come in all flavors, and they travel on all types of snow equipment. And I am not trying to paint snowboarders with a broad brush. Most, I am sure, are responsible, cool, and very safe on the slopes. As much as skiers are, by and large.

And yes, for the record, I tried snowboarding once. Most impossible-f***ing-thing ever. Nearly killed myself on a bunny slope that was only about a 4% grade. I have the UTMOST respect for, and semi-jealousy of, anyone who can do it, and do it well.

So I'll just worry about over-photographing and videoing my kids like I'm a Warren Miller wannabe.

And if you don't know who Warren Miller is, then sheesh, check this shizzle out down here. Guy has been making the sickest ski videos in the world, since like, the 60's.


  1. First and foremost...Love your show, now about the picture of you on the slopes.

    1. Did you need all of that filming gear? Think back 10-15 years and think what you and your friends would have said if you guys saw an "older dude" on the slopes that looked like Wang from Caddyshack.

    2. You do know that with the whole ski/documentary set-up you do look like a character from the video game Gears of War.

    3. Your daughter will cherish this vacation forever, and you are a great dad.....Though borderline tech nerd.

  2. Tokes45: Dude, all great points. I AM like Wang in the parking lot. And I was trying to be "conservative" with my gear! ONLY three cams! I don't give to shits about being seen as an old dummy. I am, what I am. I just know I would KILL to have video/film of shit I did as a kid, so this is my way of giving to my daughters well into the future.

  3. Can't agree more with the safety issue of snowboarding. In fact, as I type, I am waiting here in my orthopedic office for a snowboarder with a fracture right clavicle and dislocated left shoulder.

  4. as an above average snow board guy...There are those of us who'd get more tore up from skiing than snow boarding. I'm 36. Grew up standing sideways on a skate board, and am of that age where Skateboarding was pretty cool to do through middleschool/highschool and took to it pretty naturally. I know many excellent skiers that have attempted snowboarding and gave it up after an hour. Pretty sure its either you have it or you don't, or your young enough to endure the horrendous accidents you take as your board does NOT come off when you fall: and ACL, MCL High/Low Ankle back edge catching head snaps to the ice concussions tend to pile up pretty quick on the slow learners.

    That said - YOU'RE A GREAD DAD, WANG!

  5. Czabe....Love the response, Please have B&B refer to you as Wang for the rest of the week...They need to step up their tired show, even they agree...

  6. oh no you just didn't go there boss hogg. dude she's f'ing 12!

  7. Actually Tick, it's the 9 year old who skiis, the 12 year old stayed indoors the whole time. Even worse.....