Ever Wonder if the good old days will ever come back?

Posted: Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Ever Wonder if the good old days will ever come back? Image

Ever Wonder if the good old days will ever come back?

Or will we look back in 20 years and say “Remember When”


I was talking to an old friend and former coworker who like me is closing in on 50 and has been in the outdoor/ski business for most of his career.  We were laughing about how it used to be when skis cost less than $300 for the new top of the line GS ski and we all skied on 205 GS boards and 210 Telemark skis and skied everywhere that we do today.  The revolution continues.

As it turns out, skiing is easier today than it was 20-30 years ago, skiers have not gotten all that much better, it’s still easy to spot the guys who can really get it done with a certain style and simplicity that doesn’t waste any energy.  What’s changed is the equipment; it’s made the terrain that used to be accessed only by the skiers who had a certain level of skill and technique, accessible for even a conservative intermediate.  In “our good old days” you had to be able to carve the ski in mixed and soft snow to get it to work properly.  Now it pays to know how to surf.

I remember reading an interview with a ski mag editor where he talked about how popular the really stiff high performance skis were with the intermediate testers in one of the big ski tests in the mid 80’s.  They finally figured out that the intermediate skiers loved these really stiff boards was because they could skid them more easily, the easier turning skis were too soft torsionally to skid well.  They carved great with much less effort than the “race skis” did, but since only the top level skiers “skied like racers” and carved the intermediate ski designs really didn’t work all that well for the customers they were building them for.  This was back in the days when ski areas were sanitizing all the skiing to make it more accessible to the intermediates.   Well the ski areas and groomers never quite got the sanitation job done.  Now it is just the opposite, skiers want more wild skiing because even for a skier who mostly skids turns, the new skis allow then to skid in almost any condition.

We were lamenting how much longer the freshies lasted back in the early 80’s, was it because there were fewer skiers, or was it that the ability of the skiers defined where they could ski and enjoy it, and not the gear?  Don’t get me wrong, I have fully embraced the new ski technology,  I joke that at least skis are getting better faster than I am getting worse.

Were those the good old days or are these the good old days?  What’s next?????

I just came from the yearly Trade show and the new standard is a ski about 112 underfoot, yikes 112 mm is huge by any standard but is now the new norm.

Thankfully for us at The Trail Head the only significant growth in skiing is in the backcountry arena.  It’s all about weight, boots approaching $1000 for a carbon fiber AT boot that weighs less than one of my old leather tele boots.  Skis are getting fatter and lighter, and new unique shapes I would have laughed at 10 years ago are the norm now.

We strive to offer the best gear at the best prices and it sometimes leaves us scratching our ever more gray hair trying to figure it all out.

Anybody have any thoughts???