I like to think that I am always ready to go skiing; or, at least I have proven adept over the years at convincing myself that I am. My ski bag is always packed, I know where my skis and poles are, and I can usually locate my base layers within two hours once the search begins. Alas, this has not always been the case. Many a time in the distant past I began the ski season in a state of what one could call “unorganized” or, as my friends called it, “a total cluster.” If you have forgotten any of the following, you are definitely not ready to hit the hill.
The most important equipment you own are your ski boots, and a critical component that goes with these is a pair of synthetic socks. Dry feet equal warm feet, but you somehow left your piggy warmers in the top dresser drawer when you left the house. This tragedy is discovered in the parking lot as you attempt to boot up. You begin the day with ice blocks for toes thanks to those awesome Champion athletic socks you wore on the drive up and the now frosty foot sweat trapped within them.
Ever seen those folks flying down the mountain with their goggles flapping off the back of their helmets and laughed? Only thing worse is not having any goggles at all. Last time I checked, having the ability to see while going sehr schnell is kinda important, unless you enjoy the challenge of trying to see while tears are ripped from your eyes. A bluebird day with full sun is even better, so you can enjoy a nice case of snow blindness and call an Uber to get home since you can’t see enough to drive. The Uber driver just snickers as you whimper in the backseat on the drive down the mountain.
Sure, you were pretty proud of those $200 North Face expedition-grade gloves you found on sale over the summer, but they do little good sitting on the floor of your closet at the exact same time you are shuffling your way to the lodge. Fortunately for you, there is always a menagerie of lost gloves in the lost and found. Unfortunately for you, the only ones that are left are a size XXL left, and a size XS right. The former smells like cat pee and cigar smoke, and the latter has one finger that appears to be coated in kid snot. As a side note, no amount of hand washing can get rid of the aroma of cat pee and cigars.
This is perhaps the gold medal winner of all rookie moves. As mentioned, your feet are where the art of making good turns starts, and without your boots things tend to go downhill in a hurry. No pun intended. Thankfully, the mountain resort you frequent has a rental shop that offers a wide selection of entry-level boots available in every size—except yours. After shelling out $40 for a pair two sizes too big, and another $15 to have your bindings adjusted, you finally hit the slopes. As you go to make your first turn, you notice your foot actually moving inside of the boot, yet your skis keep going straight. As you approach the speed of sound, you wonder what it was you did to piss off the snow gods. //
Brad Northrup is a former ski racer, coach, and ski bum. He has forgotten all of the above noted items at least once.