A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to have a Friday off from work on a day when there was nearly a foot of fresh snow in the mountains. You know, back when we actually had powder days. Anyway, on my way up for the first run of the day, my much younger chairlift partner looked down at my 80mm waist all-mountain skis and sneered, “I used to have a pair of skinny skis like those – man are they work in deep snow.” He had a pair of God-knows-how-wide skis that looked like you could use them in summer on water.

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For once in my life, I had no comeback, no wise-ass response. Here I was, a fairly decent technical skier with decades of experience, with nothing to say. Because he was right – times had changed, and the technology had changed. In any event, for those of you thinking that it might be time for new sticks, keep an eye out for the following signs.

  1. You measure your required ski length by reaching as high as you can, with the ski tips touching your wrist. Evidently length really does matter to you.
  2. Leaning back as far as possible on powder days is the only way to keep your tips up. You rationalize this by claiming to enjoy the quad workout. You are usually done by noon and can’t walk the next day.
  3. It is difficult to figure out where the bases of your skis end and the rust on the edges begins. When you take them to a local shop to get tuned, they tell you they’re at least 8 weeks out. You hear them snickering as you leave.
  4. At the end of the day, you ski across the parking lot to your car, ignoring those who point and laugh.
  5. While in the lift line, you don’t care if people ski over the tops of your skis. At 215 centimeters, they do take up some space.
  6. You know what a Stem Christie is, and how to do it. More importantly, you think it is still applicable.
  7. Your skis were made in the United States of America.
  8. Each tip of your skis is adorned with a rooster.
  9. There is a groove down the middle of your skis, and you own a scraper designed to work on them.
  10. You think this shaped ski thing is just a fad. //

Brad Northrup is a former ski racer, coach, shop monkey, and resort marketing director. He still leans back while skiing powder and has quads of steel.