The Spanky a good wipe, but needs some changes | AspenTimes.com

The Spanky a good wipe, but needs some changes

Paul Conrad

It’s happened to all of us: You’re bombing a run on a powder day and halfway down you have to stop to clean your goggles. You wipe them off with your gloves and can see the world again, but everything’s distorted. The leftover water makes for a wonderful Dali-like lens.

Along comes The Spanky, aka the “original sports hanky.” Touted by its makers as “the ultimate high grade microfiber trail map lens cloth,” it is designed to clean your goggles from snow and dirt, while also acting as a trail map.

The wiping part is great. In warmer weather, however, The Spanky works only a few times before it gets too wet to do its job. And since you keep it in your pocket, the cloth never really dries out. (Hooking it to an outside zipper doesn’t really work either, as one fall and it’s rendered useless.)

Overall, though, The Spanky is a good, soft wipe that won’t scratch your lenses; it even works well on my prescription glasses and camera lenses.

Plus, the concept is great: Combine two things every snow freak should have ” something to keep your eyewear clean and an updated trail map. On this note, The Spanky is batting .500.

The Spanky I tested featured the Aspen Mountain and Snowmass maps (the brand offers maps for resorts across North America, http://www.thespanky.com, $8.95 each). The Aspen map is old, but generally accurate. The only recent change not included is the FIS lift, and that is relatively minor. It also listed the season dates for 2004-05 ” a couple of years off, but in the right decade.

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The Snowmass map is a different story. Like the Aspen map, the season dates are wrong. No big deal. But the lift configurations are off the mark, and the map still includes the Wood Run lift. The Fanny Hill lift doesn’t go all the way to Sam’s Knob, and the Elk Camp Gondola is missing.

But these are relatively new chanes at Snowmass, and to his credit, Spanky creator Shawn Patrick Cooper says new editions of the hanky with current maps should be out in a month.

“It’s the hardest part of my job,” Cooper said. “Aspen Skico didn’t get us the trail map in time to print.”

Of course by putting the entire Snowmass trail map on a 12-by-12-inch piece of cloth, it’s very hard to read. The map has been squeezed down to a point that some runs and lift names are illegible and the mountain stats unclear. Information boxes, such as the one for Pipeline Park, require a magnifying glass to read.

Still, The Spanky is a good idea, and should be praised; it just needs a few bugs worked out. In the meantime, I suggest using The Spanky as a lens cloth, and be sure to grab a traditional paper trail map on your way up the mountain.

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