Marolt: Save your skis (and all other gear)
Hi, my name is Roger, and I’m a ski hoarder.
They say you don’t have a problem until you admit it. Sure, those who love me have mentioned from time to time that it looks like I have a lot of skis. There have been the occasional remarks like, “Do you really use all of those?” or “Why is that pair covered in dust?” Yet, I denied.
Then, one recent day, I went into my garage to look for a pair of rock skis. You know what those are, right? They’re an old pair of skis that have seen better days and ones on which when carving you couldn’t give a twit about riding the edge from tip to tail over an exposed rock. On a pair of rock skis your biggest concern is becoming so complacent about skiing over all kinds of schist that you might go ahead and run over something so large it rips your leg clean off.
Anyway, I spent an hour or so analyzing my choices. I was looking over pristine ski bases and polished edges; all too good for current mountain conditions, no matter what the newcomers and pinheads (those who ski 100 days a season) say, and finally settled on the same pair of rock skis I started the last season with.
It occurred to me — I had begun the season prior to that with those same rock skis, too. It was at that juncture Memory Lane turned into four lanes. I used those rockers the season before that, and the one before that, and then I ran out of memory. I could only settle on that they were manufactured sometime after Y2K.
The heart of the problem is that I have great respect for new boards. Oh, the sheer pleasure of the first few days on a brand new pair of skis — silky smooth edges, greasy slick bases and a crisp “pop” at the end of each turn. They last that way for a finite period of time. You hit that first rock, no matter how tiny, heck it could be as slight as a little red, windblown sand that settled in the snowpack, and things are never the same again. You know you will get used to the impairment, but you cry the moment you do the damage anyway.
For this reason, and at the risk of sounding like a snowsport psycho, I am afraid to take new skis out in anything but the very best conditions, when there is next-to-no rock risk. To prove how ridiculous this is, you need to know that I have never purchased a pair of skis. Growing up, my father was in the ski business and since then I’ve always known enough people in and around it to make skis as easy to collect as cat hair on a playwright’s sweater.
Yet, I ski most of my days on old, beat-up junk, while skis with hardly any use are racked in my garage, hanging from the rafters there, lining the stairwell at work — heck, I have three pairs that have faded from white to yellow behind my office door, still protected in factory-wrap plastic.
Some people cut the tips off of their old skis and make keychains out of them. Others make backyard fences or gates out of discarded skis, depending on how long they’ve been at the sport. Others yet turn their old gear into incredibly uncomfortable lawn furniture. Not me. I use them until they are unsuitable for anything; even the trash man is disgusted when they finally come to rest against the Dumpster. Those are hard days.
My wife tells me that I ought to get rid of a few pairs and give them to somebody who will appreciate them. Of course, she is right about the call to action, but her reasoning is all wrong. The problem is that there is nobody out there who could appreciate those skis more than I do.
Here’s the thing: I was ready to do something about this problem when I came across my new golf clubs under a pile of skis. I call them new, but my father-in-law gave them to me more than 20 years ago. He used them for several years before handing them down. I looked a little more and found ancient baseball gear, first-generation mountain bikes, and a prototype Prince tennis racquet. That really hit home. What kind of a legacy am I leaving by keeping all this stuff? I determined right then and there that it would be a good start on a sports-equipment museum.
Roger Marolt owns a couple pairs of brand-new skis that are taller than him with pointy tips. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Scott and Beau Toepfer see outdoor stewardship as an act of preservation — and a way to earn some good karma.