Monday, March 3, 2008


I went skiing yesterday for the first time in over a year, at Windham Mountain in the Catskills. It was as crowded as I've ever seen it (with French Canadians, Germans, Russians and Eastern Europeans, oddly enough), and although it was quite enjoyable the simple act of walking is a chore today. The old cliché is "you'll use muscles you never knew you had", but that doesn't begin to describe my pain; I feel like I used muscles that I DON'T EVEN HAVE. Or maybe I left some muscles on the mountain, or possibly I just used those muscles that hate me. Whatever it is, going down a flight of stairs makes my quads feel like they're being stabbed with tiny invisible daggers.

Skiing is nothing but a controlled fall down a frozen mountain, a constant battle pitting you and friction versus the laws of gravity. In light of this it helps to have confidence in your ability and your equipment, and since I have very little in the former, I bought myself a new pair of the latter. I tend to hold on to things as long as they continue to work, despite advances in technology. Until recently, I had a TV that was over 25 years old that was encased in a floor standing faux-wood cabinet, and actually had a knob. Hey, it still worked fine, why ditch it? I thought this way about my old straight skis as well which I bought in high school. All I can say is: wow, ski technology has come a long way. Here is the description for the new skis I purchased:

Head iXRC 800: Our six-speed sequential sports car for the kind of rider who is used to waiting for his friends at the bottom of the lift.

That's right, suckers! I haven't quite found all six speeds yet, but oh boy, do they know me! Actually I'm more the "kind of rider who is used to trying not to kill himself". The skis also apparently feature "Intelligence Technology" (meaning I don't have to think at all) and "Liquidmetal Technology" (which sounds like it would be really messy and difficult to ski on). Regardless of the asinine product description, these new curved skis actually do what I want them to, whereas the old ones had to think about it for a few seconds before moving in the direction I was trying to point them. (Maybe they ARE intelligent after all.)

Like golf, skiing is not a cheap pastime. Long gone are the days of $10 lift tickets that include a coupon for free hot chocolate; a day of skiing at Windham for an adult is now an astonishing $61 (this is easily more than a 25% increase from 2 years ago). While I understand that some of this money goes into snowmaking and refurbishing the base lodge (which I never actually stepped foot in), it certainly wasn't used to pave the parking lot, the vast majority of which is a muddy disaster area. However, thank god for, who resells lift tickets for some of the major ski resorts at a discount, who only charged $25. This the best (non-porn/non-hockey) website I've found so far this year.

Now please excuse me while I attempt to hobble out to my car.

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