Monday, February 20, 2012

Midwest Ski Slopes: A Comparative Study

Skiing at Squaw Valley:    
  • schralping the gnar
  • epic vertical drops
  • fat skis
  • pro skiers
  • powdah!

Skiing in the Midwest:
  • snowplowing 
  • rolling short hills
  • 80s style skis
  • Amish skiers
  • icy terrain     

These are just a few differences I noticed while checking out Indiana's Perfect North Ski Slopes and Michigan's Bittersweet Ski Resort.  It was great to strap on the old ski boots, but it was a different way to ski!

I went to Perfect North, a slope I used to frequent in high school, and multiple people commented on my Volkl Auras as huge powder skis.  Little did they know I have actually sold my powder skis and kept the Auras as my all mountain skis, but they were humongous compared to those tall skinny 80s types.

And speaking of the 80s, it was like we had never left!  Granted, there is some strange connection between ski culture and that tubular decade, but at Squaw the 80s came out in newly designed gear using those florescent bright colors for those who don't want to be missed cruisin' down the mountain.  In the Midwest, the gear is directly from the 80s: either saved from that era or bought at a garage sale.

This brings us directly to the definition of a gaper.  Urban dictionary can sum it up best:

gaper (n)

A gaper is a skiier or snowboarder who is completely clueless. Usually distiungished by their bright colored clothes and a gaper gap, the gap between goggles and a helment/hat. Gapers also do the "Gaper Tuck" which is an attempt at being a ski racer by tucking, however, it is done incorrectly with the poles sticking straight up like thunderbolts and lighting, very very frightning! Gapers also sit at the bottom of jumps and try and go big off table tops in the park.
1. My eyes are burning from that gapers bright colored clothes.
2. I fell off the chair laughing at that gaper tuck.

The entertainment was endless, from gapers in jeans to gapers wearing bicycle helmets on top of their hats (see photo).  In fact, for Midwest purposes I believe we need to inhibit the labeling of a gaper, as the vast majority of skiers are assumed to be.  Anyone who looks like they know what they are doing and can ski properly without running into fellow skiers or trees should have a special name of recognition there, maybe something like able, as in, "Look there at that able skier, she can ski directly where she wants to go!"

Skiing in Michigan wasn't much different.  I was able to meet with my cousins who live in Northern Indiana.  We met at the ski resort and my cousin, Brodie, was labeled an Indiana boy from his Carhartt attire.  Really, who are they to judge!!!  Everyone looked out of place there, especially the Amish women skiing in their bonnets and skirts.  Yes, you read that correctly.

Skiers and snowboarders were constantly crashing off the chair lifts and trying to put their skis back on while the back binding was still flipped up.  I had this overwhelming urge to help everyone I saw who had yard saled (fell and lost ever piece of equipment and loose clothing on the way down) or were trying to put on their equipment incorrectly.  Ski boots were unbuckled and 3 sizes too big, arms were flailing and people weren't going fast enough to gain speed to go over a jump.  They'd go slowly up the ramp, their tips would touch the top, then they would slide backwards and fall over.

Despite all the differences, it was a blast.  My cousins were fearless and up for a good time.  The sun came out, we laughed at each other and ourselves, had a beer and got down on the slopes, which is what it's all about anyway no matter where you are.

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