Ever Fall in Love With a Pair of Skis? | “A Boy & His Skis”

Andy Hays |
Me and my skis
Me and my skis

When I made my way out west ten years ago I possessed a lifetime worth of hopes, expectations and dreams, along with two brand new pairs of skis to make it happen.  That day that I first laid eyes on what would be my powder skis, a pair of grey and silver Rossignol Scratch BCs, I would have no idea whatsoever just how far they would take me.

My first impression was that they were huge.  All 90mm under foot of them just seemed so unbelievably wide.  Sure I had skied on bigger skis before, my dad was an early adopter of the true powder ski with a pair of Volant Ti Chubs.  He had a pair of Bandit XXXs until I lost them, which is another story for another day.  Those were huge, but sitting in my living room/kitchen/bedroom of my barely furnished studio, the early winter sun shining palely through the windows, those Scratch BCs just seemed so big, I couldn’t believe they were mine.  I can’t say for sure, but it seems completely plausible that I clipped into them right there and imagined myself on the slopes.

The Scratch BC base looking religious... or wholly.
My Scratch BC bases looking religious… or wholly.

For those first two seasons I pushed those skis as hard as I possibly could.  Looking back virtually all of my personally notable lines was with those BCs.  Lines that I today, theoretically a better skier, would probably rather not attempt with a 180cm noodle of a ski.  Through it all they never failed me and I rewarded them by trashing the living daylights out of them.

Finally, after two seasons it became clear that despite my first impression they were not in fact all that big.  Actually, they were much smaller than what everyone else had.  It was time to upgrade and so I did, to something much longer, wider, and stiff as a 2×4.  My trusty BCs like all skis found there way to rock ski status.  This is where the story should have ended.  A quiet retirement to the dusty back portion of the closet.  This however, would not be the case as these were the Jamie Moyer of skis.  These were the skis that just wouldn’t quit.  No matter how many times I would tell myself that the time had come, somehow they would find their way out for a few innings of relief.

By this time they looked and skied like a pair of skis that had been ridden way too hard for way too long.  I once accidentally left them in the parking lot.  When I sheepishly returned to lost and found the next day the woman said that she had just figured that someone had intentionally left them behind.  Seriously, who would want to ski on something like that?  At a certain point I entertained the notion of mounting them on my wall, both as a way to honor their service and more importantly prevent myself from taking them out.  The bases were in tatters, small children could pass me on the flats.  It had become an embarrassment.

My Scratch BCs
My Scratch BCs

For a year or two, I was successful.  Another pair had taken over rock ski duty and there just wasn’t a need for a beaten up, floppy, slow ski.  Again I considered nailing them to the wall.  That was until the inevitable happened.  A pair of skis broke and suddenly I was caught shorthanded.  Somehow they had become plausibly a part of the rotation again.  Predictably at the close of last season I vowed once again to put them away permanently.

Predictably the day came last week that I found myself putting them into the car once again.  I was skiing on the ten year old skis that I had moved out here with.  Less predictably was that I took them out of the closet because I had snapped my park skis in half.  The day had come when the skis that I had once thought to be just so enormous was now an alternative to a park ski.  In todays age they are just that.  They are much closer in width (a meager 6mm larger) to my park skis than anything that would be considered a dedicated powder ski.  Sure they aren’t that fun to ski at this point.  Sure one foot drags a bit.  Sure I feel a bit embarrassed that I’m on a ten year old pair of skis and getting passed by ten year old kids.  Sure I’d like to believe that this will actually be the end, but in reality I could never say for sure, as I know too well that these are the skis that just won’t quit.

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2 thoughts on “Ever Fall in Love With a Pair of Skis? | “A Boy & His Skis”

  1. Respect. Also had and have a coupla pairs of Rossis that just don t quit. 207cm 4G from 1990 and some XXXs…broke one of the xxxs, got used to it, and skied with one hinged in the middle and one normal ski for half a season. Twas good for the technique and enlightened me to the advantages of rocker…that one ski planed beautifully!

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