Hartley in some Utah powder. As opposed to his Retallack experience, he seemed to know how to ski it this time around.
I tend towards minimalism. I don’t particularly like “things” and I try to avoid accumulating extraneous possessions. I’m not hardcore about it, and I don’t have the requisite funds to decorate my house in a minimalist style, but I aspire to living with the essentials and subtracting the unuseful.
In that spirit, I recently attempted to achieve the elusive one-ski-quiver for the east coast rite of passage—the annual trip “out west.” I had fallen in love with the Moment PB&J at the SIA On-Snow Demo a few years back and got my hands on a pair with some help from those dudes from Reno. The PB&J is a likely candidate for one-ski simplicity because it’s narrow enough to be used anywhere (129/101/121), has some camber underfoot, and there’s sufficient tip/tail rocker to be considered a viable pow ski.
For the record, I like the ski a lot. But this is less a review of the PB&J and more a reflection on the possibility of a one-ski quiver. For this reflection to be possible, I needed several days of fresh snow and a mix of park days in between. Luckily, I got just that over the last week in Utah. My friends and I rode at Powder Mountain, Snowbird, and Brighton. We got pow days at Powder and Snowbird, and two bluebird park days at Brighton (a.k.a. milly tube paradise). It was basically the perfect proving ground.
As for the fresh snow, I’d say the experiment was an unmitigated success. I never felt like I was sinking, even with Powder’s relative lack of pitch. My buddy on Surface New Lifes may have looked a bit smoother in the quickly skied out Snowbird chop, but I still felt confident that my minimalism was paying off. (He also had to pay a $50 overweight bag fee. Anthems + New Lifes + outerwear = more than 50lbs.)
You know, just in case you don’t know what skiing park at Brighton is like…
The hardest test came at Brighton. The sky was blue and the park was fun. It’s also a tough test for any single ski because Brighton’s set up includes few jumps and loads of “skate style” shit. There’s lots of ollie-over stuff and tons of butter-worthy rocks and rollers. And it’s in the buttering that I really missed my Joystick Theses. The PB&Js are stiffer and don’t butter nearly as easily as my park noodles. And I’m forced to admit that I regretted leaving my park sticks behind more than once on these bluebird days. I love buttering. I’m old and not that good at rails anymore. But I can butter damnit! And it’s sooo fun.
So did the experiment work? I’m not really sure. If you told me I was leaving today for another trip to Utah, Colorado, Tahoe, or some other place with a mix of great terrain and great parks, I might just haul both pairs of skis along. In this one aspect of my life, I think my minimalism is trumped by how much I love both pairs of skis. But then again, I really hate hauling their heavy asses around the airport. So who knows?
Anybody found the perfect one-ski-quiver or is it skiing’s Sasquatch?