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Plan the perfect playlist

Charlie OwenVail, CO, Charlie
Photo Illustration by Steve Larson
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During the 80s it was the Sony Walkman, in the 90s, the portable CD player, and since 2001 the iPod has been the sonic messiah for millions of music lovers. In this distracted age of free downloading and 24-hour entertainment, it only makes sense to integrate your favorite tunes into every activity possible, from schoolwork to washing dishes. Now that winter looms over the valley, snow fanatics are pulling the gear out of the closet, praying for powder, and downloading their favorite tunes in preparation for the coming season. Possibly the most important feature of any iPod is the ability to create individual playlists for every occasion. A playlist is a group of songs under one title in the iPod settings. Creating a playlist for every occasion has become an art form, and since iPods can hold up to a thousand songs or more, the possibilities are endless.Kordi Schmidt moved to Vail from Canada almost five years ago and she snowboards as often as her career in massage therapy will allow her. Besides boots, board, and gloves, Schmidt pockets her 20-gigabyte iPod before heading to the mountain. If I was with a group I was okay without it, but if I was by myself I had to have it, Schmidt said. She fashions her playlists for different types of days. I have playlists for powder days, sunny days, and park days, said Schmidt, quick to include that, My favorite band is Modest Mouse to ride to.During the big powder days she includes bands such as Linkin Park and the Beastie Boys in her playlist, on park days, she likes something with a little more edge like Snoop Dogg and Fifty Cent. On sunny days it was just chillin, cruisin music like Jurassic 5 and Bob Marley, she said.

Some people liken forgetting their iPod to feeling naked. Sometimes it could throw your riding off. The music just gives you a flow. When youre used to riding with your iPod and then one day you dont have it, it just feels off, Schmidt said.Avon resident Stephen Miller hopes to get 150 days on the slopes this season. He brings a 4-gig iPod and an iPod Shuffle just in case one of them runs out of battery power. I usually dont enjoy it if my battery dies or I forget my headphones, its kind of a bummer, Miller said.Like Schmidt, Miller chooses to ride while listening to certain playlists for certain situations. Hip-hop dominates most of his playlists, but he also said the beauty of the iPod is the surprise factor that comes when you use the shuffle feature. Songs on a playlist play randomly with this feature, so the listener never knows whats coming next. Sometimes heavy metal will come on and Ill head for the steepest, fastest runs I can find, Miller said. Most of Millers playlists consist of at least 20 songs, but contain up to 150 songs.On the opposite side of the coin is front-ranger Andrew Martin, who has skied with his iPod before but doesnt anymore. He doesnt like having to turn the volume up to battle the rushing wind. If he did ski to music, Martin said he would prefer funk like James Brown and Curtis Mayfield. He also digs Tool, AC/DC and Primus when getting really amped up.Im the type of person that puts headphones on for everything else except when Im on the mountain. Thats one activity I do without music, Martin said.A day on the mountain without music? Its almost unimaginable.Arts & Entertainment writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.


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