Riders cling to duct-taped dinosaurs
VAIL – If it breaks, duct tape.Stop and take a look at people’s attire and equipment the next time you’re standing in line at the gondola. Besides the flamboyant fashionable 80s one-piecers, you’ll find an array of telemark skiers with tape on their knees, skis straight and long enough for the jolly green giant and snowboards missing giant hunks.Why do people continue to cling to this overused and broken gear? ‘Cuz it still works, they say.
“I could get new pants if I weren’t such a hippie freak,” said Scott Peterson, better known as DJ Weez in local circles.The knees of Weez’s 6-year-old black pants shined with gray gold; the grand-daddy of jury rigs – duct tape.”Eventually I’ll get something new,” Weez said. “Since they still function, I’ll ride them out.”Frank Haaland of Waverly, Iowa lovingly held his skis, aged to a fine six years. “What do I need new stuff for?” Haaland said. “These already go faster than my ability.”Dillon resident Chris “Hot Dog” Hathaway owns perhaps the cheapest skiing setup – cost of skis, boots and poles totaled $140.
“The reason I use it is because I don’t want to spend a $1,000 every year when the sport shouldn’t cost so much,” Hathaway said. “I’ve been skiing 34 to 35 years and never paid much of anything for stuff.”The bearded firefighter sports 2002 K2 Mambas straight as two-by-fours right out of the mill. They were $60 at a second-hand shop. A foot of metal edge has been hacked out of his other pair of skis, which he still uses when things get a little rocky.”If you’ve got enough snow you don’t really need that edge,” Hathaway said.Hathaway has considered adding powder skis to his quiver, but he said, “sometimes they make riding too easy.””I’ve been riding on stuff that was 10 to 15 years out of date since I started riding,” he said.
The boots are rear-entry Nordicas he buys each year for $60 at a local rental shop. He’s on his fourth pair of the Nordicas because the heel cables often bust, but they are the only kind that keep his skinny heels from sliding around, he said.Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Vail, Colorado