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Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Updated: May 1, 2:21 PM ET
Two-Planker Peeves

By Jeff Foss

True skiers love their sport unconditionally...except for that laundry list of stuff they hate with the fire of 1,000 suns.

Larose represents Canada, the Three Phils and inline destruction, and you just can't beef with that.
Shin-Bang
LOATH LEVEL: 9
Cramming your feet into ski boots is like investing in the oil sector: At first it feels indecent and wrong, but then you forget about it and hopefully see a nice return (in this case, a day of ripping). If you'd prefer to embrace the pain, simply land backseat off a booter or unexpectedly rattle over a quick succession of stutter bumps—missteps that will guarantee you a painful case of shin-bang. We HATE that.

The Texas Longhorns and The Charlotte Hornets
LOATH LEVEL: 7
Now I can't say I'm against these organizations categorically—Vince Young is my fantasy QB, and I always thought those Larry Johnson Grandma-Ma commercials were hilarious. But show me a skier in a Texas Longhorns or Charlotte Hornets Starter jacket, and I'll show you the biggest liability on the entire mountain. The upshot is they're really easy to spot (and hear, generally).

Monoskiers
LOATH LEVEL: 6
Two-plankers solicit enough flak from style-savvy snowboarders for swishing down the mountain rather than carving with steeze. So why does this archaic half-breed (monoskiers) insist on cruelly parodying our movements? I'm no MIT grad, but I think the glaring design flaw here is the fact that their feet are stuck together, not to mention the over-abundance of neon and flourescent gear that often accompanies this ill-fated style. Monoskiing is an abomination and it must be stopped!

Philippe Belanger gives rollerblading a good name and freeskiing a pile of style.
The Misguided Rollerblader Connection
LOATH LEVEL: 4
Talking to skiers about rollerblading is like asking Bill Clinton about Roger. But while it's tempting to disavow the froot-booting phenomenon as some sort of isolated perversion, it's important to remember that many of the sport's O.G. innovators—Dave Crichton, Mike Nick, the Three Phils, and Iannick B. to name a few—got their start on eight tiny wheels. Skiers should embrace these influences in all their pole-free glory—it's the mutants who sashay down the boardwalk in fun-pants and fanny packs that we need not be associated with.

The Knee As A Mechanism
LOATH LEVEL: 7
What do shifting snow conditions, steep slopes, high speeds, and rigid DIN settings add up to? Nuked knees. These vulnerable joints account for 50% of skiing-related injuries. Of those, nearly 20% are torn ACLs lost to the dreaded "forward-twisting fall." "Even a little knee injury can ruin your season," says seasoned pro JP Auclair. "I get scared just thinking about that."

Death to fashion.
Jeans, Neck Warmers, and Fake Dreadlock Beanies
LOATH LEVEL: 7
Going skiing isn't like attending Catholic school, and you should be able to wear whatever you damn well please. That said, a few general guidelines:
1) Use your head, people—jeans and snow don't mix. "Why do people wear them to ski?" Asks a confused Auclair. "I never understood. They look funny and get wet fast."
2) Neck warmers are like sweat pants: functional, comfortable, but not quite socially acceptable. "If it's that cold that I would need one, I go inside," says JP.
3) An extremely small percentage of the general population can pull off actual dreadlocks, let alone fake dreadlocks attached to a hat. Just sayin'.

People Who Give Skiing A Bad Name
LOATH LEVEL: 8
Bode Miller, for making us look lazy and indifferent; Victoria Beckham, for furthering the elitist perception of our sport with $2,535 Chanel quilted-leather skis; Sonny Bono, for confusing us and drawing attention to how dangerous our sport can be if you act like a jerk and don't pay attention. You should all be ashamed!

Nature Valley Granola Bars
LOATH LEVEL: 4
God bless the people at Nature Valley for sponsoring competitions like the U.S. Freeskiing Open and giving away thousands of free granola bars at ski resorts every year. But let me ask you straight up: have you ever actually consumed a Nature Valley Granola Bar? The recipe is two parts cardboard, one part gravel, and one part sawdust. If you're ever forced to spend a freezing night outdoors, use them as bone-dry fuel for your fire or crumbly projectiles to kill small game.

This winter, prepared to get lost in a whirlwind of snow, lift tickets and cash. It's a lethal combination, but skiers put up with it.
Safety Bar Nazis
LOATH LEVEL: 8
If you want to push a skier's buttons, sit next to him or her on the lift and yank down the safety bar without warning. "That drives me crazy," says Auclair. "It's especially bad in Europe. Usually it hits you in the head, or you'll be sitting slightly off to one side and that scary vertical part almost racks you."

Skyrocketing Ticket Prices
LOATH LEVEL: 10
Last season, the average lift ticket was $64.17. This year it's jumping to over $70 at most resorts, and Aspen's charging a criminal $87. Brothers and sisters, we're approaching triple digits here! Putting your children on planks is like giving them an expensive drug habit (but thank God our parents got us hooked).