LEFT AND RIGHT. RIGHT?
» I read your review of the Elan Amphibio with great interest (“Elan: Slovenian for common sense,” First Tracks, Winter 2011). But I have a question. When you accidentally skied with the skis switched left for right, what was the effect? You indicated that something was obviously wrong. Was there noticeable change in stability or control characteristics? Overall, a great review.
ALAN MAGUIRE, Collingwood, Ontario
I took only a few turns then realized I had them on the wrong feet and switched back. But the pair felt very strange, totally different from my earlier runs, as if I had switched from one extreme category to another (like going from a big freeride twin to a slalom ski or something). An interesting test indeed!
MEMORIES OF CLIVE
» As a former avid reader of Ski Canada, I have not looked at a copy of your magazine since 1985 when I fled from Toronto to Hong Kong, which is not noted for its knee-deep powder. Now located south of Whistler, I picked up a recent issue, while at the same time speculating as to whether Clive Hobson was still involved. Words fail me to describe how I felt when confronted by the sad, sad news (First Tracks,
“Clive Hobson, 1948-2011,” Fall 2011).
In the late ’70s, I had mucked around, as we did in those days, in India, and with a few travel pieces published, I took a chance and called Clive upon my return to Toronto. He didn’t know me from a hole in the ground when I asked him if he had any interest in a ski piece on Kashmir. After reading your sensitive and forthright description of his life, I know his response typified the verve and spirit that kept him at the helm for so many years: “My gosh,” he said, “I didn’t know they skied in India. We might be a bit thin with the season ending, so ship it over and perhaps we can do something.” It appeared in the Spring 1981 issue as (gulp!) “Sikking Kashmir.” Gulmarg had only a couple of rope tows and a single chairlift at that time, so it was more an account of the journey rather than the destination, but Clive ran it anyway.
Under the circumstances, it was not an easy way to be reunited with the magazine, but I’m appreciative that it still has Clive’s stamp all over it, including Doug Sager (Letter from the Alps, “Grumpy Old Men”).
MALCOLM BELL (another Grumpy Old Man),
Lions Bay, B.C.
» I’m 13 years old and I was wondering if you could use any of these photos in your magazine. All of them were taken at Red Mountain in B.C., which is my home mountain. I subscribe to you guys and I love your magazine.
JEFFREY ASHTON, Rossland, B.C.
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?
» Please stop using so much space in your magazine to describe ski test data. To be blunt, those reading Ski Canada don’t care about skis for intermediate skiers or the lower end or middle of the pack skis. I would much prefer to read about the best in every category, or to just point me online for full details. Your way doesn’t give me a choice. It seems half the magazine, for the first three issues, is full of equipment crap I don’t want to read about. I’d much rather read about what’s happening in the resorts I frequent, with an insider’s look telling a story about a writer and his friends having fun skiing at a resort. Tell me a local’s perspective on hard-to-find terrain and fun stories that will change the way I see my snowy world. Really, enough of the ski test and equipment constantly!
RICHARD SENTOURIEN, Toronto
» I appreciate Ski Canada and the efforts made for the ski test reviews every year. That said I would ditch the current program in favour of far fewer reviews with more time on each ski. Second, maybe grab a few hardcore locals and skiers who don’t teach for a living. Some of the reviews and feedback are barely relevant for many of the skis tested since they simply don’t have the time on the ski to evaluate it.
Examples? I’ve picked Kästle after demoing many and purchasing the MX78 a year ago. I know the product and think they are arguably the best-made skis on the market. They’re skier-driven, not advertising- and sponsorship-driven.
Kastle BMX 108: Stability 6.7—huh? Compared to what, a competition downhill WC ski? Did you ski it in crud, fresh snow or just hardpack. Likely the latter with that feedback. I’ve skied it, talked to others who have had that ski at pass-revoking speeds in Whistler, and we all think it’s unfl appable, the kind of ski you get 40,000 feet of vert in a day on.
BMX 98: “Light and lively, doesn’t like much speed.” Did she actually ski it in the right length or at all? Everyone I heard at the Kästle demos had the opposite reaction, including me. Big sweet spot sure, but you’ll be going faster than you likely ever have without drama on this ski and in the worst kind of snow. But a Rossi S3 is stable in comparison? Sorry, this ski does not compare. It’s fun, but not the skier ski the Kästle’s or Blizzard’s are in the same test.
I used to work in a shop and got to demo whatever I wanted, and still take time to demo gear every year. What I have found is that while I like magazine reviews, I don’t put much stock in the reviews. Improving the on-snow review format might just buy you more credibility with the ski shops, too, and become a more valuable resource to them.
Hope I made some sense. It’s late and maybe the Swix was getting to my head.
CHRIS GRAVEL, North Vancouver, B.C.
Skip the test reports in the magazine and go straight to SkiFinder. Input your skiing characteristics, pick a category and let SkiFinder sort the test results for you. This year’s Ski Canada Test is at Fernie BC March 19-23