Ode to the Head Plant

Posted by on Jun 9, 2011 in Daily Blog, Random | 1 comment

I like ski porn as much as the next ski junkie but I have noticed a disturbing trend. All photos and articles in the magazines and movies focus on skiers that stay upright. What the ski media needs is an ode to the head plant, an elegy to the yard sale, and an homage to the cart wheeling somersault. No matter how good a skier you become, how many tracks you lay, the crash looms inevitable, waiting behind every weight shift. There are days when I believe that in 15 years of telemarking the only thing that I have perfected is a good tumble.

It is my wife that taught me to telemark. When I met her I was a dedicated skinny skier and jean wearing down hiller. My wife was kicking around a pair of telemark legends, the E99’s. At that time I was convinced that I could keep up with her and her plunging lines on a pair of New Nordic Norms. Early in my relationship with my then girlfriend, and a developing relationship with new, steeper, terrain, her father offered to take me skiing. We trekked upwards on an access road and opted for a more cross-country approach for the way down. When we returned to the house my wife’s step-mother asked my future father-in-law how well I skied. His reply, “He crashes better than anyone else I have ever seen”.

Over the years I have established an annual first venture ski ritual. I only allow myself to be accompanied by people with low expectations. I have enough experience to know what my first day out will include. On those first days I generally spend more time practices acrobatics than I do dropping knees. Fortunately my wife has a clear understanding of my capabilities, is tolerant, and doesn’t count on me to log a lot of vertical.

I have come to gain a real sense of comfort in the head plant. Skis developed side cut, got fat, and then someone bent them the wrong way. Boots are now made of plastic and don’t pinch your toes. Bindings don’t rip out of skis or have that damn toe lever over the duck bill. Hell, they are even trying to take the duck bill away. Nowadays a telemarker doesn’t have the pins to be called a pinhead. Through all the changes, the crash has persisted. You can rely on it like an old friend with a fondness for giving wet willies. In an era where magazines and videos show skiers soaring through the air with snow trailing behind like a contrail, now more than ever do we deserve proper recognition of the out of control human projectile.

I for one am proud of my ability to jam snow into any exposed crevice. In my mind, crashing has been elevated to a skill, commensurate with landing big drops and shredding big lines. I implore the ski industry to dedicate more pages to the crash. Turn that magazine upside down . . . then right side up . . . then upside down . . . then, well you get it.



One Comment

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