Friday, December 21, 2007

Bumps for Boomers

As Good As News always starts the weekday with the crossword and then a brief One Answer Only post. The picture above, from the Time's review of the movie "Steep" - Talk About Slippery Slopes, appears on the page facing the crossword, so we quickly knew where to start today's main post.

"Steep" is panned for showing too much proselytizing on behalf of the risk and zen (aka "mysterious mumbo jumbo") of big mountain skiing. Most ski films are short. Any attempt at plot is a cornball excuse to tie the ski clips together and introduce the stars. Despite this, the films are fun because the skiing is exhilarating, especially the scenes of the young experts free skiing down mountains that are nearly cliffs. Even some of the gags work. One of my favorite ski scenes, from "There's Something about McConkey", opens on a gaggle of regular skiers pausing at the edge of a steep section to pick their lines. As the group ponders, Shane McConkey zooms down and through them, does a 180 near the rim, then flies into the air, launching into a midair backflip as the gaggle gasps. McConkey, who sometimes skis over cliffs then pulls the ripcord on a parachute, appears in Steep. It's very possible that an overly serious and preachy approach ruined some great ski scenes in Steep, but based on the photo above I'm still willing to see for myself . Too bad, if the review is right, there's a movie still waiting to be made here, maybe not a documentary, but one that combines the ski thrills with a deeper look at the skiers.

Soothing Bumps for Boomers - Starts by noting that 80% of the skiers generally use 20% of the mountain, the groomed intermediate trails, because the baby boomers are afraid of getting hurt in the moguls and glades. Ouch. After working my way up to groomed double blacks over the past few years, I'm getting slammed as a scaredy cat because I haven't taught myself how to ski moguls. Fortunately, the story offers a cure, a three day clinic at Aspen with Joe Nevin, who teaches the "Jerry Seinfeld approach to moguls - do nothing". For only $840 plus airfare and lodging at pricey Aspen, I can overcome my cowardice. Even more fortunately, for next to nothing I can drive to Plattekill and try Mr. Nevin's tips: start with mini-skis, don't edge, keep the flat of your skis on the ground to go slower; don't be afraid to skid; turn on the top of the moguls. So this season, armed with Mr. Nevin's advice, As Good As News will be skiing moguls. If I strike out, I can always look for a late season special at Aspen.

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