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What has changed since I've been gone?

VTKilarney

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I have gotten back into skiing recently. The last time I went regularly was in the 1990's, and the last time I skied at all was about 2001. I'm embarrassed to say this because I've lived in Vermont since 1997.

I got out for a couple of reasons:
1) Moving to Vermont, I didn't want to be surrounded by people Boston and New York on the weekends.
2) My spouse wasn't really into skiing.
3) I didn't feel challenged at all. I never had a desire to ski moguls, and the trails I did ski were not challenging to me, even when I was on the steep ones.

Now that we have children, and they have taken a liking to skiing, I am thrilled to be back. Skiing is now much more social. I don't need to feel challenged all of the time. I am happy to just get outside and enjoy the days with friends and family. I just bought new skis. My last pair was purchased in 1988 (Dynastar with those weights on the tips). I've even upgraded my Nordica rear-entry boots to the 4 buckle variety!

So my question is: Other than the equipment, what's changed in my absence?

When I last went to major resorts (the first half of the 1990's), skiing on the weekend was INSANELY crowded. Waiting for 15-20 minutes for a lift was to be expected. I get the impression that lift lines are now more reasonable on the weekends. Does this come at the expense of crowded trails?

I also get the impression that after the installation of a lot of high speed quads, there really hasn't been much change in the ski areas. I haven't noticed any changes in the experience itself other than a prevalence of high speed chairs. (When I last skied, an area was lucky to have one HSQ.) It also seems to me that skiers are more serious now. You don't see jeans and sweatpants on the slopes anymore. I get the impression that casual skiing (once or twice a year) has fallen by the wayside.
 

legalskier

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We all got older, but had a lot of fun along the way.
A lot more high speed lifts, even some 6 seaters, which tends to put more skiers on the snow instead of on lines, but that never posed a problem for anyone familiar with the mountain. Many resorts expanded their infrastructures, adding trails, lodge space, improved snow making- a perfect example is Gore.
Skis are shaped now, which imho has caused the biggest change in the sport. Completely different- and easier- body movements than back in the day.
We also left behind the one-piece fart bags.


The one thing that has remained constant is the enjoyment factor.
 
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Nick

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Welcome to AZ!

Yeah, shaped skis are the biggest change. Terrain demand has changed also. Used to be moguls and groomers, now there is more variety - woods and terrain parks have really taken off.

Also most resorts probably have significant lift and snowmaking upgrades since 2001 so you will probably see better snow coverage and faster trips to the top.

Agree with legalskier, enjoyment factor is as high as ever, maybe more with clothes and equipment that make you more comfortable both actually skiing plus warmth.
 

ss20

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Snowmaking quality has improved.
Terrain Parks (jumps, rails, halfpipe, ect.) have become more common, larger features and jumps, and are evenly mixed with skiers and boarders.
Prices have doubled (if you buy at the ticket window).
Coupons, coupons, coupons- no one pays the walk-up rate anymore.
Tree skiing has shot up in popularity.
 

Abubob

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One piece suits have been outlawed. Ski's were shaped, then not, then fat, then rockered.
 

jimk

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The internet. You're doing well to tap into a site like this for info on deals, resorts, gear, instruction, travel advice, etc. You have a world of cyber ski buddies now.

Also, agree about tree skiing. You need to go to a place like Attitash or Bretton Woods or probably several in VT with low angle glades and check them out. Glades are more interesting than groomers and less punishing than moguls provided you don't hit a tree.

Quivers: there is a ski now for every type of terrain and conditions and some people routinely swap between about four pairs depending on the situation. However, still can usually get by with one pair 90% of the time for most eastern conditions.

Multi-area tickets. Possibly more alliances now with one season pass getting you entry to several ski areas.

Helmets, you're now in the minority if you don't wear one and many ski area rental shops require one when renting skis/boards.

Ear buds: every other person you ride a chair with is plugged in at some places, same for helmet cams and other electronic devices designed to enhance onslope experience, but sometimes detract from it.
 

VTKilarney

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You know, my new skis are the fancy "shaped" variety (one hundred fourteen x sixty-eight x ninety-eight), and I've been reading today that I may be doing things wrong. My first time out was this past weekend, and I skied them like I have always skied - with little to no pressure on the uphill ski and by using my feet to turn the skis.

This will take some getting used to...
 

Nick

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Yep. New skis do the work for you. Carving turns by using the ski's natural arc radius is more common than the push down the fall line. Stance is also a bit wider than having your boots touch.

Yeah, a couple other things I didn't consider are in the thread! Helmets, and different skis for every type of terrain now.
 

VTKilarney

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I have also noticed that snowboarding seems much less popular. No complaints from me.

And by the way, I also upgraded my poles from my older pistol grip poles. Seriously.
 

Abominable

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I have also noticed that snowboarding seems much less popular. No complaints from me.

I think you have snowboarding to thank for many of the positive developments over the past two decades, from shaped skis to boundary to boundary skiing to parks and pipes (that last one isn't a plus for everyone though). Snowboarding really woke up the ski industry, in my opinion. But also agree that skiing has become cool again.
 

VTKilarney

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My only real complaint with snowboarders is that there seemed to be many novice snowboarders that would carpet slide down an entire trail and scrape the living hell out of the snow. Novice skiers can do a number on the snow, but they would at least turn a little.
 

legalskier

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My first time out was this past weekend, and I skied them like I have always skied - with little to no pressure on the uphill ski and by using my feet to turn the skis.

This will take some getting used to...

No sense skiing the old way on new technology. You'd probably benefit from a lesson with an experienced instructor who can show you on the snow exactly how much technique has changed because of changes in design- part of which is what Nick mentioned; but there's more to it than that.

I think you have snowboarding to thank for many of the positive developments over the past two decades, from shaped skis to boundary to boundary skiing to parks and pipes (that last one isn't a plus for everyone though). Snowboarding really woke up the ski industry, in my opinion.

Agreed. I have a lot of fun on my twin tips.
 
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Abominable

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My only real complaint with snowboarders is that there seemed to be many novice snowboarders that would carpet slide down an entire trail and scrape the living hell out of the snow. Novice skiers can do a number on the snow, but they would at least turn a little.

True, when snowboarding first got big a high percentage of the boarders out there were beginners, and that resulted in a lot of antagonism and boards being banned at certain mountains, etc. I remember having to take a little test before riding the lifts at some places in the 90s.

Oh, and snowboard leashes are a thing of the past, thank goodness.

Kind of like you I took some time off, maybe taking a trip out west once in awhile but not really riding a lot in the NE. Many reasons for getting back into it over the past couple years, but this site has turned me on to a lot of smaller, more fun places that I'd forgotten or never knew about. Old school lifts and lodges, dollar beers.... that's where it's at now. Less Mt. Snow, more Magic!

Oh, and, beards. Everyone has beards now.
 

Abubob

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I think you have snowboarding to thank for many of the positive developments over the past two decades, from shaped skis to boundary to boundary skiing to parks and pipes (that last one isn't a plus for everyone though). Snowboarding really woke up the ski industry, in my opinion. But also agree that skiing has become cool again.

Oh, I wish you hadn't said that. :roll:
 
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