Peter Shelton

Early Season IQ Test

Posted in Ski evolution, Watch columns by pshelton on September 17, 2012

OK, kids. It’s that time of year again when the skiing juices start to flow – even if the sky has yet to loose the white stuff.

The Telluride Film Festival has come and gone. The Imogene Pass Run is history. The season, the reason we’re here, waits just around the corner and thoughts turn – in dreams, certainly, and in moments less appropriate – to sliding down a frozen mountain. How ready are you for those first gliding turns? Take this simple test and find out.

1. Snowstorms in September inevitably result in: a) predictions by newcomers and ski area marketing types for a big winter to come; b) vivid dreams, in which you share a T-bar with Lindsey Vonn; c) mud.

2. True or False: a) Training really hard for the ski season has the same effect on the weather as does washing your car; b) The hot new full-rocker skis, with traditional camber and carving sidecut underfoot, that you bought on sale last spring will remain the ne plus ultra of skiing technology for years to come; c) You don’t need rock skis for the early season because you are such a skilled skier.

3. Telluride’s eight-minute gondola ride to the ridge is: a) the greatest thing since sliced bread; b) an illusion created by clever photographers; c) a real challenge for the romantically gymnastic.

4. React to the following statements with either: “strongly agree,” “strongly disagree,” or “I can’t allow myself to even begin to think about skiing right now, or the rest of my day is toast:” a) The ski bum in America is dead; b) The ski bum in that movie Aspen Extreme was really cute, but for reasons of plot arc he had to die; c) Spider Sabich, the real-life inspiration for Robert Redford’s character in Downhill Racer, was really cute. It’s too bad his girlfriend, Claudine Longet, shot him as he was getting out of the shower, and now he’s dead.

5. Ski bumming is: a) a verb; b) a noun; c) something you do when you left your skis leaning against the wall at home; d) dead.

Test Tip No. 1: Wear ski boots around the house while doing the dishes, watching TV, taking this test, hanging out the wash. Do not wear them to bed. Unless you sleep alone.

6. It will only begin to snow in earnest when (check all that apply): a) You have to make that business trip to Amarillo. b) The last leaf has fallen from the Ute Council Tree. c) The Weather Channel says it won’t.

7. A season pass is not more important than: a) your health; b) taking the next step in your career path; c) life itself.

8. Essay question: Define life itself.

Test Tip No. 2: Do not, repeat do NOT, cut pictures out of Powder Magazine and tape them to the fridge. This will only make time pass more slowly.

9. In 30 seconds, arrange the following word clusters into their natural groupings: Skiing dreams/$100 lift tickets/El Niño winter/stretch pants/global warming/graupel/Bode Miller/Back Bowls Panty Tree/clown shoes/face shots/Winter X-Games/shots of aquavit.

10. You know you’re in big early-season trouble if: a) the snow on runaway truck ramps looks good to you; b) you’ve tuned and waxed your skis twice already; c) you have a daisy chain on your fridge counting down the hours to opening day; d) you actually considered stopping and hiking back to one of those emergency truck ramps.

11. Complete the following by filling in the blank. Example: Carving is to skidding as Thanksgiving turkey is to happy-hour Buffalo wings. a) Man-made snow is to powder as Snoop Dog is to ________; b) Seinfeld is Jack Benny as high-speed quads are to _________; c) Not skiing is to skiing as __________ is to Lindsey Vonn.

Test Tip No. 3: Have a friend or loved one shower you with soap flakes in order to simulate deep powder immersion. In the tub would be good.

12. Avalanches are not a worry in the mountains this time of year because: a) the Colorado Avalanche Information Center is not yet up and running; b) Republicans are threatening to take over both houses of Congress; c) housing in the mountains is so scarce early-arriving snow crystals have mostly entered into stable, long-term bonding arrangements.

13. (Optional) Describe at length your last day last ski season. (Bonus) Count the number of days in the ensuing months when you have not entertained a single thought of sliding on snow. Be honest.

Quiz ends here. The person with the most correct answers, times the number of previously mounted skis in his or her closet, wins a free ticket to Warren Miller’s Sublimation Schuss MMXIII! – reel after reel of slo-mo blue-white snow, giddy people, not a care in the world, leaning into gravity’s embrace . . .

One Response

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  1. Sister Wendell said, on September 17, 2012 at 4:17 am

    only a skier really gets this – but it’s good fun nevertheless!

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