Whistler’s unwanted skis 

"One of the top three slalom skis in our 1991 test, the (1992-93) 7SK loves rapid-fire fall-line turning and slices up boilerplate ice with a high degree of finesse. Quick but smooth – a winner in gates."

— Skiing Magazine, September, 1992

The 7SK was at the top of Rossignol’s line of skis in 1992, with a suggested list price of $500 US.

Ten years later, you can pick up a pair of 7SKs – with bindings – at the Re-Use-It Centre in Function Junction for something between $5 and $20. The skis need a tune up, having sat outdoors in all kinds of weather for a while, but presumably they are still capable of slicing up boilerplate with a high degree of finesse.

You can also find a pair of Head slalom skis, Dynamic VR27s and Fischer RC4s in the same price range, all skis that were top of the line equipment offered by their respective manufacturers just a few years ago. If you want something of an earlier vintage you can find a pair of Hexcels or Spaldings.

To the non-skier, or an occasional skier, the mound of skis at the Re-Use-It Centre seem perfectly fine. Collectively skiers paid thousands of dollars for these skis and most of them still have some life left in them.

At lots of ski areas around the world you will see some of these boards on the slopes this winter. There may even be a few local skiers venturing down to Function to pick up a pair to use on Whistler and Blackcomb early in the season.

But for the most part these are unwanted skis. They may still be capable of rapid-fire fall-line turning, but the new models in the ski shops are even faster, easier to turn and more stable then the old 7SKs or the VR27s.

Ski design has gone through some radical (for the ski industry) changes in recent years, as "shaped" skis have made the sport easier and more enjoyable. And the old skis obsolete.

These skis are so passé they aren’t even accepted at the annual ski swap anymore, so they are donated to the Re-Use-It Centre.

The difference between the new shaped skis and the old ones is hard to explain to someone who doesn’t ski. At Function Junction they see a bunch of sticks made of plastic, metal and fibreglass that can still do exactly what they were intended to do.

But the new skis do it better.

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