Maxed Out 

Renntigers R.I.P.

Aside from the obvious environmental and warp speed consumerism consequences, there is an entirely subjective reason behind my disdain for the gluttonous vortex sucking my fellow boomers down the black hole of ever larger McMansions. I suffer from an ailment medical researchers – thanks to the Human Genome Project – have now officially identified and named. I am a packrat. I forget the Latin name for it.

Packratism is, of course, a matter of degree. For example, I’m not a packrat like my Cariboo neighbour Stan. Stan is a high priest packrat; I am a novitiate. It’s one of the reasons I like to hang with him, kind of an Obi wan Kenobi, learn from the master thing.

My own nostrum to keep packratism under control is the artifice of living small. I’m sure it’s one of the reasons I like Whistler – I simply can’t afford to live large in a town where building lots run a million bucks and "affordable" homes a quarter or more of that. My living quarters are a bit like my brain; if I want to add something new, I’ve got to get rid of something already taking up space.

And so it is with heavy heart I’m planning the arrangements for the final resting place of several dearly departed pairs of skis. It is, perhaps, unorthodox to eulogize something so inanimate as skis but I feel a need to recognize their contribution to my own humanity.

Völkl Renntiger "R" Weltcup: 1988-1996

Electric piss-yellow, 205 centimetres of absolutely parallel edges from turned-up tip to stomped-on tail, my Renntigers were the first ski I ever owned and were, therefore, largely responsible for most of the orthopedic aliments plaguing me today.

Having come to skiing at an advanced age – a destination that surely puzzled my parents who spent the better part of my youth rushing me to doctors to be stitched up or otherwise ministered to after falling off bikes, roofs, walls and through various panes of glass, so co-ordinated was I – it was quite possibly negligent for the clerk at Sign of the Skier in Toronto to even sell me the Völkls.

But having yielded to the addiction of skiing and spent almost two full seasons renting skis I was sure were hampering my advancement in the sport, I engaged in what scientists like to call an uncontrolled experiment. I dutifully spent the day at a small – aren’t they all – private hill in Onterrible testing one ski after another. I wasn’t looking for superior carving power, edge-holding capabilities on sheer ice, responsiveness through the gates or free-running glide. I was looking for a ski that would enable me to get down the slope, all the way from top to bottom, at least once, in something more or less approximating a standing position. I found it in a white, cracked-edge Völkl Targa.

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