Are You a Retro-Skier?

Are you a Retro-Skier?  In other words, are you a skier who has shared some of the memories included in this column?  Here’s a pop quiz to see how you rate as a Retro-Skier. Yes, I know, once a teacher always a teacher.

For each question, check all the answers that apply:

1. Indicate which of the following skis you have skied:

  • ____Wooden skis, no steel edges
  • ____Wooden skis with steel edges
  • ____Wooden skis with P-Tex base
  • ____Head Skis: Masters, Comp GS, or Comp Slalom
  • ____Rossi Stratos

2.  Indicate the length of skis you have skied

  • ____Greater than 210cm (men), 200cm (women)
  • ____206-210cm (men), 191-200cm (women)
  • ____201-205cm (men), 181-190cm (women)
  • ____180-200cm (men), 160-180cm (women)
  • ____Less than 180cm (men), 160cm (women)

3. Indicate which of the following ski boots you have used

  • ____Laced leather ski boots with no inner boot
  • ____Laced leather ski boot with laced inner boot
  • ____Leather buckle ski boots
  • ____Plastic ski boots
  • ____Foamed-fit ski boots

4. Indicate which of the following bindings you have used

  • ____Bear trap, free-heel bindings
  • ____Cable binding with release capability
  • ____Racing Turntable (Bonus point if you used a long-thong)
  • ____Cubco binding
  • ____Look Nevada toe piece

5. Indicate which of the following ski lifts you have used

  • ____There were no lifts, I walked!
  • ____Rope tow
  • ____T-bar or J-bar
  • ____Poma lift
  • ____Single Chair

6. Indicate which of the following ski pants you have worn

  • ____Wool snow pants
  • ____Knickers
  • ____Gabardine in-the-boot ski pants
  • ____In-the-boot stretch pants
  • ____Over-the-boot stretch pants (Bonus point if you had stretch pants with a racing stripe!)

7. Indicate which of the following ski parkas you have worn

  • ____Poplin pullover
  • ____Long-line parka with belt
  • ____Down-filled parka
  • ____Wind shirt (Bonus point if it had a flowered or psychedelic pattern!)
  • ____One-piece ski suit (Bonus point if it was fluorescent colors!)

8. Indicate which of the following ski hats you have worn

  • ____Cap with ear flaps and chin strap(See photo)Ski cap with ear flaps and chin strap
  • ____Hand-knit head and ear band
  • ____Moriarty hat
  • ____Knit hat with big pom-pom (Subtract one point if that hat was long enough to also be used as a scarf!)
  • ____Helmet

9. Indicate which of the following you have done

  • ____Carried a stick of wax with you so you could wax during a day of skiing
  • ____Hot waxed your own skis (Bonus point if you used your mother’s or wife’s iron!)
  • ____Used a flat bastard mill file on your skis
  • ____Used a P-Tex candle to repair your ski
  • ____Burned a hole in the carpet with a P-Tex candle

10. Indicate which of the following you have paid for an all-day ski ticket

  • ____Less than $5
  • ____$5 – $20
  • ____$21 – $50
  • ____$51 – $80
  • ____Greater than $80

5 Point bonus if the first lift-served ski area you ever skied is no longer a ski area!

Add up the number of checks plus bonuses to determine your score!

There are 60 total points available including bonuses.  How do you rate?

  • Greater than 45 points – you are the ultimate Retro-Skier and should be writing this column!
  • 35-45 points – You’re a Retro-Skier!  (I scored a 40!)
  • 15-34 points – You’re a Retro-Skier with an *, sort of like Barry Bonds’ home run record.
  • Less than 15 points – It’s great to be young!  See all the things you missed.
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14 Responses to Are You a Retro-Skier?

  1. Bob Stewart says:


    I answered your quiz TRUTHFULLY and only scored 42 points. I was deeply disappointed that I did not make the cut for Ultimate Retro Skier. Then I realized that I should get at least 5 additional points for skiing with a pure long thong setup, i.e. with bear trap toe and fixed, non-turntable heel. Also, how many respondents recall actually installing steel edges and applying Ebonite to bare wood bottoms?

    Any one claiming the full 60 points is exhibiting ” creative memory”. But that is OK because that affliction is common among us Ultimate Retro Skiers.

  2. David Bryan says:

    41. My uncle worked for DuPont in the 50s. One thanksgiving he brought a roll of a new product that would eventually become Teflon. My brother and I tried to glue it on the bottoms of our Northlands. We couldn’t make it stay on, but we might have been the first to ski on a “super slippery” running surface.

  3. norma stancliffe says:

    42. I’ve been skiing here since i could walk in 1948! I rode the single chair in my mom’s backpack at 6 mo & got bad frostbite that Dr Harwood gave me codene for! I learned to walk on skis at my parents B&B in Waterbury.My dad taught me to ski down the side of the Waterbury reservoir dam. We have pictures! Eventually i graduated to the rope tow behind the Den on North slope. At 8 i won my 1st MMSC race when my parents started the Ski Hostel Lodge in Waterbury Ctr sort of a Trapp story who own it now. !I continued to race all thru college & ski bum races till my kids took over. I used the books of tickets with coupons before they had passes. Eventually i graduated to Northland skis. There was a ski shop in the bottom of the base lodge where the original owner just gave me equip & wax because my dad parked cars with Brian Lindners dad-Erwin who lived upstairs which became Henry Simineu’s office. I was in a playpen with Brian’s bro Bruce while our parents went skiing. I’ll never forget their trapped skins hanging inside & cooking on wood stove. I even counted quarters at the end of the day with grandpa Lindner he collected to park from his tiny booth on Mansfield! My dad stayed in the Stonehut with Charlie Lord & the gang called Men of the Mt club who hung out at our lodge! I use to ski almost daily before i went to work tending bar in Stowe for 30 yr!

    • Lyndall Heyer says:

      Well I scored a 43. Should not be that old yet…..Maybe I can lower it a little?It was actually a composite score between Scott and I and he is older- so it is really his score. He paid $2 for a Jr ticket in Aspen when he was 15. I raced on 203 Rossignols when I was 15, but Scott is the one who used laced leather boots with no inner laces, not me. So I guess I score about a 40 and Scott is a 43. But darn, then I have to add a bonus point for the long thong with the race turntable…. We both had those CB sports thin(really thin) strech pants with the racing stripe… Oh the memories….loved reading Norma’s memories!!

  4. David Minton says:

    Well, I’m stepping up with an honest 52.
    (was a Catamount kid from ’57 on, and by the start of the 60’s rode Head Comps w/Nevada Toe and Heel Swivel /LOOOOONG thong, and wore in-the-boot racing striped stretch pants with my helmet….vrooom. )

    Never trusted putting Poma disc between my legs, but remember when Catamount was all rope above the middle of the mountain!!

    We walked/climbed when the lifts were closed at Mohawk in ’64 during the week for ski team at my prepschool. I was skiing Rossi straight cuts in the late 90’s as short shapes came around (and those damn clown feet skis took all the art out of carving!). Loved my Moriarity (go Marvin!!), and wouldn’t have been caught dead with a “big pom-pom”.

    And what’s with “ticket prices”?? I have managed to be the one getting paid … and consider it a point of honor to go comp or on a payroll when I hit the mountain ever since my first teaching gig.

  5. Svenine says:

    Woo! 11, yep. I still love this blog though.

  6. Don Simonds says:

    I fall in a W-I-I-DE range of 47 to 54.

    In about 1947 the “Founding Fathers” of the Gilford (NH) Outing Club cobbled together a rope tow just outside the village from a 1932 Ford Model A “Woody” on blocks with the rope strung mysteriously among the tireless steel rims so as to send the rope down the 140′ vertical on more steel rims mounted on scrounged telephone poles. (my Dad worked for NE Telephone)

    The warming hut was Penny Pitou’s family outhouse, newly surplus from their upgraded farm house!

    My Dad took me to Gunstock (then “Belknap Mountain Recreation Area”) several years earlier but he reported I did not do much other than sit down and eat a lot of snow; I may have walked around a little on bear traps with free heel (possible one point) and if that was all then perhaps I could claim five points for the Model A which was retired in 1952 when GOC upgraded to 200’+ vertical by purchasing an operating V-8 powered tow just down the road which in turn last operated in 1980.

    Lastly if knickers for cross country skiing qualifies I could claim one more point…..

    For David Minton who posted posted just above, the New England Ski Museum sent out a postcard titled “Rope Tow at Catamount, Massachusetts” which was very similar to our rig; I attempted finding it on their website to no avail.

    Thanks much Greg for your great articles!!

  7. Sporty Bell says:

    I come up with a 48. One more if my kid’s Cubcos count. No bonus for nonexistent ski area. I learned it all at Stowe! Wish I was still skiing.

  8. Russ King says:

    I scored 50 . I am 84 but didn’t start skiing until age 12 ie.72 years of skiing. At Stowe since 1962. The Yodeler, Scandanavii Inn and Rocky River Lodge (Jenny Gales place) Lots of changes since then. Have had a Stowe season pass since 1963 and have skiied all over the West plus a couple times in Austria and Switzerland. Still at it and will spend much of the winter of ’13 /’14 in Stowe. Have not skiied Goat, Starr or upper National in MANY years. Love it especially skiing w/grand Kids who ski behind me (to pick me up?).
    PS Answer to 86 year old Famous Skiier whose birthday is 12/10 is Stein Ericsson

  9. Peter Hawks says:

    Hi Greg,

    I am introducing the program at the Burlington Rotary Club tomorrow. You are the speaker. I am looking forward to your talk about tdhe Vt ski and snowboard museum.

    I came accross your retro ski survey from November and took it…scary.. honest answers: score 58 I am feeling very retro at the moment. The 2 bonus questions:
    Hogback (Marlboro, Vt) 1948 …rope and t-bar; How can you not race in the 50s without a beartrap toe and Northland red thong. The problem: Northland thongs (3.95 per pair) cut pretty easily. Soliution: go to harness shop and get real leather thongs…indestructible…

    see you tomorrow

  10. Bob Campbell says:

    53 if burning a hole in the carpet with the iron counts then it’s 54. You didn’t include did you ever lacquer your skis with faski the green dope or use teytape to put a plastic like bottom on your skis. Moriarity sweater. Or have ski wear from slalom in Newport, Vt. Or how about getting launched by a rope tow without a safety gate because you ski jacket wound up in the rope. Started skiing in 1949 at Vermont Academy when I was three on ski that are longer than the ones I use today. Skied to school nearly every day .Just completed my 50th season of teaching skiing. At the completion of my winter in New Zealand I wrote the following piece. Today finishes my 50th season of teaching and coaching skiing over a 47 year span at A-basin in Colorado, Bromley and Okemo Mountain in Vermont, and Treblecone in New Zealand. It is a career that I am proud of and by no particular design, have been incredibly lucky to have. My career has encompassed Olympic team members and medalists, amazing coaches and competitors at both the highest and lowest levels of competition, many members of the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame, fourteen terrific ski school directors from whom the lessons over the years have been invaluable. There are so many people I could name personally , but it is the instructors and other mountain families and employees, I have worked, skied and played with for the past 50 seasons who have the made me want come back year after year. It is their lessons and friendship that make this profession worthy . To Okemo and Treblecone, where I have spent the last ten seasons and continue to work, I owe a special thanks., The unsung part-timers , the new instructors just getting your wings and surviving your first lessons and struggling to earn enough to pay rent and food and for those with two jobs, enough sleep, the full timers and core staff , and the management teams and at Treblecone the drivers who get us to the mountain, you have all given and have taught me so much. I am indebted to your patience and humor with my vision and hearing and my, “has anybody seen my……whatever”. To those I may never see again, your friendship and memories will endure. To the others, I look forward to another season around the corner. And to all of you best wishes in all your endeavors more seasons. To all of you out there, you know who you are, thanks for an amazing ride.

    Just for fun, the numbers:
    64 years skiing
    47 years teaching and coaching
    50 seasons teaching
    12 years competition
    3600+/- days of skiing
    6 disciplines alpine/jumping/xc/freestyle/tele/at
    58 ski areas
    108 pairs of skis
    33 pair ski boots
    4 ski schools
    14 ski school directors
    15 different uniforms
    3 countries
    8 kinds of ski lifts
    2 broken bones (clavicle and greenstick radius)
    0 knee injuries
    5 injuries where skiing wasn’t possible the next day
    1 hangover ( missed 2 days passed out for 28 hours)
    5 concussions where I saw stars ( none serious I don’t think)
    2 dislocated shoulders one surgery
    1 metal hip (skiing and motorcycle crashes)
    7000+/_ lessons
    1 serious student injury ( ACL two years ago)
    3 non serious student injuries
    2 toboggan rides for me ( crashed into a lift house in a race
    fortunately it moved three feet off the foundation and
    caved in the wall. Scared the hell out of the liftie other
    for dislocated shoulder passed out from pain)
    1000’s of new friends,memories, andstories
    1 father who supported and encouraged, never pushed
    and sadly for me, quit just as skiing got easier
    1 mother who never skied but got dressed once for a photo
    10 brothers and sisters all who have skied
    2 sons who are amazing on skis
    2 grandchildren who know no fear

  11. jim field says:

    I got a 43,
    no gabardine ski pants,
    and NO, I didn’t wear Jensen’s ski hat with ski flaps!

  12. jim field says:

    no jensen EARFLAPS!

  13. Jim plomasen says:

    scored 53. am at the Ancient Skiers gathering at Sum Valley Idaho this week. Just turned 70 and have skied 1000 days since my 60th birthday. Lifetime ski days? Lost track somewhere. Fun quiz. There are people here who would score a perfect 60 with no problem. Nelson Bennett for one, just turned 99…..10th Mt division, skilift pioneer, ski patrol pioneer, area operator etc. has plans to be here next year at 100.

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