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Slavs

When we Drove 02s and Skied on Longboards

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(edited)

There was a time not so long ago, devoid of cell phones, when a gallon of premium fuel cost 75 cents and when the Radio Shack TRS 80 desktop computer was state of the art, the era of pre-Windows.

 

Down here in Southern California, we actually had a real winter season in the mountains, home to about 15 ski areas with natural snow. The ski season spanned from November through May at the higher slopes. And, the car of choice to get there was the 02. There were no five speed overdrive conversions and 14” or 15” tires with corresponding low profile tires. You got there on Michelins, Pirellis or Continentals sized in 185/70 X 13 or 165/80 X 13.  And, you shifted through four speeds, only. You could always count on finding a handful of 02s in the parking lot.

Now, we get a decent snow season every 10 years, coinciding with the El Niño weather pattern.  And, when you get to the slopes, there are no more 02s in the parking lots. The few skiers there ski on short shaped skis resembling small snowboards.  The skiing style is no longer graceful with long sweeping turns. Skiers now slightly shift their weight and wiggle their bodies to induce small radius turns, as the shaped skies turn on their own.  But, they are also unstable. The only vestige of old school skiing left today is among the high speed downhill racers.

 

Most of the family owned ski areas have been bought up by large corporate operators who installed new lifts and equipment, including the annoying snow-making machines. This was the case in Wrightwood, CA where three ski areas were merged into one. Mt. High. A similar phenomenon occurred at Big Bear. These places are expensive and crowded with snowboarders. But, there are a few of the old school places left, including Mt. Baldy, Mt. Waterman and Snow Valley.  Here the lodges are crowded with lookie –loos out for a short trip to the local mountains, while the packed powder slopes are nearly empty.  At Mt. Baldy an old school chair lift with wood slats on the chairs takes visitors from the parking lot at the 6,000 ft. level to the lodge, with a cafeteria and bar, at 7,800ft. It operates year long, and the scenic ride up sets you back about $20. The place obviously no longer owes its survival to skiers. The views from the higher elevation slopes of Mt. Baldy are breathtaking with a 360 degree field of view from the desert to the Ocean and Catalina Island.  The 10,000 ft. peak of Mt. Baldy (Mt. San Antonio) is the dominant landmark in the San Gabriel Mts., visible from Downtown Los Angeles, a mere 45 minutes away.

 

But, skiing is like driving. It’s really not as fun if you’re doing it all alone. After descending the slopes a couple of times on my old school 212CM straight long-board skis, making long sweeping turns at 40MPH + and taking some pics, I returned home.  Now the 02s are being bought by “Collectors”, swan neck mirrors command in excess of $200. An early 66-67 ash-trey may set you back another $200. And the few skiers left no longer carve the slopes in those sweeping majestic turns.

Edited by Slavs
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(edited)

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Edited by Slavs
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Thanks for the write up.

Reminds me of Mt Watatic (less the big mountain views) when I was a kid. East coast (Mass.) mountain, family owned...long gone.

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Great little write-up, and nice photos. Thanks Slav! 

 

Can't help but think about how you mention there used to be seasonal snow, and now it's on a per-decade schedule tied to a specific weather anomaly. 

 

The times(and climate) they are a-change-in'.  

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ah...the memories of skiing on my "long" 210 Ohlin Mark IIIS's and "short" 200 Ohlin Mark IV Comp mogul skiis.   stopped skiing a while ago, but a few years ago drug out the Dynastar 200 mogul skiis and tried a day locally.   couldn't ski the bumps...not just because i am old and broken....because the mogul fields were all cut up for the new little bitty skiis.  oh well.

 

you couldn't find a 2002 in a ski area parking lot nowadays....would be lost in a sea of massive SUV's.

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Growing up in Florida, we grew up skiing on water...I still miss my 16' Carter Craft boat/40 hp Evinrude; we'd go water skiing along the Middle River in Ft Lauderdale where it was wide enough to make turns without putting the skier into a seawall.  This was back when one could pilot a boat in Ft L at faster than a walking speed, and the water wasn't so crowded with boats that you didn't dare pull a skier.  But I did marry the girl I took sking a lot...

 

mike

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(edited)

nice story...so true

 

ski corps' are buying EVERYTHING. My favorite old school hill..Homewood on Tahoe's west shore...was recently bought up by an evil faceless conglomerate who's collecting ski resorts..... Then converting them into fancy shmancy uppity' better bring your American Express boutique resorts.

They bring in lots of "J-1's"...usually people from South America...to fill out the work force. The local kids get shut out of precious ski resort jobs... The litter the mountains with expensive condo's...it's truly a crime against the whole soul of skiing.

 

 Sad...it used to be financially very reasonable for anyone including families to ski there. Tickets were CHEEP!!! 

 

I put cable chains on an 02 one time. That's it. Of course they made a bunch of noise and drove me crazy the 20 miles over Donner Summit lol. It was a stock car so there was plenty of room for chains but they still banged on the wheel wells

 

the first day of this season I drove my tii to Sugar Bowl to ski. It's 3 miles away from home and the pavement was dry....awesome

Edited by iinca
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Due to a school transfer when I was in collage, I had a winter semester off and got hired at Crystal mountain as a laborer when it came to picking a job there was a posting for avalanche control, as a young dummy I jumped on it I mean shooting cannons and throwing dynamite out of helicopters what fun. Well when I reported to work they handed me a vest and proceeded to put 3  recoil less rifle shells weighing 25# each in it rode the chair lift to the top of the mountain then side steep up about another 500 feet or so in the dark to hand  the shells to the gunner and then haul ass off the mountain before the shooting started. Oh well at least I got the first run down the mountain at sunrise.

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Beautiful photos, Slav.  Although they were not of the scale you describe, New England  had hundreds of mom and pop ski areas operating in the 70s that were little more than hills.  They were great places, eking out an existence with natural snow, minimal snowmaking and rope tows.  It’s where I learned to love skiing.  You weren’t a New England kid until you had fallen while riding the T-bar, somehow got hung up and dragged up the hill.  Most of those places have been lost to development. There’s a good website  that chronicles the “lost ski areas of New England”:  


http://www.nelsap.org/

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+1.  I retired a pair of Atomic 215 Super G's along with a pair of Lange ZR (beartrap) boots to one of the local ski shops that collects 'antique' ski gear.  Loved the ski's - definitely a lot of work to ski and turn, great for mountain runs at SV though.  The Lange's were tough on the feet/ankles and of course were broken down pretty well.  The Nordica's I have now are 'plushy' (kinda like wooden deck chair with no padding vs lazyboy).  Good times.  It has never been an inexpensive sport but pretty pricey now - almost now way you can go for the day or two anymore, given the cost of a daily ticket vs a pass.....

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I remember buying my first ski's, some Blizzards 185s with Salomon 222 bindings (oh how I wanted those Marker M40's like the Mahre brothers, but couldn't afford them). I bought them on layaway and would take in $20 at a time until I paid them in full.  I have now gone to the dark side and rather enjoy snowboarding.

Here's a pic from almost the same spot of Slav's pic from last June sans snow...I lead the Boy Scouts up Mt. Baldy for a training hike, sea level to 10K in a day will test their legs and lungs.

IMG_5414.JPG

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Steve, Yes, you took that picture during summer almost from the very spot I took mine just last week, this winter. I think I was just a little further up as I took it from the top of the run, called "Skyline". From the height of the fence, there is somewhere between 3-5 ft. of snow on the run. Sorry to hear you've gone the way of snowboards. Mt. Baldy was the first ski area to allow snow boarding on the slopes during their infancy back in the 80s. With a natural half-pipe on one of the runs, it's ironic few snow boarders go there or even know of its existence. Times have changed including the world of 02s.

2bf62f7bfe50a23e5a8d825a4a8979f1.jpg

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Rossignol 220s, and my ‘71 1600. I Skied at Big Bear, Snow Summit mostly, from mid 1960’s to 1979. 

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(edited)

The gentrification of our beloved cities have finally extended to our beloved cars and recreational areas. Good thing is, the effects of emissions on the Earth's climate over the last ~52-54 years from 2002's alone is negligible.

Edited by golf73

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