My daughter recently had an obsession with Simon Dumont, especially after he launched 35 feet into the air at Sunday River, flashed his smile, and instantly became her Maine snow crush. My son was a Ted Ligety fan. He discovered this fast, but refreshingly humble, racer at Sugarloaf's Alpine Championships while everyone else was eyeing Bode Miller. In an effort to be a cool mom, I made sure my kids got to meet their idols.
Growing up, I had a thing for Donna Weinbrecht. I thought the beautiful, blonde bump skier who trained at Killington was the bomb. So when I spotted the 1992 Olympic gold medalist at Okemo last week, I was starry-eyed. Mustering my courage and introducing myself to Donna, I was delighted to find her so friendly (and still fantastic looking). There is no dust on Donna. She told me about her latest efforts rep'ing skis for RAMP - "Riders Artists Musicians Project."
RAMP is brand new, building skis and snowboards from scratch, and selling direct to consumers. When you get a glimpse of RAMP's graphics, you will be amped. The Tater Tot snowboard should win an artistic award for silly, but sensational. I bet the Lobster board carves like butter. Gold medalist Ross Powers is involved in the snowboard design, while Weinbrecht and Picabo Street are behind the ski line, which includes beautiful Chickadees for women and Woodpeckers for men. These fresh, fun graphics are a welcome switch from aliens and angry graffiti that emblaze too many boards these days.
As excited as I was to meet Weinbrecht, I was equally intrigued to ski the Chickadee, the exact pair Donna had just skied. Imagine my glee when I found we have the same sole length, her DIN is a 12 where mine is a 6, but otherwise we are simpatico, ya know? For relatively wide skis, RAMP has Razor cut edges that grip and still rip through powder and crud. RAMP is debuting its 2011-12 line of women's, men's and kids' skis and boards, all with a three-day "Love it or Leave It" guarantee. I bet you will see and hear more about these innovative boards as they, ahem, RAMP up.
So I met my idol and skied on her Chickadee skis. Have you met your ski idol?
For more of Heather's family ski tips go to www.familyskitrips.com. Photos by Greg Burke
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.