Saturday, March 5, 2011

Vintage Skier Man

Marcel Proust has nothing on Steven Supp. The smell of madeleine’s might have transported the author back to his grandma’s kitchen and sparked off nostalgia as well as several grand tomes, but that can’t compete with the pull of straight skis on Steven.

He’s the skier I’m tempted to call Retro Man or Vintage Skier – the one in the Carhartts, safety glasses and 200 cm long skis with a pink florescent price tag proudly emblazoned on the front. $2.99 it says as if he were some Minnie Pearl on planks. (He’s also got Rossi 198s and Fischer 193s). To see him skiing these is a thing of beauty. And wonder. He could almost be Platty’s icon or mascot. On his long skis he embodies the spirit of the place: a bit contrary, definitely un-commercial and a darned good skier.

These days though sticking with straight skis takes equal parts dedication and nostalgia – plus a dash of frugality. Steven learned to ski when he was 10 with his brother, and “That was skiing to me. Still is, always will be.”

The two of them went a few times, and as Steven explains, “A few years go by and you get to be 16 and get a job and a car and get married and then skiing goes out the window for 20 years, only straight skis were burned in my mind about skiing in 1967. I never got away from it and that’s where I still am.”

Today he even consults manuals about straight skiing like the classic Skiing With Control. “Which is kind of funny,” he says, “as I spend most of my time on my face in the snow.” (I have to add here that is not true, but typical understatement from the superhero of straight skis, Vintage Skier)

The day I caught up with him he was out with his daughter Elaine – she on a snowboard. They both joked about that was how she got to be on something shaped… while various Platty regulars promise they will get him on shaped skis. Though somehow I doubt he'll ever try rocker.

“I was almost thinking of going to the shaped skis,” he says at the top of Free Fall. “But, I came in on the straight skis and I’m going out on the straight skis.” But for anyone who wishes to join him copies of Skiing with Control are easy to find on Amazon.


  1. If you don't ski with him today, you'll be one year older when you do.