AS YOU HIKE IT. THE SEVEN SKI AND SNOWBOARD AGES OF MOUNTAIN MAN

All the world's a mountain and all the men who ski or snowboard are merely players. With a nod to Shakespeare and As You Like It, we bring you the seven ages of (mountain) man in As You Hike It.

STAGE ONE

'At first the infant'

Age 4-10

 

Kit

Scratched skis and battered boots from the hire shop.

Style

From being only able to waddlle like a penguin in a quilted onesie at 4 years old to wearing always too large jacket and baggy pants from older brother's/cousin's/neighbour's son's hand me downs.

Most likely to say:

'Daddy, can I have 10 Euros if I ski down that red?'

Most likely to think:

'Sucker. I could do it with my eyes closed. Cos I frequently do. In a snow plough..'

STAGE TWO

'Then, the whining school-boy'

Age 11-17

 

Kit

Still on hired skis which is just as well as he's bouncing off rocks, jibbing on rails and stacking it over kickers, when he's not hurtling down the ski school slalom course.

Style

Jacket size is growing every season faster than he is. Looks like a boarder which is kind of the idea (see Stage Three). Not great at zipping up, hence on his third iPhone in a year. Finally has his own brain bucket (helmet) - so a license to go faster.

Most likely to say:

'Dad, thank you so much for taking me skiing'

Most likely to think:

'Aw, I wish he'd let me snowboard.'

STAGE THREE

'And then the lover'

Age 18-30

 

Kit 

Gnu Freestyle snowboard. Now boarding since doing two seasons in Tignes.  

Style

It may look as though he's wearing his brother's/cousin's/neighbour's son's hand me downs but the kit's the latest Volcom/DC/Superdry/Oakley from Surfdome. Big AND baggy. Also, colourful. And never goes out without a knee brace after busting his ACL in the park just like his idol, Billy Morgan (above).

Most likely to say:

'Gonna nail a 360 cork in the park, today.'

Most likely to think:

'Wonder if anyone'll notice if I go back to bed and nail this hangover.' 

STAGE FOUR

'Then, a soldier'

Age 31-40

 

Kit

Ditto Stage Three snowboard. Also a pair of second hand SCOTT Missions because going on piste with the kids is SO much easier on skis.

Style

Still wearing the Volcom/DC/Superdry/Oakley jacket from Stage Three as can't afford anything new with the mortgage and cost of a family ski holiday with kids' ski hire/lessons/passes.

Most likely to say:

'I love teaching my kids to ride in the mountains.'

Most likely to think:

'Although, if little George really does prefer ballet, it would be a result as I could, then, still go off on the guys' backcountry trips. And buy an Arc'teryx jacket.'

STAGE FIVE

'And then, the justice' 

Age 41-55

 

Kit

Now has a Jeremy Jones split board with Karakoram bindings for backcountry. Also Salomon Freeride skis with Dynafit bindings because, hey, he's now rediscovered skiing since going back to it with the kids. Can't quite give up on the snowboarding, though.

Style

Keeping up with the Jeremy Joneses (above) – looking like he could shred vertical spines all day and live in a snow cave in Gnartic conditions. So all the action and survival gear that's on the market because, whadya know, little George is going to be a ballerina and the wife prefers yoga.

Most likely to say:

'I miss my wife and kids in the mountains.' 

Most likely to think:

'Whoopee!.' 

STAGE SIX

'The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon' 

Age 56-65

ski tour
 

Kit

SCOTT touring skis, Majesty powder skis, Rossignol piste skis. Yep, he's ditched the snowboard but the ski quiver's growing now he can do two or three ski trips a year including off piste and backcountry as George is with the Royal Ballet and the wife never came back from that yoga retreat in India.

Style

The latest Dragon Transition goggles, the latest Norrona jacket, the latest SCOTT Alpride airbag. Treats himself to the latest anything, every season.  Even slippered pantaloons AKA zippered skipants for touring.

Most likely to say: 

'The wife's living in India and I'm sadly having to downsize. to an apartment in the Alps,'

Most likely to think:

'Whoopee.'

STAGE SEVEN

'Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything'

Age 66 to whatever

 

Kit

Still the same pair of SCOTT Mission All Mountain skis with Dynafit bindings been riding for 10 years. Also one pair of Fischer cross country skis for non-uphill touring days. So no need for a lift pass even though it's mostly free at his age. 

Style

Everything's at least 10 years old. If it ain't broke don't fix it. Bit like him.

Most likely to say:

'A day's ski touring? Remember, I'm not as young as I was.'

Most likely to think:

'A day's ski touring? I may be "sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste" but I ain't sans my ski legs. Try to keep up, whipper snapper.'