As ski season ramps and the less avid skier brings their skis in for the annual “tune up” I’m reminded of interesting stories from days gone by. There’s a certain satisfaction to working on and fixing your own gear. In these days of instant knowledge you can pretty much learn anything just punching in www.tunemyskis.com (not a real website). You can also get into a bit of trouble (or fun) by typing in “hot wax” “grind” “mount” and “punch boots” but I digress.
In my first job at a “real” ski shop the owner was not a fan of ski packages, especially in the higher end skis. He felt that a skier should be able to (and know) what ski and binding were going to work for them. Helped along by the ski gurus on the floor this usually went very well for all involved. On to one of the times it didn’t…
Mr. Bigwig and his lovely wife (why people shop as couples is another question) spend an awful long time going through the selection of skis and bindings on the wall, finally coming up with something that’s is going to make him the superstar weekend warrior he has always aspired to be. The ever-helpful sales staff are ringing in the sale. Skis, check. Bindings, check. Binding installation, check. Hold on there says Mr. Bigwig you guys should throw in the mount. Now this same store owner was of the opinion, some would say rightly so, that if he had to pay the tech to mount the ski then there was no “throwing in of anything.” Not to mention most of the money from binding mounts goes to insurance coverage anyway.
Mr. Bigwig proceeds to rant and rave about how he’s spending all this money, he’s a great customer and friend of the owner, etc. The staff being more attuned to the guy that signs their paycheck vs the customer’s wrath stands strong on the install charge. Mrs. Bigwig in the meantime is ready to go home and is saying “just let them mount them dear” as I think she’s embarrassed by the scene. Mr. Bigwig then says, well, I really want these skis, but no way am I paying for the mount, I have tools, I’ll just do it myself. Now, I can’t claim that mounting skis is particularly hard but there are certain tools and equipment you need to do it correctly, most of which aren’t available at your local handy mart. Mrs. Bigwig chimes in one last time, just let them do it dear and we can go home. Not happening. The happy couple leave, the staff go about closing the store, the day is done.
Fast forward to the next morning. The morning shift arrives to open the store. It’s a ski shop so the morning shift is also the night shift, afternoon shift, every shift. You get the picture. To the staff’s surprise Mr. and Mrs. Bigwig are in the parking lot waiting for them to arrive and open the store.
The usual how are you and good mornings are exchanged and the Bigwigs get to the gist of the matter.
Mr.-I’ve decided to let you guys mount the skis.
Mrs. Not quite as pleasant as the previous evening-tell them why.
Mr.-no, it’s okay, I’m just going to let the pros do it.
Mrs.-no, you really should tell them dear, after all you wanted to save all that money by doing it yourself.
Mr.-I thought I could do it but I wrecked the ski when I drilled it.
At this point Mrs. Bigwig loses it and proceeds to tell the staff how upon arriving home Mr. Bigwig got out his rad set of tools and proceeds to mount the skis. On the dining room table. The dining room table that was imported from somewhere in Europe after the first world war when her family emigrated to Canada. Her family that had barons, dukes or princes in it. The dining room table that was appraised at multiple tens of thousands of dollars. The dining room table that Mr. Bigwig proceeded to drill his newly purchased skis on. The dining room table that Mr. Bigwig drilled through the ski and into the table. The dining room table that now has a hole in it so Mr. Bigwig could save the price of the binding installation.
That’s the story as I remember it. Support your local ski shop, get your skis mounted correctly and contribute to marital bliss.