Ethan and I have a new hobby when we’re on the ski slopes. It’s not skiing, either. We’ll get on the chair, take a run, go back for another round, get to the top, and one of us will say, “I have to…well, you know.”
And the other will roll their eyes, knowing exactly what needs to be done. In fact, whoever hasn’t made the comment is already going about that particular business.
I’m referring, of course, to adjusting our ski boot buckles. Back in the old days of my no-nonsense Darth Vader boots, adjusting a buckle was easy. I either tamped it down or loosened it up by a notch and sucked it up after that.
But sometime in the past ten years, they’ve come out with these damnable microadjustable boot buckles. You can still adjust by simply taking one or all of your four (or three, depending on how much money you felt like shelling out to feel superior to other skiers) buckles to the next notch.
But you don’t have to. If the boot doesn’t feel like it needs to be tightened or loosened by a whole notch, you can simply screw or unscrew the buckle to tighten or loosen it by fractions of millimeters.
Ethan and I are now, therefore, on the never-ending quest to find the Perfect Boot Setting, the setting that will make our feet feel as though they were encased in velvet bedroom slippers while still providing adequate ankle support.
If we can just give that buckle over our arches one or two good twists to the right (I still have to hold my fingers up in the shape of a L to determine which way is righty-tighty and which way is lefty-loosy. This gets really confusing when I make both thumbs point to the right), we keep thinking, we’ll have it down cold.
This, of course, is bullcrap. Ski boots are never comfortable. They’re constantly either too tight or too loose, and no amount of tweaking will force them to be otherwise. Just as the same run can be in vastly different shape than it was five minutes ago, or the weather here in Colorado can go from sunny and seventy to a blizzard in ten minutes, there’s always going to be something different nagging your lower extremities than there was on the last run.
Alas, microadjustable buckles give you the illusion that you can make it right. It’s the latest in a sadistic move by ski boot manufacturers of the world. It might also be the cruelest, second only to coming up with the design for ski boots in the first place.
Ethan and I, like our fellow pow-hounds in search of the perfect patch of gnar, will doubtlessly continue to believe in the illusion. I will be taking my boots to the Loveland ski shop, in fact, to get them custom-fitted. Hope springs eternal.
And insanity is sometimes defined as doing the same act repeatedly and expecting different results each time. I’m sure that’s not related at all.