False modesty does not become me, so I’ll just say it: it was the best ski test, ever. Instead of running for barely a week, it churned non-stop for more than three weeks. But it wasn’t just long; it was also deep. Just the local talent pool was insane: Tamara McKinney, Wayne Wong, Eva Twardokens, Susan Chappell, Bill Hudson, Tina Vindum, Barry Thys, Erica Standteiner, Cameron Boyle, Kevin Andrews, Stu Campbell, Todd Kelly, Kristin Lignell, Franz Weber, Robbie Huntoon, Hansi Standteiner, Astrid Walti, Scott Kauf and Bob Ormsby all served as Snow Country Magazine ski testers.
Not too shabby. But the New York Times Magazine Group that owned Snow Country Magazine wanted an unassailable crew, because we planned to break from editorial custom and list products by their order of finish. We were certain to be under fire from irate advertisers, so we needed a defensible methodology and impeccable skiers.
So I recruited Kim Reichhelm, Pam Fletcher, Kate McBride, Kristi Brown, Patti Sherman, Eric Schlopy, Harald Harb and Heidi Mellin. There were a smattering of mere mortals including my sidekick Rick Stalker, salt-of-the-eastern-earth Woody Jones, tuner extraordinaire Willi Wiltz, Corty Lawrence and myself.
I’m going to cut the commentary at this point and let the captions tell the tale, knowing that mere words are pale competition for this incandescent cast. By the way, the women were not only spectacularly beautiful, but they wrote cards crammed with notations and laced with occasional profanities.