Much of skiing entertainment’s focus is on the North American West where the best alpine exists, and understandably so. This week, however, the Low Pressure Podcast had on Marcus Caston, of Salt Lake City, for a wide-ranging skiing discussion that yielded some high praise for the Midwest and its passion for the slopes.
The conversation about the Midwest snuck up on me, as I didn’t expect a Whistler-based host and a Salt Lake-based guest to dive into the attitudes of Midwesterners, but after talking about the passion for skiing in places like the European Alps and the North American West, the topic of Midwest skiing arose.
The conversation is brief and begins right at the 45 minute mark in the podcast if you want to skip ahead.
Here’s the snippet:
Caston: The Midwest and in the East, people looove it. I don’t know about it numbers-wise, maybe there’s less skiers, but they are for sure the most passionate skiers, the Midwest skiers.
Warner: The ones who don’t get to do it.
Caston: They are the most passionate skiers that i’ve ever seen.
Warner: I agree with that statement. Out here, we…I don’t know if we take it for granted. I know I don’t take it for granted and a lot of us don’t take it for granted, but we don’t froth quite the same as they might over there. They’re looking at all your photos and your Instagram account and dudes like you and all the crew that hangs out at Alta-Snowbird.
Caston: Dude, it is so funny. You hear people at Alta and Snowbird, and i’m guilty of it too. If it’s not amazing and maybe sometimes you complain a little bit or something. You hear people complaining like, “Oh, I just skied a 1,500 foot couloir that anyone would be psyched on, but it was a little tracked out.”
Warner: It’s time for a reset. I saw Jonny Collinson posted exactly like that the other day and it was someone from here that had almost a similar post from here as well. I know what you mean like, they (Midwesterners) are probably looking at these like, “you jackasses.”
Caston: I went out to Minnesota a couple of years ago to do these kind of fun beer league races and these hills are 300 feet tall. It takes you, if you’re turning, 15 seconds to get down these things. People are like, “What kind of skis do you have? What kind of grind do you have on that? What kind of bevels you running? What kind of wax? Like, I used to have these skis with this radius…” You know, this is like your mom, they are sooo in to this.
Warner: They love the idea of skiing and being a skier, but there isn’t any actual skiing to be done, so they focus on things like the gear, what edges or what percent angle is your bevel at.
Caston: They just love it, man. They love it. They are going to ski, it’s minus 40 and they are out there.
Warner: If it’s minus 20, i’m going to stay home.
Caston: If it’s below freezing, i’m like, mehh, I don’t know, it’s not like super sunny today, maybe I’ll go do something else.
Warner: Yeah, fully spoiled man. Fully, fully spoiled.
Besides the Midwest gush, Caston and Warner also discussed Caston’s project “Return of the Turn.” In this project, Caston, as the title suggests, examines the different types of snow on which skiers can shred. The humorous, well produced, short episodes help break through the growing perception that skiing can only be done on the gnarliest, big mountain lines in waist-deep snow.
In the conversation, Caston talks about how he wishes more skiers would turn back to skinny skis, which would make navigating the mountain more difficult. The advent of modern skis has helped more people find comfort on the mountain, which is ultimately good for the growth of the sport. For the hardcore skiers, however, they would like to see expert terrain returned to the experts.
It’s an interesting conundrum balancing the growth of skiing with the desire to have the mountain to yourself.
The Low Pressure Podcast boasts the tagline of “the podcast for skiers” and I couldn’t agree more. Each week for five seasons now, host Mark Warner has long, freeform conversations with people from all over the ski industry. Whether it’s the athletes themselves, filmmakers, equipment manufacturers or other industry leaders, Warner digs into their love for the alpine.
I couldn’t recommend this weekly podcast enough. The Whistler-based Warner sounds like someone you’d meet in the lift line who just loves to ski. His enthusiasm is infectious and his guest list is remarkable. The show and its host don’t take themselves too seriously, but guests still open up about the good and bad in the skiing world in an authentic way.