|Jeff Contemplates his future. Is his gear good enough?|
What is on steep and cheap?
What is he wearing?
Oh, he looks good.
Damn, that is a sick jacket
Those guys are shredders.
Is that next year’s jacket?
How do you like those skis?
Are those the new Volkls?
I am getting next year’s demo skis from the rep.
Oh, I bought these off the rep for 70% off retail.
I pro-dealed these.
I got this for free.
Why is he wearing that?
Status. Power. Perception. What is at stake here? Companies and people alike want all of our skill levels to be identifiable by the gear we wear. This is where sponsorship comes from. It is the thought “Good people wear it, so to be good, you have to wear it”. We accept it, we even begin to exert pressure on our friends to update their skis, boots, poles, PFDs, boats, paddles, dry tops, wetsuits, and forever more. Perhaps we do this to increase our own status, so that we are hanging with the cool kids. We are incited to materialistic competition ubiquitously and it spares no one.
|Jeff sporting gear that is all "5 years or older". Lame.|
What is the cost? We alienate the beginners, people without endless capital to spend on technical equipment. Look at the impossible price of the stuff that the prosumers (let’s be honest, if you are a pro kayaker or skier you are just professionally consuming gear) wear: Top of the line jacket $700, Pants $400, Bindings $300, skis $900, boots $700. That is $3000 for one outfit to wear what “good” skiers wear. You could crush it on $300 total if you shopped around. You would not be wearing what the “best” wear but you would be comfy. The unfortunate product is a ski class system that creates a false sense of superiority due to financial investment rather than passion, skill, leadership, or experience.
This is stupid; this topic is hardly worth mentioning. There are real problems out there. Women’s wages are statistically significantly less than men, pregnant women and mothers are discriminated against, students are being put through failure factories rather than school while young people’s success is being determined by a lottery. (Watch Waiting for Superman). Immigrants are being deported while creating the backbone to our communities and culture. What the fuck?
Yet this consumer addiction still bothers, still exists in all of us. Beat it back! Un-buy into it. Take a moment to strip away this cultural lens, the corporate propagandizing and look at the person, the passion, the movement, the intention. You will see far more looking for these things than you ever will with a tag. Be weary of those in the garments of prosumers for they may just be seeking to look the part, reap the glory of the cloth, cull the status of the outdoor scene and play the game for their own glorification.