Jerry would ski it
Chances are, behind every great ski bum, there’s a Deadhead. For some reason, the two cultures just seem to go together, like patchouli and P-tex. And, just as no two Dead shows are the same, nor are two ski lines (or snowflakes for that matter – whoa.)
Now, the marriage of deep tracks is about to be officially consummated. That’s right – Deadicated skiers can soon lay fire to the mountain on their own limited-edition Atomic Grateful Dead skis.
The skis feature artwork by Atomic-sponsored skier Chris Benchetler and are based on the popular Bent Chetler ski. The idea is a collaboration between avowed Deadhead Benchetler and Teton Gravity Research, which has featured Dead tunes in its titles and soundtracks over the last 23 years. The idea came about when TGR co-founder Todd Jones paid a visit to Benchetler’s abode on a recent trip to Mammoth, Calif. During the visit, Jones couldn’t help but notice Benchetler’s impressive Dead vinyl collection, and the two got to talking about the Dead’s very undying influence in the outdoors community.
“The way we draw lines down a mountain or on a wave is the same improv the Dead have in their music,” Benchetler said on TGR’s website.
Call it a simple twist of fate, but at the same time, TGR’s Director of Apparel Brian Francis was in the process of scheming a Grateful Dead ski collaboration but was looking for a brand to execute it. Jones put the two in touch, and the rest is history. (And almost was history. Apparently, Atomic took some coaxing as the Dead are not so well-known in Austria, where Atomic is based.)
The artwork of the laser-etched top sheet includes signature dancing bear, skeleton with roses and Benchetler’s van, The Stealthy Marmot. The bottom features more artwork from Benchetler and fellow artist, Skye Walker.
In addition to the skis, Dakine will offer Grateful Dead backpacks and mittens, and TGR will feature the items in its next film, set to come out in September. Benchetler is also planning a short film of his own, all set to Grateful Dead music.
For those who are actually concerned about the specs, the powder-specific skis are 120 under foot and feature Atomic’s “HRZN Tech Rocker,” which adds 10 percent more surface area to tip and tail, making noodle-necking though the trees easier than ever. Alas, the skis are only available in 184 cm, and you might need to be a friend of the devil to land a pair – only 300 will be made. So, if you don’t want to go down the road feeling bad, you better get on it: the skis go on sale Fri., March 1, at shop.tetongravity.com. (Price was not disclosed as of press time, but we would imagine for the average Deadhead ski bum, it might take a miracle.)