On February 19th, 1996, Monday, Presidents' Day, fellow skier Robert Michaud and I had the opportunity to demo the Elan SCX at Attitash/Bear Peak. It was a long weekend, it had recently snowed the first significant amount since the beginning of January, and we were on a day trip with Paul and Sage (who were busy sitting around in the snow a lot learning to snowboard, but that's another story). The snow was great, we had coupons for free lessons, the sun was shining, and there was someone in the lodge giving out free tee-shirts--what could make the day brighter? We soon found out.
"Would you like to sign up for the free Elan SCX demo?" a cheerful employee asked us. When we hesitated, she added that it was a free hour-long demo with a "professional mountain guide"--aka, ski instructor. So, I wrote our names down on the sheet, and we became the first to sign up for the afternoon demo. At 1 pm we trotted down to the rental shop to be fitted for our free Elans, the curvy, beautiful ski I had admired from a distance for months--ours, for a little more than an hour. We had a choice between the three varieties of the Elan SCX--the cap ski with the foam core (white), the cap with the wood core (blue, the giant slalom, meant to turn--the prettiest of all, and the one we both chose), and the wood-block, non-cap ski (red, the slalom ski, and meant for racing--see above).
Soon we got out on the bunny hill with three instructors--we were a large group, of about thirty--who would pass up this opportunity, after all? We took our first run en masse, attempting to get the feel of the ski. Let me tell you, this parabolic baby is a beauty! It really almost turns by itself, and after we split up into three groups and went higher up the mountain, we had a chance to see more of what the ski could do. We took it on moguls, on something fairly steep and icy, on wonderful powdery blue trails, and on Attitash's special obstacle course. It performed beautifully everywhere--it was so much quicker than my own skiies, so easy to turn, I felt as though I barely needed to think to get down the slope with good form. Only on the moguls, when I was trying hard to stick to the right-hand, less-bumpy side, and the Elans wanted to turn across the whole slope, did I feel a little out of control, and did I wish for my old skiis back. But, I have no doubt that I could get used to this prize-winner in a short time, and that it would make my skiing better as a result.
Even when we had to give the skiis back, and Robert and I got to "ski Bear" for our last few runs of the day, I felt as though I had better form as a result of my experience on the SCX. Using the SCX was just like using Robert's mother's excellent cheese-grater--effortless. It certainly appears that there is an Elan SCX for everyone out there--and I would recommend everyone ski this incredible ski as soon as possible.