Yesterday I learned that an old “hot dogger” has some new tricks in his ski bag when I visited Nashoba Valley, in Westford, Massachusetts.
The occasion was Wayne Wong’s 41st annual visit to Nashoba Valley — for the purpose of hobnobbing with the media, giving clinics for staff and socializing with customers.
Former Olympic skier (Calgary 1988) Pam Fletcher was the host. Her dad, Al Fletcher, was the principal founder of Nashoba, which opened 51 years ago last month. Last year I posted a piece for this website, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary.
Pam was nine-year-old aspiring skier when Wayne paid his first visit to Nashoba. Today she’s Nashoba’s sales manager and handles events marketing.
Yesterday’s media included Moira McCarthy, a prominent ski writer, and me. Wayne’s charming wife Karen joined us for a day on Nashoba’s very, very snowy slopes.
Above is a pic I took of the group at the summit. L-R: Moiria McCarthy, Wayne Wong, Pam Fletcher and Karen Wong.
Wayne shot to prominence in the 1970s, beginning at Waterville Valley, where he won the national “hot dogger” championship in 1972 and coached freestyle for four years. He invented a number of memorable freestyle moves, such as the Wongbanger.
He and Karen have lived in Reno, Nevada, for many years.
For background and some nice vintage photos, read this article from Powder, where Wayne reflects on his long career in skiing, both as a top freestyle competitor and (currently) as an ardent ambassador for the sport.
He’s been an ardent ambassador for Nashoba Valley since the mid-1970s. Below are two pix from those days.
The first (above) is vintage Wayne.
This precious second picture shows 11-year-old Pam imitating a Wayne Wong ballet move. (Both these pix are courtesy of Pam and Nashoba Valley.)
Wayne’s latest project is Legend Skis, a new product that’s still in the prototype phase. He and Karen were on Legends and we all tried them out.
The prototypes are currently being produced in Park City, Utah. When rolled out, the idea is to produce several “signature series,” with each model designed for a specific combination of skier and terrain. Pam said that she want’s to be first in line for a signature series when that happy day happens.
The breakthrough concept is a fiberglass spring that’s part of the integrated binding, seen on the right ski in the photo above. There’s another aft spring, mounted behind the binding. The ski iteself is built flat, and it gets its camber from the two springs.
Wayne explained that the springs resemble a bow (as in “bow and arrow”) and are purchased from a company that makes hunting bows.
The idea is to cut the chatter on icy conditions and keep the skis in better contact with the snow.
Moira and I tested these skis for about half a dozen runs and we found that they worked exactly as Wayne described.
Wayne told me that Legends Skis’ website is currently under development — thus no link in this post. Ditto his personal website, but click here for his Facebook page.