I've been giving all my skis a bit of TLC today, ahead of travelling out to resort in a couple of weeks or so. I started thinking, does one person really need all this stuff? I have four pairs of skis here in England to take out with me, plus another pair of skis and a (whisper it) snowboard stored in Andorra over the summer. Back in the days of straight skis, I managed for years with one pair of skis that did everything, although I did travel with a couple of pairs towards the end of the straight ski era.
So could I make do with less? Well, I need the GS skis to train for the Eurotest, I need the slalom skis for any other ski courses I take this year, and for general training. I need the touring skis for the back country. I need the twintips for freestlye and skiing switch. The twintips are also a lot easier for teaching beginners, as they take less effort to snowplough and they go backwards easily. My other skis in Andorra, my old twintips, should probably be thrown out, I just keep them as a spare teaching set. The GS skis I have for a specific course, so I won't count them, but the other three pairs I really couldn't imagine doing without for a winter. If I didn't have the slalom skis I would quickly become a lazy skier (it has happened before), and my performance skiing would suffer. If I did not have the twintips I would not be able to go backwards, or do any of the tricks involving landing backwards. Also, I would have to teach on race skis or touring skis. If I left out the touring skis, well, I would have to stick to going downhill from the lifts. Until somebody invents a high performance ski that goes backwards too, and a touring binding that can cope with freestyle and racing, then it will have to be three pairs of skis.
So far this post just seems to be an attempt to justify my own extravagance, however, I want to make the point that the divergence of ski designs over the last few years has led to increasingly specialist skis. This means that a good skier either needs to specialise, or to have access to more than one pair of skis. For the recreational skier, this means that renting equipment is often a more attractive option as it gives the opportunity to try out different kit over the course of a holiday or two.