The first night of a ski trip with a crew outside your standard circle can be unnerving. So when I heard a knock on the hotel room door, I certainly did not expect to be lead to the neighboring room and greeted with a 3-ounce shot of Jägermeister, which was swirling around in a miniature plastic ski boot. Attached to an old Elan ski, the fashioned boot was buckled down by, well, a buckle, like one of the original 10th Mountain Division bear trap bindings.
"Since you're a rookie with this crew, you get a double diamond shot," said the man with a bushy Fu Manchu 'stache serving the shots. Libations quell the anxiety of socializing with strangers, especially a Jäger shot shoved in your face. But this apparatus required respect and analysis, as if ogling a piece of abstract art.
"Here's how it works," said Fu Manchu man. "Unbuckle, insert heel, pull back a bit, insert boot toe, buckle, and fill the Jäger either up to the green circle [1 ounce], blue square [2 ounces], or double diamond [3 ounces]."
Fu Manchu man, the person literally and figuratively behind this original shot ski, called the Shotz Ski, is Scott Evans, aka the Evil Elf. Born from the bumps (and ballet) outside Traverse City, Michigan, Evans migrated to Colorado in the '70s after lying about his age and sneaking into a Steamboat mogul contest at 15. The mischief commenced there and followed Evans from Vail to Aspen's Snowmass for four years. Eventually, he "decided to get responsible" and donned a suit and tie in SoCal before moving to Kaua'i, where he owned and operated a travel agency. But after having to fly to Mammoth to get his ski fix, he eventually returned to Snowmass full time, managing the construction site in the summer and ski shop in the winter. Once he met his wife in Durango, the two escaped the Colorado crowds for the tranquility of Northern Idaho.
"I ran into this bald-headed guy with this big Fu Manchu at Silver Mountain [Idaho] and he was a ripping tele skier," says legendary hot dogger Bob Legasa. Soon enough, Evans joined Legasa on a few ski road trips, which is where the Shotz Ski came to life. "We were at Snowwater, B.C.," remembers Legasa, "and he takes this shot ski out of a case, and we started to notice the intricacy of how this thing worked. This is not your typical glued or duct-taped piece of glass to a ski. This is a working piece of equipment here."
Thereafter, the stickered Shotz Ski made its way to Revelstoke, where the bar owner of the Last Drop became Evans' first legitimate customer, taking note of how people gathered around the avant-garde hardware.
Now, Evans, who was nicknamed the Evil Elf for his Jekyll and Hyde husband/father and Shotz Ski personas, has made Shotz Ski his full-time job. He can't keep pace with orders, as he's patented the bindings (bear trap for tele skiers and clamps for alpine skiers) and shot glasses for use on classic skis (Bobbie Burns' The Ski, Hexcel Sundance), water skis (with neoprene bindings), Nordic ski jump skis (a six shotter), snowboards, and hockey sticks.
"Last year, I didn't build the inventory in the summer enough and, crap, I had to build all damn winter long and lost 23 days of powder skiing," he says.
Instead of allowing special skis to collect dust, he scours eBay, Craigslist, second-hand stores, and ski swaps for renowned skis. One Shotz Ski takes about three hours to build, with a price tag ranging from $100 to $300 and others being auctioned at charity events. Now, Shotz Skis can be found in Japan, Sweden, and New Zealand, indicating the Evil Elf's growing clientele.
"In all my travels, I've never seen anything remotely as cool as his Shotz Skis," says K2's Mike Hattrup.
"Realistically, any shot ski is cool, because the whole premise behind it is getting people together," says Evans. "I specialize in really cool skis or skis that have personal memories to people. It is so damn fun."
For more information, click-in to Shotzski.com.