I'm a gear nut. I'd admit to being a gear slut, but since I've never had sex in exchange for some blingy piece of outdoor swag, that'd be evocative, but not all that accurate. But it's pretty clear that rational seldom enters into my calculations when it comes to gear, unless it's part of the word rationalization.
I've got three kayaks, one canoe, a half dozen (or so) paddles, five bicycles, two motorcycles, four operational pairs of skis (plus probably 10-15 pairs of obsolete ones rusting out back that are going to become part of the fence) and proportionate amounts of all the associated accessories. It's embarrassing, no two ways about it. Yet just today, I caught myself looking at a catalog with pretty mediocre deals on last year's Alpine Touring & telemark skis and thinking of the money I could "save" by buying left over stuff. Pathetic.
While not a full cure, one way to reduce the symptoms of gear nuttery (not to mention all kinds of other maladies) is to spend time playing outside with kids.
This past weekend, AM's sister & sister's best friend were in town from Southern California. Adding our one into the mix, there were eight kids pinballing around the house (blessedly, not our tiny little place) off one another, the walls, the furniture and occasionally off nothing visible to adult eyes. It was loud and it was fun.
We spent an afternoon up past Groom Creek sledding, making snowmen & randomly hammering each other with snowballs and snow boulders. It was glorious and the only piece of "gear" in sight was a red plastic toboggan, though toward the end of the day most of the kids dispensed with even that and slid down the slope (probably a total vertical drop of 10 feet -- somebody alert OUTSIDE Magazine!) with just their snow pants or nylon jackets. Their smiles and excited screams were contagious, and easily infected the adults.
I will admit to one bit of backsliding; I brought along my little blue backcountry avalanche shovel (it's Carbon! Fiber! Reinforced!) and busied myself building & shaping the sled run, including boosting the launch pad by about a foot and adding an extra jump. I could pretend I was doing it for the kids, but really it was mostly just me playing in the snow with my toy.
It's not like one afternoon could cure me of gear addiction -- actually, a radical reduction in income since I moved from DC is doing a decent job of that -- but it did remind me that winter fun doesn't have to come with a high price tag or a first-name relationship with the FedEx delivery guy.