After spending much time floating down de Nile, it’s hard to turn around and paddle back up the river. But the reality is, last winter is now the river.
Tag Archive for 'perspective'
I’ve already briefly touched on this point under other headings, but I want to more fully explore this concept: there are no rules in the backcountry. Simply put, there isn’t any police presence nor on-duty ski patrol enforcing arbitrary or undefined rules.
Ever seen a ‘SLOW’ sign at a ski resort? My natural reaction has always been, ‘How slow is slow?’ As in all things, one person’s in-control, slow skiing is another person’s reckless top speed. Without something akin to a radar gun pointing at you whilst simultaneously posting your speed, and an actual speed limit in place, slow zones at ski areas are the epitome of ‘undefined rules.’
I’m far from the only person who has pondered this concept. Several ski areas have Continue reading ‘No Rules (Answer 10 of 12)’
Helicopters are loved and loathed in the ski world. Having lived for some years near both the Tetons and the Wasatch, I observed that the two ranges offer different views on the same divisive subject.
In the Wasatch, those who ride in the helicopters love ‘em, while many of those who earn their turns are displeased at some of the antics of those who fly in, or simply fly, the heli’s. The vibe between the two user groups can appear pretty antagonistic. This is especially the case when helicopter powered skiers land on a summit immediately in front of a party approaching on the snow, and swipe first tracks. This antagonism has even spawned the Heli-Free Wasatch group, whose website appears to be untended as of the last two years. Perhaps there are only so many things to say about a group with whom you’ve got conflict? Hard to say.
On the other side of the same rotors Continue reading ‘Helicopters and Skiers’
Somewhere along the way I’ve seen a quote by Andrew McLean (of the famed McClean* turn), the gist of which was, ’90% of ski descents that involve a rappel aren’t worth doing twice.’ Whether I wanted to find out the validity of that statement or not, I found myself in the Hellgate Couloir again, solo, two days after my last visit with Jason. That’s because one of the things no one in the ski mountaineering world wants to occur, happened on the first visit: the ropes – 2 joined 60 meter jobbies – got stuck on the final rappel and wouldn’t pull down. Neither end would budge a centimeter, with plenty of joint effort from several angles. Had this happened in a place where I was using a smaller rope, I might have let the situation end with the loss of a rope and called it a day.
But with two full length ropes stuck up there in one shot, leaving them to rot wasn’t a happy thought. Worse, one wasn’t mine – it was borrowed. Worse still as I later learned Continue reading ‘Hellgate Couloir Solo’
To celebrate Friday the 13th in an appropriately spooky fashion, Andy Dorais and I headed to Alta. While it would be a stretch to qualify much of Alta’s terrain as spooky, the Devil’s Castle area does hold plenty of ‘boo!’ factor. Especially if one heads to Ciochetti’s Ribbon, which we did. This ski descent was more nerve wracking than the final episode of Lost. In fact, it’s so intense that if they’d canceled the last episode of Lost, and left everyone hanging on the prior episode – FOREVER – this would still be more nerve wracking. Of course, that’s just my viewpoint, and I rarely watch television, so it might be biased.
Having done a slightly sketchy, slightly sideways rappel on the Pfeifferhorn the day before, I can attest that the rope work on the Castle is completely sideways, and far sketchier mentally! Ciochetti’s is perhaps best described as Continue reading ‘Untying Ciochetti’s Ribbon’
Ski mountaineering race bindings trade features for lightness on the premise that speed is largely tied to weight. While that’s true, speed is also tied to efficiency. And many ski-mo racers view the few seconds it takes to swivel a multi-position binding riser to a higher platform as wasted time, regardless of the steepness of the climb ahead of them.
Slower to adjust perhaps, a higher riser does make it far easier (read: efficient) to skin up a steep skin track. Additional height risers definitely work for the recreational crowd, but what about for racers? When I look at the finish line times at Ski-mo races, there’s usually a gap of minutes between the first several finishers. There are also gaps of minutes between many other racers, and then a few may come down to the finish line neck and neck. My argument for ‘risers for race bindings’ would be that it takes mere seconds to bend down and twist a binding into a more efficient position. I suspect that the time taken would be far less than the amount that is saved by being several percent more efficient on each upward stride on steep sections.
Since I’m not someone who has the ability to calculate the efficiency coefficient increase, I Continue reading ‘Modifying Tech Race Bindings with an Additional Riser’