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Ski movie deaths

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 

I just saw the newest Warren Miller film "...Like There's No Tomorrow."   They had a segment with Kip Garre, who died sometime after the filming of the movie.

 

I see this a lot in ski movies, a memorial to a skier who died skiing.  I leave the movie with mixed feelings: getting stoked about the skiing and at the same time sad that people die doing this. 

 

I've got to wonder, are we glorifying actions that lead to wreckless deaths?  These athletes are more than skilled and prepared, so they're not uniformed inexperienced people.  Yet they still take risks that far too often ends up in death.    I realize that if you have to die, might as well be doing something you love, but still, I can't imagine they wanted to die at that particualr moment.  It's way too soon for most of these athletes.

 

There seems to be a culture of pushing things to further extremes.  To what benefit, to what ends? 

 

Sorry, I'm just in a philosophical mood today.

 

 


Edited by DesiredUsername - 11/4/11 at 11:56am
post #2 of 62

Indy/nastar

motorcycle racing

bull fighting (although I route for the bulls)

Football

sky diving, paragliding, wingsuits

 

Is this just for sports? 

defending our country

 

 

post #3 of 62


but they are invariably young, leading me to find judgement and impatience to be lacking, trumping ALL OTHER KNOWLEDGE they may possess.  sorry, harsh, but I'm a little sick of the whole culture and their absurd evaluation of risk. no, I'm pissed actually. OK, fire away, I could give a sh&^ and won't feel obligated to defend this statement, it simply IS.

 

K. G. was with Arne when Arne died months earlier in South America.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post

I just saw the newest Warren Miller film "...Like There's No Tomorrow."   They had a segment with Kip Garre, who died sometime after the filming of the movie.

 

I see this a lot in ski movies, a memorial to a skier who died skiing.  I leave the movie with mixed feelings: getting stoked about the skiing and at the same time sad that people die doing this. 

 

I've got to wonder, are we glorifying actions that lead to wreckless deaths?  These athletes are more than skilled and prepared, so they're not uniformed inexperienced people.  Yet they still take risks that far too often ends up in death.    I realize that if you have to die, might as well be doing something you love, but still, I can't imagine they wanted to die at that particualr moment.  It's way too soon for most of these athletes.

 

There seems to be a culture of pushing things to further extremes.  To what benefit, to what ends? 

 

Sorry, I'm just in a philosophical mood today.

 

 



 

post #4 of 62

Better to die skiing than getting hit by a car at 19 like Travis Steeger. You never know when your time is up. I feel like they're pushing the limits because they love doing it not just because some sponsor is pushing them to do it so I'm all for it. 

post #5 of 62

 

 

There is some evidence suggesting that people under age 25 aren't fully capable of accurately assessing risks.  I know some of these folks passed at closer to 30. Combs was older, but he died trying to save someone else that made an error in judgment.

 

 

Quote:
They are on their way to
becoming adults, but they are not fully there (or as
this paper’s authors say, they are still partly "under
construction"). And one aspect of their overall development that is not fully complete—perhaps
until the mid 20’s—is a stable, solid capacity to
make complex judgments, weigh closely competing
alternatives in a balanced and careful way, control
impulses and take the longer view. An important
reason that these so-called "executive functions" are
not reliably in full effect in adolescence is that they
spring from a particular area of the brain—the prefrontal
cortex—which is one of the last areas of the
brain to fully mature, as this paper details.
 

 

post #6 of 62

I don't think many of those deaths are necessarily related to their ski movies related activity.  Both Arne Backstrom and Kip Garre died while ski mountaineering, and those environments are sometimes deadly even to the best.  I don't think Kip Garre lacked skills, and since I did not know him personally I would not have any opinion on his judgment.  I have my opinion on the Arne Backstrom's unfortunate accident, and it is not relevant to this discussion.   I just know that he was a great skier and a super-nice guy.   

 

On a slightly different topic: I definitely noticed that the sport has crossed the boundary where the risk has increased dramatically.  I was watching the latest Matchstick flick, Attack of La Nina, and pretty much every segment looked like "you screw up, the best you can count on is a trip to the hospital, and if you have a season-ending injury, consider yourself lucky" kind of deal.  The lines in that movie look absurd, they are basically a bunch of monster cliff bucks (preferably with a backflip or a 360) linked by straightlines.   You can lament the death of graceful skiing as much as you want, but this is what sells at the moment.  Basically the current ski technology made skiing dynamic turns in soft snow accessible to the masses, so the movie stars have to push the limit.  So the lines are getting straighter and the jumps bigger.  Of course the risk gets more and more massive.  The downside is that it sets the example.  I am shuddering at the thought of some 18-year olds trying to emulate lines like that at Squaw.  

post #7 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by nobueno View Post

Better to die skiing than getting hit by a car at 19 like Travis Steeger. You never know when your time is up. I feel like they're pushing the limits because they love doing it not just because some sponsor is pushing them to do it so I'm all for it. 


Oh, I don't know, I think I'd rather die doing something I hate rather than love.  I'd much rather keel over during an IRS audit than on the slopes.

 

The deaths do seem to be more and more common these days as the envelope keeps getting pushed.  It's depressing....
 

 

post #8 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post


Oh, I don't know, I think I'd rather die doing something I hate rather than love.  I'd much rather keel over during an IRS audit than on the slopes.

 

The deaths do seem to be more and more common these days as the envelope keeps getting pushed.  It's depressing....
 

 

you don't want to bring disaster into your thoughts about the sport if it is in any way preventable.

5,000 days, 100,000 runs, several thousand dangerous calls

 

 

 


Edited by davluri - 11/4/11 at 3:02pm
post #9 of 62

This is really nothing new.  People have been doing sketchy things on skis and filming them for many many years.  They just diffuse through the media a lot quicker and broader than they used to..

 

post #10 of 62

Fact is that the frontal lobe of the brain, the part responsible for judgement, does not mature until the age of about 21. Ergo the draft age being 18. Not sure how old the skiing dead are but under 21 = being used. That's why your teenage kids are so dumb.

post #11 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

 

 

There is some evidence suggesting that people under age 25 aren't fully capable of accurately assessing risks.  I know some of these folks passed at closer to 30. Combs was older, but he died trying to save someone else that made an error in judgment.

 

They are on their way to
becoming adults, but they are not fully there (or as
this paper’s authors say, they are still partly "under
construction"). And one aspect of their overall development that is not fully complete—perhaps
until the mid 20’s—is a stable, solid capacity to
make complex judgments, weigh closely competing
alternatives in a balanced and careful way, control
impulses and take the longer view. An important
reason that these so-called "executive functions" are
not reliably in full effect in adolescence is that they
spring from a particular area of the brain—the prefrontal
cortex—which is one of the last areas of the
brain to fully mature, as this paper details.
 

 



 


^^^^Someone else alluded to that too!biggrin.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by wooley12 View Post

Fact is that the frontal lobe of the brain, the part responsible for judgement, does not mature until the age of about 21. Ergo the draft age being 18. Not sure how old the skiing dead are but under 21 = being used. That's why your teenage kids are so dumb.



 

post #12 of 62

Are there a lot of deaths? probably more than there should be but is there really a higher rate? There were a lot lines skieed in the 70's-80's that have never been repeated because they are too dangerous.

 

I think a lot of it has to do with media just like with warfare. Warfare has drastically lower numbers and percentages of death ( you'r actually more likely to be killed in D.C) than in the past but because of the media we here a lot more about. I personally believe it's the same with skiing  

post #13 of 62

Quote:

Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post

Are there a lot of deaths? probably more than there should be but is there really a higher rate? There were a lot lines skieed in the 70's-80's that have never been repeated because they are too dangerous.

 

I think a lot of it has to do with media just like with warfare. Warfare has drastically lower numbers and percentages of death ( you'r actually more likely to be killed in D.C) than in the past but because of the media we here a lot more about. I personally believe it's the same with skiing  

 

I dunno...It's pretty hard to argue that the stuff guys are doing today isn't waaay more intense that what came before.  Look at some of the Greg Stump films from the 80s, then watch some TGR, Matchstick or other films from the last 5-10yrs.  The lines are bigger, the jumps are larger, and the aerials are more difficult (it's not just what there pulling, but where there pulling it; it's one thing to pull a cork 720 in a park or aerial comp...it's a whole different thing to do it on a HUGE spine in the BC).  (note: I cannot do a cork anything in a park, aerial comp, or on a spine in AK). 

 

I believe that some of it is that the tools have allowed it, part of it is $$$$...there's more of it available, but you gotta put yourself out there and distinguish yourself from other guys, and part of it is machismo, one-upsmanship, bravado (or whatever you want to call it).  But, whatever it is, I think it's hard to say that the guys (and gals) today aren't engaging in more dangerous stuff.

 

-Smarty

post #14 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

 

 

There is some evidence suggesting that people under age 25 aren't fully capable of accurately assessing risks.  I know some of these folks passed at closer to 30. Combs was older, but he died trying to save someone else that made an error in judgment.

 

 

 



This is why the military gets you when you're young. Don't know that at my current age going towards the explosions sounds like such a good idea.

post #15 of 62

yep the part of the brain that can assess or fully comprehend danger is not fully developed. In a evolutionary terms this is a good thing as trying to kill a wild animal with your hands or a spear requires a good bit of fearlessness (and/or lack of comprehension of impending danger).    

post #16 of 62

My question is: 

Are pro backcountry skiers pushing the limits because it's what they love to do, or because the camera's on and they feel compelled to keep going bigger to compete with Matchstick, TGR, Warren Miller, etc? That is to say, if we lived in a world with no ski porn, would they still be hucking the same gnar terrain they are now?

 

Sure, there's always been extreme skiing, but it now seems to be the norm to see pros ski really sketchy faces where death is an imminent risk. As an avid ski porn collector, I've noticed them up the ante in the past 4 years or so. I've also noticed that the level of attention paid to backcountry skiing in the industry seems to be strongly correlated as well. Coincidence?

post #17 of 62

Isn't the thread title misleading? There are non pro skiers (and non pro participants in every sport) that misjudge, take risks and make

mistakes that pay with their lives.  Maybe another factor (for the "pros") is that their can be a good support system during filming,

that helps with decision making.

post #18 of 62

who in a filming crew is likely to offer considered judgement? just wondering. most support seems to be in the "send it" department.

 

I have noticed something, and wonder how it fits into this discussion of risk taking: when I'm on the mountain and a skier is filming or rehearsing to film a big jump, it is frightening to watch. just being up there watching is so un-nerving that I get butterflies in MY stomach. they ski up to the lip and stop, checking the speed and pop, and I about barf. they do it several times. the tension is practically unbearable, and you find yourself praying for the guy or girl. It really is big, dramatic, dangerous, and scary. I was up on Pali once when JT was setting up for a b.a.s.e. .  Scared me a lot. Yet in  films, much of this level of skiing is just par for the course. our perception of the risks in ski porn is muted for some reason inherent to the medium. IMO.

 

Rushbikes, new ski designs and helicopter access is making these bigger and bigger shots a natural progression, IMO, whatever that means (notching up the risk every season?).

 

IMO, the man who skied everest has a scene that is undercranked. maybe the camera was cold; maybe they were trying to make it look like fast skiing, but the shot defies physics.

post #19 of 62

 Looking at what people ski routinely these days, it occurs to me that getting better is hazardous.  To get the same feeling, people have to go from skiing stuff that looks dangerous to skiing stuff that actually is dangerous.

post #20 of 62

I have no doubt that the likelihood of an individual skiing "fall and you're dead" lines goes way up with cameras rolling.

post #21 of 62



Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nobueno View Post

Better to die skiing than getting hit by a car at 19 like Travis Steeger. You never know when your time is up. I feel like they're pushing the limits because they love doing it not just because some sponsor is pushing them to do it so I'm all for it. 



 

post #22 of 62



Personally i think it's a bit of both.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rushbikes View Post

My question is: 

Are pro backcountry skiers pushing the limits because it's what they love to do, or because the camera's on and they feel compelled to keep going bigger to compete with Matchstick, TGR, Warren Miller, etc? That is to say, if we lived in a world with no ski porn, would they still be hucking the same gnar terrain they are now?

 

Sure, there's always been extreme skiing, but it now seems to be the norm to see pros ski really sketchy faces where death is an imminent risk. As an avid ski porn collector, I've noticed them up the ante in the past 4 years or so. I've also noticed that the level of attention paid to backcountry skiing in the industry seems to be strongly correlated as well. Coincidence?



 

post #23 of 62
Thread Starter 

So where's it all going?  How much does the envelope get pushed?  Most athletes in these films say something along the lines of "they want to push the limits of what they can do."  All well and good, but that limit is death, which leaves a lot of grieving for everyone they knew.

 

I can't know the motivation of elite athletes.  I can empathize with the families, the mother and fathers and spouses and children and brothers and sisters and friends of someone who died from trying to ski something that ultimately killed them.   

 

The other thing that gets me is the quick pace of edits in most of the newer movies.  You never see a long descent or complete run anymore, mostly it's quick edits, with several different camera angles.   You miss the experience of skiing, instead what's shown is the isolated experience of the extreme maneuver.  

 

I dunno, it makes me not want to see more ski films.  Sad..... 

post #24 of 62



I agree, it's been a while since i've seen a complete descent, really takes away the thrill.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post

So where's it all going?  How much does the envelope get pushed?  Most athletes in these films say something along the lines of "they want to push the limits of what they can do."  All well and good, but that limit is death, which leaves a lot of grieving for everyone they knew.

 

I can't know the motivation of elite athletes.  I can empathize with the families, the mother and fathers and spouses and children and brothers and sisters and friends of someone who died from trying to ski something that ultimately killed them.   

 

The other thing that gets me is the quick pace of edits in most of the newer movies.  You never see a long descent or complete run anymore, mostly it's quick edits, with several different camera angles.   You miss the experience of skiing, instead what's shown is the isolated experience of the extreme maneuver.  

 

I dunno, it makes me not want to see more ski films.  Sad..... 



 

post #25 of 62

So, I do wonder how much these guys and gals get paid to take such risks.  I bought both Attack of La Nina and One for the Road.  They were pretty cheap.  I can't imagine the segment that is willing shell out the shekels to either own them or see them is that big.  Looking at the casts of the movies, can these folk get more than a few thousand dollars for their appearance?  Even 50k?  Seems pretty unlikely.

 

James Heim's line in Attack of La Nina was unbelievable.  That spine must've been 60+ degrees.  And if he fell off of the traverse into it, a real possibility, he might not have made it.  And Rahlves continues to push the envelope of what is possible on skis.  All of these folk are taking big risks.  For what?  a few thousand bucks, and free heli rides?

 

Perhaps they need a union.  And this from the right wing Republican.

 

Mike

post #26 of 62

In 2009/2010 38 people died skiing at ski areas:

http://www.nsaa.org/nsaa/press/facts-ski-snbd-safety.asp

 

Skiing isn't safe, and a lot of non-skiers seem to think JSA (just skiing along) at ski areas is too dangerous, probably because they don't understand the motivations, rewards, and objective risks - they just see fatalities.  I suspect it's the same for ski mountaineers and extreme skiers.  I guess it depends on your perspective.  

 

And FWIW, Kip Garre wasn't skiing for a movie (or in a ski area) when he was killed.  I believe he wasn't skiing either, but climbing, but I could be wrong.

post #27 of 62

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

And FWIW, Kip Garre wasn't skiing for a movie (or in a ski area) when he was killed.  I believe he wasn't skiing either, but climbing, but I could be wrong.


Just googled a little and KG died with his crampons on (ie. climbing), a long ways from any film crews.  

 

post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

 


Just googled a little and KG died with his crampons on (ie. climbing), a long ways from any film crews.  

 



FWIW, Kip was(by all accounts) not being unnecessarily risky.  He was a Heli Guide (with points north) and a back country trainer, as well as an avalanche forecaster.  Someone who knew the environment, the risks and how to be as safe as possible.

Those who are close to him were shocked that he, of all people, was caught in this kind of situation.  

 

You want to read something really eerie, check out this article about Arne Backstrom, (By all accounts Arne was being cautions, too)  

http://www.sierrasun.com/article/20100607/NEWS/100609943

 

We see a lot of reckless behavior, but there are circumstances where these (highly intelligent) skiers are doing things right and "stuff happens"

 

Its sad that we have to say good bye to these people so soon.

frown.gif

post #29 of 62

So who has died while filming for TG, MSP, etc? It's also ridiculous to say that all you have seen is sttraightline to hucks. Do you people even watch ski movies?

 

 

 

 

 

post #30 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecimmortal View Post

So who has died while filming for TG, MSP, etc? It's also ridiculous to say that all you have seen is sttraightline to hucks. Do you people even watch ski movies?

 

 

 

 

 


From all the posts to this thread that I have read, it looks like the people do watch ski movies...it has been noted several times that the deaths used initially as examples had nothing to do with ski films.  I think the point is that some people miss seeing great turns through tight trees or down an open face...it''s nostalgia.  There was a film of Alf Engen on another thread (it may have been over on TGR, don't remember) that was fascinating...more entertaining than the latest ski porn for me.
 

 

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