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Safety Gear, Skiing Solo, Changing Sport Mentality? - Page 2

post #31 of 49

I too have skied alone a lot over the past 20 years - both on piste and BC.  My wife is always relieved when I go skiing with someone else.  While I enjoy the solitude, I also have tried to respect my responsibility as my families provider.  As a general rule when alone I ski more trafficked areas and generally avoid tree skiing (tight trees) as I fell into a tree well as a teenager and fortunately had friends with me who got me out.  It was pretty scary and not something I ever want to experience again.  As far as safety equipment goes, it makes perfect sense to me to take advantage of the innovation and advancement of safety equipment, just as we do with ski clothing and other accessories.  Heck - 30 years ago, we didn't have the opportunity for this type of discussion - across the world beercheer.gif- because this technology didn't exist!

 

In regards to 'pdiddy's" post above (haven't quite figured out the "quote" smile.gif) ... regarding the danger of swimming/surfing in ocean alone, as a body boarder and SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarder) I have been tossed around the ocean floor many times and while not fun - it is part of the risk we take to engage in the pursuit of what we love.  I did see that drowning is the SIXTH leading cause of unintentional death in the USA (http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html).  At the end of the day, I still stand a greater risk of dying in car wreck ... than on the mountain or in the ocean.  I'll take those odds, and seek to be respectful of my capabilities and of others.

post #32 of 49

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justruss View Post

...So, is solo skiing off-piste or in the BC foolish?...


Probably, but I do it sometimes.

 

However, I would never suggest that someone else do it.

post #33 of 49

Whatever the reasons, the recent fatalities are catching the eye of mainstream media.

 

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/rock-center/46490767/

 

post #34 of 49

I'll do it near my home area.  Always let people know where I'm going and when I'll be back.  Check in when I return.  Never deviate from my route.  Only go when there's plenty of time/daylight left.  Take a cell phone (which works in a few places on the hill so not a perfect solution).  I'd never go into unknown places solo.  Never do a longer route solo.  I do solo tours mainly as a fitness workout and/or touring gear shakedown in preparation for longer Spring tours in Europe.

post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

Whatever the reasons, the recent fatalities are catching the eye of mainstream media.

 

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/rock-center/46490767/

 



Not all that different when these happened. 

Quote:

According to his biography, Rosar was president of the North Carolina Bicycling Club from 2002-2003 and was a Director of the North Carolina Active Transportation Alliance.

He was also a founding member of the NC Coalition for Bicycle Driving, the Education Officer for the NC Bicycle Club, the elected representative for Region 3 on the League of American Bicyclists Board and a member of the CAMPO Bicycle/Pedestrian Stakeholders Group.

He actively promoted commuting by bicycle as a safe and enjoyable way to get to work, and was active in Raleigh's "Bike to Work Week". He also lectured on bicycle safety to area businesses and taught cycling safety for Triangle Roadway Bicycling and at various bicycle rallies.

 

 

Quote:

Transportation safety expert Stephens killed when hit by bus

ST. LOUIS -- A Washington state woman who was one of the country's top experts on bicycle and pedestrian safety was killed yesterday morning when she was struck by a tour bus while crossing a downtown intersection here.

Susie Stephens, 36, of Winthrop, Wash., was struck shortly after 8:30 a.m.

The driver of the Vandalia Bus Lines vehicle told police he did not see Stephens as he made a left turn.

 

I believe in both cases the incidents were ultimately blamed on the cyclists/ safety experts spacing out and pulling right out in front of the oncoming vehicles.

 

Edit, first accident biker's fault, second one driver's fault.wink.gif

 

 

Stuff like this doesn't tell me biking or skiing is any more dangerous than it was 20 years ago.  It just reminds us that spit happens, be careful.

 

 

post #36 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by choucas View Post

... Take a cell phone (which works in a few places on the hill so not a perfect solution). ..


Aside from beeping for solo excursions where there's slide risk, the rest of the non-protective technology universe also presents some interesting choices.  GPS is great, e.g., for recreational purposes -- noting exactly where you saw x, y, or z -- but there's a lot to be said for not relying on it, for several reasons.  There's also a lot to be said for knowing how to get yourself un-lost, which is a learnable skill, just as map-reading is.  Powered down cell phones make sense to me, but again can be problematic -- too many people rely on them, are too quick to call for help, and they also kinda conceptually can be at odds with the idea of being self-reliant. 

 

Since many people who travel in groups in the bc really aren't capable of assisting each other well, and many people who travel by themselves are both in areas that are heavily travelled, and also linked via technology to the outside world, there's a pretty big grey area as to travel:  many people are unknowingly soloing (or even unknowingly guiding in some cases) and many people on "solo" excursions aren't exactly fully self-reliant. 

 

post #37 of 49

From the OP: The point of this thread is to step back and consider a sport that, at least in some ways, seems to be changing in mentality, available equipment, accessibility, and population. And in the course of such changes, the relationship between mountain operations, manufactures/retailers, marketing, and skiers seems to be shifting.

 

Risk control is always shifting for the better due to increased awareness, technology and threats of lawsuits.  As kids we went to an empty field and started baseball games with nothing but a ball, bat and dirty sneakers.  Today kids barely out of diapers are in baseball leagues wearing uniforms, cleats, batting helmets and $25 sliding shorts.  Years ago kids skied with hats and now every good parent must ensure their child has a helmet.  Today we can ski in the back country with far superior safety equipment than was available a decade ago.  From a safety perspective, things are always getting better.  This should help mitigate risk, but that doesn't always happen due to the lack of good judgment.

 

The percentage of people making errors in judgment never changes.  I have no statistics to prove this, but it seems the percentage of people making stupid mistakes never changes.  There are always people riding on days when a local avalanche center issues a moderate to high alert, people skiing fast in slow ski zones, people skiing near tree wells, etc.  This season a member of the Danish royalty was buried in an avalanche and a famous skier was killed in Utah.  Both times the avalanche danger was high, yet they accepted the risk despite having families with young children. 

 

If someone told me I have a 99% chance of crossing the street safely and a 1% change of getting hit by a car and dying, I wouldn't cross!  It is not about the 1% chance of being wrong with my judgment, but the consequence of being wrong.  This is no different than a poker player being wrong a lot and losing a few insignificant dollars each time, or being wrong once and losing everything he owns.  It is not the probability of something bad happening that is important, but the probability times the consequence.  Dying and leaving a grieving family is one big consequence.

 

More accessibility to dangerous sports equates to more deaths.  More people ski the back country now due to greater awareness, accessibility to both location and equipment, and "prestige" with peers. More participants in any dangerous activity always equates to more deaths and injury.

 

For the most part mountain operations, manufacturers, and retailers are meeting (IMHO) social responsibility.   I know a couple of the socialists hanging out on this site think all businesses are evil, but capitalism is still the best economic system in the world.  Manufacturers are developing lighter, stronger, more technologically advanced and safer equipment all the time that meets the needs of riders, and they are profiting from doing so (good for them).  Social responsibility combined with the chance to make a profit insures these manufacturers--and new ones--keep developing better products.  Mountain operations are giving riders what they demand to increase ticket and ancillary sales.  Many mountains are responsibly offering snow and avalanche safety classes.  Retailers also offer classes and clinics selling more goods as a result.   These for profit entities are being responsible, but they cannot stop mother nature or poor judgment.

 

 

post #38 of 49

the formula is interesting. there's: risk X consequence = actual danger.  there's is also: risk X consequence (-) reward = motivation. 

then: actual danger weighed against motivation = emotional factor

 

 

post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

the formula is interesting. there's: risk X consequence = actual danger.  there's is also: risk X consequence (-) reward = motivation. 

then: actual danger weighed against motivation = emotional factor

 

 


Or risk x danger = consequence.
post #40 of 49

Part of the reason for the greater use of safety gear today is its availability.  If it was as readily available and comparatively speaking at the same cost, lots of folks would have been using it 30 years ago too. 

 

In my case the use of safety gear or lack thereof does not affect my choices.  I would still ski/not ski a given slope, ski at a given speed on a given run/line, run/not run a given set of rapids, and drive the same twisty road at the same speed, regardless of helmet/no helmet, air bag/ no airbag, etcetera.  Better tires/skis/brakes might influence how fast I would go.

post #41 of 49
Thread Starter 

Just wanted to stop in and let everyone know I've been away for two weeks (Arctic circle/Finnish Lapland), but that I'm enjoying reading the comments now that I'm back. 

 

On a lighter (stupider) note: I had the most serious injury of my season last week. Broken rib(s), can see/feel it (the bone break) ~ 2 inches below my left nipple. Lovely. And embarrassing... 

 

... I did it on x-country skis.

 

 

post #42 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by justruss View Post

Just wanted to stop in and let everyone know I've been away for two weeks (Arctic circle/Finnish Lapland), but that I'm enjoying reading the comments now that I'm back. 

 

On a lighter (stupider) note: I had the most serious injury of my season last week. Broken rib(s), can see/feel it (the bone break) ~ 2 inches below my left nipple. Lovely. And embarrassing... 

 

... I did it on x-country skis.

 

 

No way, I had the same exact break, I could literally push the rip in with my hand.   Kind of scary since it's in proximity of the heart.    I did it playing hockey... checked the wall instead of the player... It hurt but I was still able to do most everything, not like some rib breaks which are in an area that make breathing super painful.     Sounds like the exact same rib and location.... 
 

 

post #43 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post

No way, I had the same exact break, I could literally push the rip in with my hand.   Kind of scary since it's in proximity of the heart.    I did it playing hockey... checked the wall instead of the player... It hurt but I was still able to do most everything, not like some rib breaks which are in an area that make breathing super painful.     Sounds like the exact same rib and location.... 
 

 

 

OK, off-topic:
 

The strange thing is that I've cracked ribs before, lower down, and this higher position is an order of magnitude less painful overall. First two/three days was pretty bad. But now it just aches in the morning and sharp pain sneezing (about two weeks post injury). 

 

I actually would have assumed it was a crack/contusion because I did all kinds of things in the 10 days since it happened (including ibuprofen-aided x-country, downhill, snow-shoeing, and even jumping off a roof twice into the deep fluff). It was only once I was back that I noticed the quarter-inch bump where the rib is clearly broken and pushing out below my nipple (I felt in one morning, and now can run my finger along the rib until I hit it). But it doesn't seem to move-- at least not with the pressure I'm willing to put on it. 

 

My fear now is that when it heals, I'll have this semi-deformed rib, and a small bony lump-- that during a future accident could take all the pressure, and cause a more serious injury. But on the flip side, I guess there's not much to be done about that... rib injuries have two options: wait/rest, surgery. And given the time post-injury, this obviously didn't impact my heart/lungs/spleen, and I don't see how the bone could possibly be set externally. 

 

How did yours heal pdiddy?

post #44 of 49

Ha, ha,

Congratulations on joining the society of people with noticeably deformed bones. You need to break a collar bone and shoulder to go along with that ribs, and shoulder blade.  I wasn't aware there was a second option; the do nothing option is the only one I've ever come across. 

 

I wasn't aware that my ribs stuck out (and not because I am down to 150 lbs wink.gif), until I had someone notice and ask me if I had ever broken them. 

In my case, the ribs healed up in about 3 weeks at first, but I didn't give it full rest and did the two steps backwards thing, which lead to another 6 weeks of being very very careful not to overdo anything.  The next time I did a number on my ribs, they were good to go after about a month, but the bruised lung took much longer. 

 

 

post #45 of 49

This thread needs a complete separation of BC vs. off piste.  They are so different it's kind of ridiculous to discuss them together.

post #46 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post

This thread needs a complete separation of BC vs. off piste.  They are so different it's kind of ridiculous to discuss them together.



I don't agree. Yes, they are different, no disagreement there. And yes, being deep in the BC requires a different set of self-sufficiency and management of potential isolation. 

 

But here in the Alps (Tyrol, etc), off-piste can be avalanche territory-- and going off piste is at your own risk (including financial for rescue). The BC in the U.S. can be plenty skied out and peopled, and the off-piste here (even close to the piste, or inside the boundaries of a resort---which doesn't mean anything at many places here) can be unskied and you can be there alone. 

 

I think many of the safety concerns overlap. 

post #47 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by justruss View Post

 

OK, off-topic:
 

The strange thing is that I've cracked ribs before, lower down, and this higher position is an order of magnitude less painful overall. First two/three days was pretty bad. But now it just aches in the morning and sharp pain sneezing (about two weeks post injury). 

 

I actually would have assumed it was a crack/contusion because I did all kinds of things in the 10 days since it happened (including ibuprofen-aided x-country, downhill, snow-shoeing, and even jumping off a roof twice into the deep fluff). It was only once I was back that I noticed the quarter-inch bump where the rib is clearly broken and pushing out below my nipple (I felt in one morning, and now can run my finger along the rib until I hit it). But it doesn't seem to move-- at least not with the pressure I'm willing to put on it. 

 

My fear now is that when it heals, I'll have this semi-deformed rib, and a small bony lump-- that during a future accident could take all the pressure, and cause a more serious injury. But on the flip side, I guess there's not much to be done about that... rib injuries have two options: wait/rest, surgery. And given the time post-injury, this obviously didn't impact my heart/lungs/spleen, and I don't see how the bone could possibly be set externally. 

 

How did yours heal pdiddy?


Well I still have a bump there,  but you don't need to worry about it being weak.   That bump is a little extra bone around the break which should make it plenty strong.    No worries.  :) 

 

post #48 of 49

Yes, I'm certainly aware that off piste in most of Europe vs. the U.S. is a completely different beast entirely.  That's why I don't really like using the term off piste in these types of discussions, because some of the resulting statements can be kind of goofy (in a forum where most visitors / posters live in North America).
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justruss View Post



I don't agree. Yes, they are different, no disagreement there. And yes, being deep in the BC requires a different set of self-sufficiency and management of potential isolation. 

 

But here in the Alps (Tyrol, etc), off-piste can be avalanche territory-- and going off piste is at your own risk (including financial for rescue). The BC in the U.S. can be plenty skied out and peopled, and the off-piste here (even close to the piste, or inside the boundaries of a resort---which doesn't mean anything at many places here) can be unskied and you can be there alone. 

 

I think many of the safety concerns overlap. 



 

post #49 of 49

GHOST hits the nail on the head!   some of us are longer in the tooth (moi 48 yrs) and have been around the hood for a while observing many changes over time.  I've decide to go solo far more now because its fun and allows unlimited freedom in so many ways.  as a guide (did so for years in many seasons and provinces:  canoeing,  dog sledding,  train army BC survival, kids, adults,  taught forest science, ..  yada)  you cannot stay true to yourself as you have to keep in mind all the training and others level of skills.  after a while it becomes a drag.  I've had younger BC partners that overthink and become way too cautious to the point that they just don't take any chances from what they perceive is a risk.  It too becomes a drag.  all that work for so little fun and there really is no greater danger just paranoia.  I've gone on guided BC tours and the guides are used to being overcautious.  There are risks everywhere in every step of life.  If we wish to save lives,  then look at driving on the highway.  statistically,  that's the number one killer.  (stay away from the hand held devices btw while driving.  I rarely use digital stuff so consider myself very very lucky in that way from what I see around me).   A life is a life regardless.  Every step closer to the summit,  I do find myself :  How can I do this super fun line and still live for another run?  As a new person on this site I will explore more literature while I share and learn more.  Thanks GHOST for a refreshing read.   ps:  pdiddy,  solo surfing is another incredible feeling! 

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