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POWDER mag, Dec issue ... it's great - Page 5

post #121 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

 

I'm pretty much against rules for comps, but more because I don't really think comps display the best that the athletes themselves are capable of. It's rare that a comp has absolutely stellar conditions so folks try to ski lines that are tracked out, packed out, etc... like they'd ski in optimal conditions. It just isn't that aesthetically pleasing compared to film, but that's just me. I'm also not a fan of sports that are scored by subjective criteria. Hockey yes, ice dancing, not so much.

 

snip....

I agree, to the point I hate to see events added to the Olympics that are subjectively scored. Big mountain comps with gates; lowest time wins. like a downhill in different terrain. no more subjective ski comps.

post #122 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

I agree, to the point I hate to see events added to the Olympics that are subjectively scored. Big mountain comps with gates; lowest time wins. like a downhill in different terrain. no more subjective ski comps.

 

Bonzai!!!

post #123 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

I agree, to the point I hate to see events added to the Olympics that are subjectively scored. Big mountain comps with gates; lowest time wins. like a downhill in different terrain. no more subjective ski comps.

 

Yeah, that'd make it all infinitely safer! roflmao.gif

post #124 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

I agree, to the point I hate to see events added to the Olympics that are subjectively scored. Big mountain comps with gates; lowest time wins. like a downhill in different terrain. no more subjective ski comps.

 

That is a horrible idea.  It would be far less creative, less fun to watch, and actually less safe.

post #125 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post

 

That's the gambler's fallacy and the idea of being due.  On the other hand, statistically a larger sample size is more likely to turn up an outlier event.  You don't have less luck on any given outing based on what happened in the past, but the odds of the rare event occurring are still present each and every time, so I understand the sentiment.

Its like flipping a coin and heads coming up 10 times in a row, what are the odds of the next flip being tails? Its still 50%. But for backcountry skiers each time they venture out they gain experience (hopefully) so that their odds of getting hurt decrease ovedr time. But the chance of something horrible happening dont.

 

I think most of the experienced skiers recognize the dangers that day they get hurt, but choose to ignore them because they have done so in the past and not had things go bad, you can only cheat death so many times and come out the winner.

post #126 of 149
Just curious, but how many posting on this thread ever back country ski in any form? Riding lifts doesn't count for the sake of the question.

All BC terrain is NOT equally dangerous by any means, so no, it isn't a crap shoot or a toss of a coin for MOST people participating in the activity. Terrain choice is everything. If it were, there'd be 300-400 or more deaths per season.
post #127 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Just curious, but how many posting on this thread ever back country ski in any form?

I would hazard a guess that we're looking at a rather small fraction.
post #128 of 149

Robb said to respect them but to learn from their mistakes. Yet the article does not define the mistake that caused each death (some are stated). I'd like to read, for every person on the list, what their mistake was.

post #129 of 149

I am willing to bet that more people are killed each year driving to a ski resort than die in the backcountry.

 

Lots of these stars of ski films are the stars because they have a: tremendous skills and b: the willingness to risk their lives doing something spectacular. So for me backcountry skiing (ok I do most of it in New England) is not dangerous as I for one would never attempt those stunts, and we dont have many avalanches out here. I have seen them on Tuckersman's.

post #130 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Just curious, but how many posting on this thread ever back country ski in any form? Riding lifts doesn't count for the sake of the question.
All BC terrain is NOT equally dangerous by any means, so no, it isn't a crap shoot or a toss of a coin for MOST people participating in the activity. Terrain choice is everything. If it were, there'd be 300-400 or more deaths per season.

I would say very small. You are right all BC terrain isn't created equal and it isn't a crap shoot out there. I personally have been caught in many more slides in bounds then out in the BC. It is a numbers game and I'm way more careful about what I drop in the BC, then at the resort. 

 

I have a lot of experience in the BC, along with heli skiing and cat skiing and also have an avy cert. All that is done, has taught me how little I know. I was taught how to BC ski by people that were patrollers at the time and are now heli guides in AK. The rules were pretty simple, either I did as they told me or I didn't get to go with them. After several years and some avy classes I got to pick some lines and they would either green light them or shoot them down for a list of good reasons. You also had to be good with all your gear and we would practice with our beacons, until it became sort of a habit. 

 

What I see now is SOME people not all people, out in the BC with little or no guidance, trying to slay the dragon. I watched someone ski something in Blackwood Canyon last year, after a storm that I won't touch for another day or two, no ski cut no nothing, just charging. Made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Of course my buddy and I kept our eyes on him just incase, because that is what we do, when we asked him about the line he was oblivious to any danger, I skied away shaking my head.  The BC is as dangerous as you want to make it.

post #131 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by bplatt03443 View Post

Its like flipping a coin and heads coming up 10 times in a row, what are the odds of the next flip being tails? Its still 50%. But for backcountry skiers each time they venture out they gain experience (hopefully) so that their odds of getting hurt decrease ovedr time. But the chance of something horrible happening dont.

 

I think most of the experienced skiers recognize the dangers that day they get hurt, but choose to ignore them because they have done so in the past and not had things go bad, you can only cheat death so many times and come out the winner.

 

The potential problem with "experience" is that it tends to reinforce decisions that lead to acceptable outcomes.  It does not necessarily reinforce "correct" decisions.  When dealing with rare catastrophic events, there can be an awful lot of "learning" that is just plain spurious, attributing to skill what was actually luck.  Human beings are not calculators; we don't deal in probabilities as much as gut feelings.

 

A number of authorities have suggested that experience doesn't necessarily lead to better decisions.  That basically means the probability doesn't change.  But these experienced folks are the ones flipping the coin most frequently.

 

Whenever I read about a skiing related death, I always expect the part where they describe the person as "experienced" and I almost always find it.  That's just sad.

post #132 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

Just curious, but how many posting on this thread ever back country ski in any form? Riding lifts doesn't count for the sake of the question.
All BC terrain is NOT equally dangerous by any means, so no, it isn't a crap shoot or a toss of a coin for MOST people participating in the activity. Terrain choice is everything. If it were, there'd be 300-400 or more deaths per season.

Are you implying that the opinion of those who do not BC ski carries less weight than those that do? If so, I take exception when it comes to personal safety decisions and choosing not to be a BC skier does not prevent me from having a equally weighted discussion with someone who is a BC skier.

 

I agree with your second paragraph but the problem is determining what is and what isn't the safe terrain. After an avalanche occurs it is real convenient (but too late) to relabel an area previous thought as safe terrain. Why do so many experienced BC skiers get caught in slides...it is because they made a mistake and where wrong about the safety of the terrain and/or condition of the snow pack. Avalanche prediction is not an exact science, in fact it is not a science at all.

 

Most people do not go to the BC to ski low angle terrain, and even as an inbounds skier I know that "powder fever" can cloud a skier's judgment. Since the more conservative, cautious skiers like myself don't go to the BC, that tends to leave a high % of risk takers in the BC, with tragic results being more predictable than the avalanches out there.

 

As a non BC skier, last season's fatal avalanche near Stevens Pass really shocked me. IIRC 8 very experienced BC skiers went down the run without incident and then the 9th skier set off the fatal slide. I would have strongly believed that a run that was stable for 8 skiers would also be stable for the 9th skier. Of course I would have been wrong and the reason I don't BC ski is that when you are wrong, death often follows.

 

I wonder what experienced BC skiers think about this Stevens Pass accident because to me it is an example of the unmitigated unpredictability and danger of the BC.

post #133 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

Are you implying that the opinion of those who do not BC ski carries less weight than those that do? 

 

When it comes to pronouncements on the dangers of bc skiing, yes.

 

 

In large parts because of statements like this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 
Avalanche prediction is not an exact science, in fact it is not a science at all.

 

It may not be exact, but it is a science.  

post #134 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

 

I wonder what experienced BC skiers think about this Stevens Pass accident because to me it is an example of the unmitigated unpredictability and danger of the BC.

 

It speaks to the unpredictability of the mountains like you say. I haven't read enough on the accident it's self, to comment and even if I did, I'm not sure I would post anything about it as more then one of the people involved are from around here. Tragic to say the least though. 

 

Also Dano, if you don't BC ski you have no frame of reference from which to comment, you can disagree, but that is the way I see it. 

post #135 of 149

Stevens is not an example of random danger.

 

When the avalanche report is moderate, no one can say that a human triggered slide was unforeseen, unpredictable, or random. It was a clear risk, and reported and publicized as such.

 

Each person's style of turning affects the strength of the trigger. So 3rd. 8th, 9th is not the issue, more the stress applied to the slope.

 

There were people invited along who politely declined: "Not me...have fun."

post #136 of 149

I read the article, and I made sure that my 13 year old son read it.  It was timely.  While skiing with him on opening weekend at Squaw, he said to me, "Let's do the Chimney, Dad."  While I have at least one friend who has skied the Chimney, it is something that I will never do.  It scares me to death thinking that my son wants to do it.  Of course he was kidding last weekend, but he has completely embraced the world of the extreme skier.

 

I skied with some of the Warren Miller set at Squaw in the '80s, and even though they could of, I don't remember any of them dieing.  Things are different today, which is the jist of the article.  Is it just the equipment that is allowing so many more people push it to the limit?  Or is it everyone getting wrapped up in the hype?  I think it is both.  The equipment is allowing people who don't have a thousand days under their belt to go big and be able to handle the run out.  And the hype has made going big common place in peoples mind.

 

Also the more common lines are tracked out so quickly, that "the best" are having to take more extreme lines to get clean snow.  From my house, I can see some of the more popular side country lines in Alpine Meadows.  Fifteen years ago I would see few tracks down these lines, and those lines would show up days after a storm.  Now people are skiing them DAY OF THE STORM!  It is out of control.  And of course, as the safer lines get skied out, people will decide to ski the steeper, more exposed lines.  And people will hardly hesitate, because they did it last storm, and nothing bad happened.  Of course it won't be long before a group of people get caught in a slide and the lawyers at KSL (Alpine Meadows' new owners) shut it down.

 

I got a little off topic, but I sure hope that my son and his friends will embrace sanity over "progressing the sport."

post #137 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

I wonder what experienced BC skiers think about this Stevens Pass accident because to me it is an example of the unmitigated unpredictability and danger of the BC.

To answer this question, here are the thoughts of someone who was there:
http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/snow-sports/Tunnel-Vision-November-2012.html?page=all

The author seems to feel that they had all the information that they needed, but that they ignored it. So it doesn't seem to be a case of "unmitigated unpredictability" but rather poor choices with a predictable outcome.
post #138 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by bplatt03443 View Post

I am willing to bet that more people are killed each year driving to a ski resort than die in the backcountry.

 

Lots of these stars of ski films are the stars because they have a: tremendous skills and b: the willingness to risk their lives doing something spectacular. So for me backcountry skiing (ok I do most of it in New England) is not dangerous as I for one would never attempt those stunts, and we dont have many avalanches out here. I have seen them on Tuckersman's.

There have been on average 25 deaths per year from avalanches.  I am not certain how many are from skiing and how many are in bounds, backcountry, etc.  The trend is obviously going upwards.  There are more people dying from NARSIDs too, mostly in BC, California, Colorado, and Washington (that is where are trees and tree wells are).  Every time I see people skiing next to evergreens brushing under the branches I cringe, because it is easy to drop into a tree well and become inverted.  But tree skiing will never stop, people skiing the backcountry will never stop, and people trying extreme stunts will never end.  So we will continue to read obituaries of young people who were "experienced" skiers that "had a love for the outdoors."  Why?  Because the odds caught up to them.

 

1000

post #139 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post


To answer this question, here are the thoughts of someone who was there:
http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/snow-sports/Tunnel-Vision-November-2012.html?page=all
The author seems to feel that they had all the information that they needed, but that they ignored it. So it doesn't seem to be a case of "unmitigated unpredictability" but rather poor choices with a predictable outcome.

 

After reading that account of the avalanche, I have to agree that it was about poor choices and shows that poor choices can be made by both the experienced and novice BC skier. For me it confirms my concerns about "powder fever" and personally I don't trust my own decision making in similar circumstances, but more importantly, for me doing activities that can result in death if not successful are just not worth it. I guess I must not be enough of a lover of a powder, just a lover of skiing.

post #140 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

After reading that account of the avalanche, I have to agree that it was about poor choices and shows that poor choices can be made by both the experienced and novice BC skier. For me it confirms my concerns about "powder fever" and personally I don't trust my own decision making in similar circumstances, but more importantly, for me doing activities that can result in death if not successful are just not worth it. I guess I must not be enough of a lover of a powder, just a lover of skiing.

Fair enough.
post #141 of 149

http://www.tetongravity.com/blogs/Deadly-Winter-A-Look-At-A-Yearlong-Avalanche-Cycle-In-Montana-6463593.htm

 

Some years you just say, 'No - it isn't worth it.' If basic knowledge states signs of local activity, stay off avalanche terrain. Honor the storm; respect the mountains, live to ski another year.

post #142 of 149

Great link jc. What's interesting is that everything shown was very well within the realm of predicted. We had a long period of 'no go' a couple of winters ago in WA as well. Last year's avy outside of Steven's Pass was also in the middle of a storm cycle. In a maritime snowpack, it's always good just to say 'no' to BC and uncontrolled avy terrain while it's coming down. The latter added with respect and sorrow for those that died last year. A close friend was very nearly with that group.

post #143 of 149

Here's a pretty interesting vid for La Grave and a different take and attitude on responsibility and snow safety:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjhwTjBUvE0&feature=related

post #144 of 149

Well, it's sad that people are dying and yes the extreme movie scene can have some bad side effects in pushing the pros to push the limits a bit too far to get "progress" in the sport.

But I also think it's sad when I read posts by people who obviously enjoy skiing, and who most likely would enjoy backcountry skiing, say that they refuse to try backcountry skiing because it can never be guaranteed to be safe. Missing opportunities to enjoy life for no good reason is also a form of dying, it just happens more slowly. I've skinned up and skied down mountains since I was kid and I will surely introduce my daughter to the sport as soon as she has the stamina to skin up a mountain on cross country gear, with her alpine equipment in dads backpack. In about 5 years or so. Already getting excited by thinking about it :)

Backcountry skiing does not have to be unreasonably risky by default. Yes, there will almost always be a risk in skiing on a 30 or more degree slope in the middle of winter, but one can choose to avoid potentially dangerous terrain when the conditions does not seem very favorable. Skiing terrain that does not get steeper than 30 degrees for lengthy sections in periods with moderate-low avy danger will probably not be more risky than driving to the trailhead or hiking a steep trail in the summer. Getting to the top of most mountains while not taking any risks will probably not be possible, but in most areas there are at least some safe peaks. If one is only in it for the skiing, then it's generally easy to find safe terrain, and the steep skiing and getting to the top of spectacular peaks can be saved for spring when the conditions are more predictable.

post #145 of 149

Did anyone read the interview in Freeskier with Drew Tabke?  He makes some brash statements about the industry in general and how they're marketing BC gear to the masses.  Basically he argues that beacons, probes, shovels, etc. probably do more harm than good.  Perhaps an exaggeration but his point is all of these things negate (or interfere with) sound decision making.  Says the mentality should be, "If I mess up I'm probably going to die."

 

It's not online yet, but worth checking out if you have a copy.

post #146 of 149
Some people read about the back country, buy some gear and shovel from REI, and feel they are BC prepared. It is like anything else where there is a false sense of security.
post #147 of 149

So if they head out to the BC, get in trouble, and don't have that stuff, then they are labeled "unprepared idiots".

 

So if they head out to the BC, get in trouble, and DO have that stuff, then they are labeled "inexperienced idiots".

 

So if they head out to the BC, get in trouble, DO have that stuff, and are experienced, what label do they get?  "Should have read the avy report?"  "Had a false sense of security?"

 

At some point, they should get the gear.  The false sense of security doesn't necessarily come with it in the box.

post #148 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post

So if they head out to the BC, get in trouble, and don't have that stuff, then they are labeled "unprepared idiots".

 

So if they head out to the BC, get in trouble, and DO have that stuff, then they are labeled "inexperienced idiots".

 

So if they head out to the BC, get in trouble, DO have that stuff, and are experienced, what label do they get?  "Should have read the avy report?"  "Had a false sense of security?"

 

At some point, they should get the gear.  The false sense of security doesn't necessarily come with it in the box.

He/she was an experienced backcountry skier.  the lead into every obit I read.

post #149 of 149

Thread bump...

 

This article just went online.  If you haven't read it yet, I think it's worth reading.

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