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."