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Skiing as the Anti Disney

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Has anyone read The Ultimate Athlete, by George Leonard?
In his chapter entitled "Risking, Dying" the author has some interesting observations about skiing.

"Downhill skiing, perhaps more than any sport, joins the geometric with the sensuous. Few moments in sports compare with the pause at the summit proceeding a long delirious fall that will leave its tracks in the snow- the curves of human skill and desire".
{chapter 13 page 217}

According to Leonard, the urge for risk in sports runs contrary to society's need to reduce risk and manufacture predictable experiences. A packaged tour will ensure that you know exactly what you will experience on any given day.
If its Thursday, it must be Belgium.

What he calls the "pleasure programmers" of Disney calculate precisely how many people can proceed through any of their experiences at any given time. After which, participants hurry out, so that the next group of "processees" can take their place.

But this need to make life predictable, standardized and reliable has back fired. Modern medicne can now cure some of the most insidious diseases. But an effective cure for Malaise has yet to be found.

Dr. Sol Roy Rosenthal at the University of Illonois postulated that a certain amount of risk is necessary to our evolutionary process. With that in mind, I have always found it interesting that one of the guys who did decide to challenge the terrorists on Sept.11 was a snowboard instructor.

Rosenthal divided sports into 2 categories:
Risk sports such as skiing
Non risk sports such as tennis and golf.

Non risk sports generally promote exhaustion, risk sport promotes exhiliration. IMHO, there could be truth to this, but it seems a bit of a generalization.

But more significant, non risk sports are generally involved in winning, whereas risk sports are enjoyed for their own sake.

According to Rosenthal, it is the "tension between high skill and carefully calculated risk that creates exhilration and health".
He even speculates that people who particpate in risk sports have better sex lives! [img]smile.gif[/img]
Rosenthal believed so adamantly in the mental health benefits that he advocated national subsidization of risk sports.
post #2 of 25
LM--I follow your train of thought up to the risk/non-risk part, and that's where I think I part company with you and Mr. Rostenthal. Everything about the difference between manufactured experiences and more individual efforts producing unique responses to situations rings true--even though a mountaineer might argue that activities in bounds at a ski area with lifts are, relative to his or her own OB activities, not so 'pure.'
My issues on the risk/non-risk dichotomy are as follows: some things that seem risky, really aren't, once skill and experience are factored in. The governor of North Carolina on an open track in a NASCAR pace car is at much more risk of cracking up than a trained driver entering a turn in the middle of a pack other experienced drivers in the final laps of a race.
My second issue may not really be an issue, but has to do with the forms risk can take. Is it exclusively physical risk, or are more sophisticated variations allowed? Financial risk for example--good investors/asset managers should insist on being overcompensated for risk--adreneline junkies ultimately go broke (unless they quit while they are ahead). Golf is a beautiful game, and it's also a gambling game, and the elements of risk/reward are designed into any decent golf hole. But none of the risks are physical.
Just thoughts. Interesting set of issues.
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
I definitely agree that its an issue of relativity. For someone such as myself, who did not begin skiing till my mid 40s, and in a profession where even the slightest injury can bring about a significantly reduced income, my definition of risk is going to be quite different from that of a teenager's who has been skiing as long as they have been walking, or even a 30 something with a desk job.

The issue of physical vs. psychological risk is also an interesting one. Regarding this, I pose the question:
Does Life Immitate Sport?

In jest, Si comments that after learning to ski bumps, Bonni moves cross country to be with a wonderful guy with whom she fallen in love- from an internet forum. [img]smile.gif[/img]

Leap from hills/Leap of fate!
Coincidence, Maharshi?

[ June 15, 2003, 12:57 PM: Message edited by: Lisamarie ]
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
Rosenthal divided sports into 2 categories:
Risk sports such as skiing
Non risk sports such as tennis and golf.

You've never played golf with Mr. T.
post #5 of 25
Funny, LM, I had always wondered how Disney would have changed how we ski. If Mineral King CA. had not been stymied by the Sierra Club and alike, the big mouse might have revolutionized the skiing experience we know today...maybe for good or bad!
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
The issue of physical vs. psychological risk is also an interesting one. Regarding this, I pose the question:
Does Life Immitate Sport?
I have heard two phrases that may relate to this...
"American Football was invented as a substitute for war"
(The idea being that rather than taking agression out on an enemy resulting in death etc, have a sport which produces a victorious side, and a defeated on, without the mortal wounds)
I believe that an American comedian turned this round and said that "War was a substitute for American Football" That those who planned/started wars were ones who never made it far in High School Football try outs.

My thoughts on the matter?
Well, perhaps some sports may be allegories for parts of life, but I think if your life becomes an imitation of a sport, then you are limiting yourself to an insular, narrow existence.

I could go on, but it's late.

S
post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Robin:
Funny, LM, I had always wondered how Disney would have changed how we ski. If Mineral King CA. had not been stymied by the Sierra Club and alike, the big mouse might have revolutionized the skiing experience we know today...maybe for good or bad!
Disney skiihg? SHUDDER!!!!
What comes into question with something like Disney, is just how much do you want someone to control, orchestrate and choreograph your experience? Of course, this happens every time we go to the movies, theatre, or watch TV. Not that this is without merit.

But there is something to be said in favor of putting the experience together for yourself, writing your own adventure, so to speak. Builds character!
post #8 of 25
I think a propensity to engage in risk taking is a trait deeply ingrained in the genetic code of the American culture. The men and women who spawned this great nation were rare individuals who refused to settle for life as it was. They chose to leave the repressive security of the known and cast out on a great and dangerous adventure in search of a life most of their friends and neighbors lacked the courage to pursue or the imagination to envision.

The result was a melding of the most intelligent, independent and courageous individuals from all corners of the then modern world into a single society that, as a unit, leveraged their common maverick character traits and developed into the richest and most powerful nation on earth.

Comparatively to the rest of the world the USA is a very young country and the risk taking, free thinking tendencies of our fore fathers still flow heavy through our veins. I for one am glad and proud. Happy fathers day America!!!
post #9 of 25
I find it hard to believe the author is talking about recreational skiers cruising green/blue and some black groomers. Not much more risk in that than riding your bike along PCH.
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by Robin:
Funny, LM, I had always wondered how Disney would have changed how we ski. If Mineral King CA. had not been stymied by the Sierra Club and alike, the big mouse might have revolutionized the skiing experience we know today...maybe for good or bad!
Walt Disney was involved in the initial developpement of Sugarbowl , CA. Funny enough it was one of the most authentic ski resort in California and quite the antithesis to Dysneyland. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Nice post on the Maggot Board by Bullet

That is so incredibly funny its pathetic!
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by Lisamarie:
Nice post on the Maggot Board by Bullet

That is so incredibly funny its pathetic!
Assinine is more like it!

[quote]by WTFH
Well, perhaps some sports may be allegories for parts of life, but I think if your life becomes an imitation of a sport, then you are limiting yourself to an insular, narrow existence.

Agree, to a point.
Some of the dudes I played football with in college could never give up the game. Everything had to be competition.
Or, for risk sports, what about the ones who always have to brag about the sic terrain that they ski, and if someone is more conservative, for whatever reason, its a big joke.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by Nicholas:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Lisamarie:
Nice post on the Maggot Board by Bullet

That is so incredibly funny its pathetic!
Assinine is more like it!</font>[/quote]Do you honestly believe the author is writing about recreational skiers cruising blue groomers? I seem to recall a post by LM not too long ago about how she was proud of herself for stepping up to a black diamond run. I use that post as a basis for where I perceive LM to ski (lacking any other data). That's great for her, and I'm not disparging her efforts - progression is a good thing. I just doubt that's what the author had in mind when he wrote about "tension between high skill and carefully calculated risk that creates exhilration and health".. :

[ June 16, 2003, 10:40 PM: Message edited by: Bullet ]
post #14 of 25
I don't see where Lisamarie is implying that she is talking about herself. She's talking about an idea in a book. If you choose to see it that way just so that you can post some dumbass thread on another forum, well hey, if thats how you get your kicks, no problem. Personally I prefer skiing to making fun of how other people ski, but thats just my opinion.
BTW, I'm sure Plake, Bode and others think that the stuffthat you brag about is pretty lame, and not a risk at all.
But I'm also pretty sure they don't waste their time talking about it.
post #15 of 25
"Comparatively to the rest of the world the USA is a very young country and the risk taking, free thinking tendencies of our fore fathers still flow heavy through our veins. I for one am glad and proud. Happy fathers day America!!!"

That's so fantastically funny when applied to skiing I cannot let it go. In europe the ski patrol is there to pick up the pieces if you fall and hurt yourself. They will not admonish you for speeding, they will not take your pass away if your going fast (no matter how fast), things I understand certain US resort patrols will do.

In europe if you duck the ropes and go into the bc it is understood you do so at your own risk (nobody sues here). The watching ski patrol will smile or wave at you, and look envious if you are carving up their powder. Sometimes one or two will join you during one of their breaks from patrolling. There is absolutely no possiblity they will remove your lift pass for ducking the ropes (which are only there to warn the beginners away).

Have you seen the stuff Tom posts [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] . Most of that is lift accessed. It's very dangerous terrain. Would a US company permit such a high level of risk? I think not.
post #16 of 25
A quite extraordinarily funny thread. If I read if and relate back to the original posters skiing experience it has some honesty

Riding a bike down PCH is NOT a "Disney" experience. Skiing for 97% of the North America population definitely IS. Nothing wrong with that. It is simply the nature of the country.

"USA the worlds biggest theme park". hunter S thompson

Laughs a minute on EpicSki ..... cheers

Oz
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by Bullet:
I just doubt that's what the author had in mind when he wrote about "tension between high skill and carefully calculated risk that creates exhilration and health".
So, are you saying that a beginner, who is less skilled, should not be allowed to have exhiliration when they make their first carved turn? Or an intermediate who does a black run isn't allowed to enjoy it because they aren't an expert? If someone is less skilled than you does that mean they have less of a right to enjoy themselves?
Is your life so competitive that only in beating others do you find pleasure?
Is this the New American Dream? "I/we must be number one, anything less is failure, and we must make sure we do whatever we can to create failure in others so that we may tread them underfoot and succeed"

The only link I can see back to the comment about Walt is this:
"Bullet believes he has the right to enjoy himself, and LM disney." (OK, maybe that line only works with an Irish/Scottish accent, but it's funny to me)

S

(and now I shall duck as the flames get fired at me)

[ June 17, 2003, 01:52 AM: Message edited by: Wear the fox hat ]
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by IceKing:
"Comparatively to the rest of the world the USA is a very young country and the risk taking, free thinking tendencies of our fore fathers still flow heavy through our veins. I for one am glad and proud. Happy fathers day America!!!"

That's so fantastically funny when applied to skiing I cannot let it go. In europe the ski patrol is there to pick up the pieces if you fall and hurt yourself. They will not admonish you for speeding, they will not take your pass away if your going fast (no matter how fast), things I understand certain US resort patrols will do.

In europe if you duck the ropes and go into the bc it is understood you do so at your own risk (nobody sues here). The watching ski patrol will smile or wave at you, and look envious if you are carving up their powder. Sometimes one or two will join you during one of their breaks from patrolling. There is absolutely no possiblity they will remove your lift pass for ducking the ropes (which are only there to warn the beginners away).

Have you seen the stuff Tom posts [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img] . Most of that is lift accessed. It's very dangerous terrain. Would a US company permit such a high level of risk? I think not.
Great post.

Also with relation to risk: risk and the perception of risk is in no way related to skill. A beginner can break their leg on a blue run whereas an 'expert' could break it doing a 60 ft cliff drop. The injury and perceived risk is the same. It's about the feeling within the individual and not the terrain that's gives the feeling of risk, empowerment, success and enjoyment.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by FastMan:
I think a propensity to engage in risk taking is a trait deeply ingrained in the genetic code of the American culture. The men and women who spawned this great nation were rare individuals who refused to settle for life as it was. They chose to leave the repressive security of the known and cast out on a great and dangerous adventure in search of a life most of their friends and neighbors lacked the courage to pursue or the imagination to envision.

The result was a melding of the most intelligent, independent and courageous individuals from all corners of the then modern world into a single society that, as a unit, leveraged their common maverick character traits and developed into the richest and most powerful nation on earth.

Comparatively to the rest of the world the USA is a very young country and the risk taking, free thinking tendencies of our fore fathers still flow heavy through our veins. I for one am glad and proud. Happy fathers day America!!!
Best post I've seen in a while, even if it is NSR. As far as comparisons to Euro skiing go, that is the result of the litigous society that we currently live in. As Americans we want to be free to take whatever risks we want (personal freedom) however there is a large industry with a vested $$$ interest in making sure that any negative experience is inherently someone else's fault and the offending parties should monetarily compensate the victims for said offense.

Also, I think that most skiers ski to challenge themselves. Whether that challenge occurs on a green, double black, or OB the risk perceived by the participant is the same. Society will always have risk takers and non-risk takers. Risk takers succeed big and fail big, they make the news. The non-risk takers generally take the road down the middle, they generally succeed but not to the extent of the risk takers, but they rarely fail. The mix is what is necessary to have a society such as ours.

As much as the "Disney" experience is maligned, it was a huge investment risk when first undertaken. And that willingness to risk it all for the chance at huge profits is what separates the US from the rest of the world; it is gambling in its purest form. We are a society of gamblers; from the founding fathers to the investment bankers to us skiers, some place bigger bets than others for the chance at a higher payout but in general our society has suceeded because of this mentality. It is my hope that this continues into our future generations.

[ June 17, 2003, 05:45 AM: Message edited by: teledave ]
post #20 of 25
[quote]Originally posted by Wear the fox hat:
Quote:
Originally posted by Bullet:
[qb]I just doubt that's what the author had in mind when he wrote about "tension between high skill and carefully calculated risk that creates exhilration and health".
Quote:
So, are you saying that a beginner, who is less skilled, should not be allowed to have exhiliration when they make their first carved turn?
No, I wrote no such thing nor implied such, nor believe your statement to be true.

Quote:
Or an intermediate who does a black run isn't allowed to enjoy it because they aren't an expert?
No, I wrote no such thing, nor implied such, nor believe this statement to be true.

Quote:
If someone is less skilled than you does that mean they have less of a right to enjoy themselves?
No, I wrote no such thing, nor implied such, nor believe this statement to be true.

Quote:
Is your life so competitive that only in beating others do you find pleasure?
No - man, you are reading a lot into to my statement that I didn't believe the author was writing about recreational skiing. [img]smile.gif[/img]

Quote:
Is this the New American Dream? "I/we must be number one, anything less is failure, and we must make sure we do whatever we can to create failure in others so that we may tread them underfoot and succeed"
Again, you misread my post - I stated that LM posted about her progress to Black diamons. I posted that that was a good thing - progression - I posted that I was not disparaging her progress. I merely pointed out that I did not believe the statement of "tension between high skill and carefully calculated risk that creates exhilration and health". applied to cruising blue groomers.

Quote:
"Bullet believes he has the right to enjoy himself, and LM disney." (
To adequately reflect my believe this would read "Bullet AND LM believe they have the right to enjoy themselves and Disney".
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally posted by Nicholas:
I don't see where Lisamarie is implying that she is talking about herself. She's talking about an idea in a book. If you choose to see it that way just so that you can post some dumbass thread on another forum, well hey, if thats how you get your kicks, no problem. Personally I prefer skiing to making fun of how other people ski, but thats just my opinion.
Seems you get your kicks of kicking people who have a different viewpoint than you. I never put anyone down for how they ski or where they ski. I merely pointed out that I did not believe the auther was referring to recreational skiing based on the one sentence I have reposted serveral times now. If you choose to belittle and demean someone just because they have a different view on a subject than you, that's your right. I have not done so.

Quote:
BTW, I'm sure Plake, Bode and others think that the stuffthat you brag about is pretty lame, and not a risk at all.
Yep you are right about that. But also, I have not posted in my thread here, that I think I am anything really great. Again, I just don't believe the statement "tension between high skill and carefully calculated risk that creates exhilration and health". applies to recreational skiing.

Quote:
But I'm also pretty sure they don't waste their time talking about it.
Don't know Bode, but Plake talks a real good game.
post #22 of 25
But you did say:
Quote:
Originally posted by Bullet:
Do you honestly believe the author is writing about recreational skiers cruising blue groomers?
And these are your words, too, I believe:
Quote:
Originally posted by Bullet:
That's great for her, and I'm not disparging her efforts - progression is a good thing. I just doubt that's what the author had in mind when he wrote about "tension between high skill and carefully calculated risk that creates exhilration and health".
So, it is fair to say that the comments are not for recreational skiers on blues, or blacks (i.e. LM)? I don't believe that I am implying anything in that statement that isn't in your post.

That is where my idea came from, I then extrapolated it to try to understand the thinking behind your post.

S
post #23 of 25
Yes WTFH - my point was I did not believe the author was writing about recreational skiers skiing blue groomers. Nothing more. You have quoted me properly.

Quote:
So, it is fair to say that the comments are not for recreational skiers on blues, or blacks
Yes, that has been my position - if you mean THE COMMENTS are the comments of the author of the book LM references.

Some folks seem a bit uptight here. "There's a dissenter amongst - KILL HIM!!!!!!
post #24 of 25
Bullet,
You'll have to forgive me, you see, unfortunately I'm not one of the...
Quote:
Originally posted by FastMan:
most intelligent, independent and courageous individuals
nor do I do any...
Quote:
Originally posted by FastMan:
risk taking or free thinking
S
post #25 of 25
Quote:
"Comparatively to the rest of the world the USA is a very young country and the risk taking, free thinking tendencies of our fore fathers still flow heavy through our veins. I for one am glad and proud. Happy fathers day America!!!"
Yawn or is that lawn ....

with snow on it that is about taking the risk of SKIING to get the mail ?
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