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Torchlight Parade -- Have you guys done this?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
On New Years Eve at Taos, they have a torchlight parade down to the bottom of the main lift followed by fireworks -- avalanche guns concluded the show. WOW! Our whole family loved watching it.

How do you guys do it? This was on a black bump run -- not the steepest on the mountain, but plenty steep and long. Do people ski on the run that day to see what it's like before it gets dark? Ski a couple of runs without poles? Are you (as I suspect) really such good skiers that this is no big deal?

The bobbing lights (and lack of poles) really made the "backpedalling" movement in the bumps easy to see. Amazing how synchronized the movements appeared -- like an undulating wave -- just by one person following another's line.

Thanks to everyone who has participated in something like this -- it was the highlight of the evening.

DEP
post #2 of 23
I've done it about 6 times or so at Bristol. It's not that tricky-you're going pretty slow and the flares throw off plenty of light to see. I've lost track of exactly where I was on the slope (on a run I've skied probably hundreds of times!) but other than that it's easy. Your arms can get tired holding out the flares though.

The person who duct-taped the flares to the poles this year did a lousy job. They taped them too far up on the flares and the tape burned through-I lost my flares about 2/3rds of the way down!
post #3 of 23
Plenty of light to see by if you are in the middle or back of the line. The guy in front is pretty much going on faith.
post #4 of 23
I've done it many times at Jackson Hole. It's an absolute riot. It's at least as much fun for the ones skiing it as it is for the people watching.

You *do* want to remember to wear old clothes. The flares throw off little bits of flaming flare-gunk and can burn holes in your clothes.

In years past, some JH participants have solved that problem by wearing NO clothes. :
post #5 of 23
I skied along with one once and shot it with a betacam at Crested Butte.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
I've done it many times at Jackson Hole. It's an absolute riot. It's at least as much fun for the ones skiing it as it is for the people watching.

You *do* want to remember to wear old clothes. The flares throw off little bits of flaming flare-gunk and can burn holes in your clothes.

In years past, some JH participants have solved that problem by wearing NO clothes. :
FYI, the flares also burn holes in the topskins of your skis.:
post #7 of 23
This year the flares at JH wouldn't stay lit I'm really glad there wasn't an emergency. It's not so hard to ski Apre-Vous, or Apre-Vous in the dark. Try doing it without spilling your drink... Thats hard: I was also dissapointed that I couldn't do it in uniform. I didn't really want to burn holes in my own stuff I guess I could have done it naked.
post #8 of 23
Its a real crowd pleaser when everyone had 4+ beers before skiing down with the torch. :
post #9 of 23
I won't do a torchlight parade again. Something about skiing in a bracing wedge, freezing, surrounded by drunk ski schoolers, holding road flares that burn through everything that just turns me off.
post #10 of 23
Did it once. Basicaly hated it : It was frigging COLD ! But I would do it again...
post #11 of 23
I did them for more than 20 years, but the resorts I've worked at started giving less and less back to the participants despite the entertainment value to their guests. We used to get a dinner before and a party after. Last few years it was for the "fun" of aforementioned freezing and burning of personal property.

Most paraders are sideslipping or using a wedge to control speed and the pace is kept slow. Bumps aren't much of a problem, given the slowness, but the time we had to jump over snowgun hoses was interesting.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
I've done it many times at Jackson Hole. It's an absolute riot. It's at least as much fun for the ones skiing it as it is for the people watching.

You *do* want to remember to wear old clothes. The flares throw off little bits of flaming flare-gunk and can burn holes in your clothes.

In years past, some JH participants have solved that problem by wearing NO clothes. :
When do they do it at Jackson Hole? On New Years? We're going to be at Jackson Hole January 17 - 22. Any special events scheduled?
post #13 of 23
I have done it about 10 times and even got to lead the parade once. It's a blast and no one I know has ever done it completly sober.

RW
post #14 of 23
LOVE THE TORCH!! Definitely never sober, up at Jay we tape the flares onto bamboo, reducing the risk of dripping fire burning holes through clothes and skin (although it happens.) Lately tho they (management) has decided to stop opening up a lift for us so we've had to hike if we want to do one. Used to be much easier when it was just a T-Bar, guess the lift, drunks, and fire are just not a good combination. Anyone who heads up that way, please mention to the folks in charge that you like torch and want to see it come back more often!
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
I never really thought about the combo of lifts, drunks and fire! Could definitely be some yikes moments. Depending on where the sparks go, naturally.

Makes me hope that management throws a really good party/dinner -- some kind of perks -- for participants at Taos.

DEP
post #16 of 23
We don't do it in a wedge. Not super fast, but definitly not slow and not wedging.:
post #17 of 23
I did it at the wood. I think the most difficult part was putting my wet ski boots back on after I had already changed into civilian clothes and chilled out with a few beers.

that sucked.

(but then we had a safety meeting on the chair and all was well...)
post #18 of 23
It was not on New Years eve but I found myself actually leading a torchlight parade down the mountain.
Well, my then club used to organize a week long ski trip in the Dolomites.
It was the 25th or 30th juletide of the club, so the chairman decided that we needed to celebrate it somehow. Since we were on the mountains a torchlight parade ("Fiaccolata" from "Fiaccole"="Torchlights", in Italian) seeemed the rightthing to do. Beside we had already done such a thing some year before. The local ski school used 8and probably still uses) to offer this as a service. In short, a ski teacher meets the people who will take part in the parade at the starting point, usually a mid mountain bar/hut. People while away the time dancing (in ski boots, beleive me) drinking (alas often here that means alcohol laden drinks like Bombardinos, VOV, Punch Gluehvien (Vin Brule')...and chatting until there's enough darkness.
Then the ski teacher explains what has to be done with the torches, how to keep it (so not to have it burn too quickly), what distance must be kept between people etc.
The second time the ski teacher did not show up and, our chairman started to become anxious and asked me to lead down the parade (all people were starting to grumble about missing dinner at he hotel, btw).
Me, being young and foolish (and having carried up the hill, both times, the whole torchlight pack on my shoulder). thought I could do it and set forth to the task.
As said was young and foolish, but I still remembered what instructions the ski teacher had given us in the previous occasion. Besides, one must simply aply skiing common sense and the liuttle knowledge about wind and flames, that's all.
We had nearly reached our destination when finally the ski instrucotr and the SD director showed up in the school snow mobile (dressed up like a locomotive of old, to appeal to the kids, ever seen one?)
Our chairman was severely scolded, oyu know what with all the leagl responsabilities at assorted stuff. After the scolding, the SD asked him to convey his compliments to the guy who so skillfully (WTF?!? I thought at the time) led down the party...
Nowaday I know better...I hope.
post #19 of 23
W e had a parade on Christmas Eve a few years ago. It was for a ski club in Mass. In addition to the usual parade, one of the club members dressed up as Santa and was to ski down after for the kids. Well he was drunk and even though we were on the beginner hill (not our usual venue), all he could manage was a power-wedge. Of course nobody knew this until he came hurtling down the hill, broke the line and had a yardsale at the bottom of the hill taking two instructors down with him. To this day I think it would have been more interesting if one of the flares had lit his costume on fire.
post #20 of 23
I did it once. I think it was at Portillo. We used kerosene. Or was it we were drinking kerosene? It was hard to tell the difference.
post #21 of 23
The slower the better...it looks cooler and you get to enjoy it longer. I love it when it looks like a slow snake coming down.

As anyone who have been to JH recently can tell I took this shot several years ago but maybe Bob is in there....

post #22 of 23
They used to do three a year in Angel Fire, NM... and I was in everyone of them from '95 to '01. It was great. Especially the Christmas Eve one where Santa Clause brought up the end of the line. I think maybe he had been doing a little drinkin'...

Anyway. Booze, Friends, Booze, Fireworks, Friends, Flares, Booze and Booze were the order of the day then. I don't know if they even do them anymore, but back then they were F-U-N. Putting the wet boots back on and skiing in your blue jeans and a ratty old coat (in the dark. Not that we could've seen anything in the daylight either!) didn't seem to bother any of us.

Cheers to all of you who still arc in the dark!

Spag
post #23 of 23
You haven't lived until you do a torchlight parade with a drunk Aussie leading the pack - he gets 200+ instructors lost in the dark, taking us within 5 feet of the unexploded fireworks display, which also happened to be set up in the beginner terrain park. Nothing like skiing in the dark, headphones blaring, mirrored goggles obscuring your vision, fire, jumps, rails, and ropes! :
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