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To parents of young rippers: what do you tell them

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
After my kid learned of our recent loss at Squaw, he confided to me that he had nearly been killed by a slide off Slot last year. He was traversing deep new snow when it ripped out above and below him. It knocked him down and pushed him on his chest, his back bent with skis coming over his head, like body surfing, but very scary if your back should bend too far or your head should be submerged. the slide came to a stop up against a line of trees and kept piling up there until it was 6 ft deep, way deep enough to kill him. a really horrible fall. why? we were skiing together, but he wanted to enter the chute with a littlle air and I wanted to ski in the "normal" way, so we parted ways and lost touch with each other. Had that slide pinned him to the trees, he would have been on his own, and it would have been a terrible mortal battle for him. We have resolved not to break up over line preference, ever again on powder days, but what else can a parent say to their kid? And mostly, we don't ski together anymore, so he has to work it out with his friends. It's not the big avalanche I fear for them, it's those pocket slides, large sluffs, omnipresent on deep days in Tahoe.
post #2 of 14
Perhaps it goes beyond some simple phrases of "stay together"? Perhaps it's time for father and son to do some study on safe bahavior in avalanche zone? Maybe invite his skiing buddies too?

How old are the kids? Kids learn very well when motivated. You maybe surprised how much he can understand and absorb when motivated by experience he doesn't wish to repeat.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post
Perhaps it goes beyond some simple phrases of "stay together"? Perhaps it's time for father and son to do some study on safe bahavior in avalanche zone? Maybe invite his skiing buddies too?

How old are the kids? Kids learn very well when motivated. You maybe surprised how much he can understand and absorb when motivated by experience he doesn't wish to repeat.
he's 16, and going big is absolutely everything, but I think now is the time to talk as he is shaken and ready to re-think things.
post #4 of 14
I'm 16 and when i hear of all these avalanches, im getting pretty freaked out. i have been watching movies with huge pow lines non stop for a while, and it always looks amazing, but hearing about this is opening up my eyes.

basically, if my parents offered for me to take an avi course with friends and all that, buy me gear, i would use it and i wouldnt mind going through the course. but i live in the east avalanches dont happen to often. but if i did live in Jackson Hole, for example, i would love to take courses and practice and get gear, thats what i love about skiing, the risk and the reward
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post
he's 16, and going big is absolutely everything, but I think now is the time to talk as he is shaken and ready to re-think things.
besides getting him a beacon and yourself and having him ski with other people most of the time Id say do nothing.

Locally you have Holiday and Eski who both live for what your son wants to ski and can educate on tactics for the skiing as well the snow safety stuff as well. Maybe you and him can get in a lesson/camp with them.

also I am big proponent of wearing beacons inbounds have been since I saw inbounds stuff go at snowbird 3 years ago. In person its a really scare experience. and you strive to not get caught but if you do at least at the bigger mountain you will found in a quick enough time to have a chance.
post #6 of 14
16 is plenty old enough to actually get seriously educated in avalanche safety. Take a avi course together then.

And pratice beacon search together. More quality time for you to spend with him too.

He'll probably one day (probably pretty soon) go off with his buddies into the side/back country. Better to get fully equiped and trained now before it's needed.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post
16 is plenty old enough to actually get seriously educated in avalanche safety. Take a avi course together then.

And pratice beacon search together. More quality time for you to spend with him too.

He'll probably one day (probably pretty soon) go off with his buddies into the side/back country. Better to get fully equiped and trained now before it's needed.
absolutely right! I read a good avalanche safety book last year, and although I did not always lay out a snowflake on a frozen black board or perform shear tests with a section of the pack, it instilled in me an attitude of seriousness and an awareness of the general dynamics of the snow, both of which help one to keep eyes wide open. thanks for the feedback.

BW thanks for the Bear connection, time for a clinic and the influence of experienced and skilled skiers, real mountain bros.

Dubs, I want to see kids embrace ideals of skiing that involve mountain knowlege (as much as that idea is even possible). I was thinking about the films just the other day: we see only the biggest and the best runs those guys can hit, and the slides and sluffs they handle and survive. It's not reality, it is not even the whole body of work those skiers produce, just the highlights. In fact skiers have to avoid disaster over a lifetime, many runs, feeling great or not so much, perfect conditions as well as crappy or dangerous ones. So, we need to be real, and let those guys create our fantasy world on celluloid.

for example: a concrete rule: hucking big into deep snow, have a buddy at the landing to spot, direct line away from rocks and bombholes, and most important, to dig you out if you auger in headfirst. any other rules for deep days?
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post
absolutely right! I read a good avalanche safety book last year, and although I did not always lay out a snowflake on a frozen black board or perform shear tests with a section of the pack, it instilled in me an attitude of seriousness and an awareness of the general dynamics of the snow, both of which help one to keep eyes wide open.

Dubs, I want to see kids embrace ideals of skiing that involve mountain knowlege (as much as that idea is even possible).
Exactly. Mountain Knowledge. Instill in him that what he is dealing with is serious stuff. Teach how to survive and be safe. Travel in groups and try to keep voice and visual contact. Always scope stuff out. He needs to start paying attention to snow pack development.

A little bit of details with MOUNTAIN KNOWLEDGE will go along way with keeping him safe.

I remember being a teen and I had a stable full of motorcycles at my disposal and going big was the name of the game. If it were not for my dad teaching me his experiences I probably would never have survived.
post #9 of 14
I don't have kids and right now I am glad not to worry about them. My friends do have kids and many of those kids are getting really good and stepping up their skiing. Some of my friends are suprised to discover exactly where their kids have been skiing. Rock Springs, Granite Canyon ect... The fact is that they can't really police them enough to make them stay inbounds. The best thing is to take a class with them and get them gear and practice with them. Also try and find them a peer mentor that they respect, someone cooler than you are. Stephen Koch has been doing avalanche education for kids for several years now. Some of my friends kids have been skiing with Kina Pickett who I hear has been very gracious about mentoring them. The kids are way psyched to ski with a rock star and have gotten great info from him, that they don't absorb as well from someone like me or their parents.
post #10 of 14
Have you taken a look at this film? It shows several avalanches and the last one the guy would be dead if not for abs system.
This video is simply amazing
post #11 of 14
that is one hell of a movie....holy cow..
post #12 of 14
I would tell 'em to have fun.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post
for example: a concrete rule: hucking big into deep snow, have a buddy at the landing to spot, direct line away from rocks and bombholes, and most important, to dig you out if you auger in headfirst. any other rules for deep days?
Dave, good thread and congratulations on the close relationship you share with your son that he looks to you for guidance on these matters, and your mutual respect for ability and desire to get after challenging lines. Something tells me you have a lot you could teach us.

I like the idea of hooking up with Eric, and think he is an excellent pro role model and mentor for you and your son, and a hell of a lot of fun too. Sharing an Avy I course would be right on top of the things to do list. Something on the concrete rules, you already touched on. have a partner and spotter. Something else is to spot your safety zones. Learn to recognize terrain traps and safety zones. Avoid standing where slough or a slab could carry you if a skier following your line breaks something loose.

When skiing side or backcountry lines, plan on stopping and meeting places that avoid anyone being completely out of sight. No one gets left behind or unaccounted for. Assuming someone will show up at the lift is not an option when the potential for injury or tree-well entrapment is in play. Getting way below your group vertically means a tough, time-consuming cllmb to get back to help. This is most important where lines of sight are poor, as in trees or multiple gullies. Especially in groups of more than 4, its very easy to ski down in an undisaplined manner and not realize someone is missing until the bottom.
post #14 of 14
One thing to point out is that he confided in you. This is something that obvious bothers him and not something that he takes lightly. That in itself is a great thing because it reinforces the intrinsic respect for the mountains that we all need.
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