Depending on where you fall on the fat/floppy ski spectrum, you could maybe call this a troll. It's not really meant to be, however.
As a good share of you already know, I live in Jackson Hole. What may not be quite as well known is that JH is "home" for what I would estimate to be a very high percentage of the people who guide helicopter skiing in Alaska. I literally know dozens of people who guide during some or all of the heli season in Alaska.
Many of those guides are now filtering back into Jackson as the season comes to a close up there. I've had conversations with two different guides in the last three days that centered on anecdotal speculation that they might be experiencing more injuries up there than in years past. One possible explanation is that this is the first season where rockered/reverse-cambered/super-fat skis (in all their various permutations) have become almost ubiquitous among their skiing clients.
Here's the theory...
Noboby questions that these new designs make powder skiing easier. One side benefit(?) is that it then becomes easier to go faster. As long as the snow conditions are relatively good and fairly consistent, everybody's happy with this new paradigm.
Where the problem might be appearing is when someone on the huge skis is blasting down some big face at a very high rate of speed and suddenly comes to a place where the snow is wind-hammered or slabbed up or whatever. The edge pressure and weight distribution that skier is using suddenly doesn't work and the skier is thrown out of balance at a very high rate of speed. Sometimes, the end result is a very fast, cartwheeling crash on a high-angle slope.
One extension of the theory is that the more traditional ski designs of the past may have kept peoples' speeds in a somewhat lower range. Also, if a ski's front section is down *in* the snow it MAY be giving constant, subtle feedback on what snow conditions are coming... thereby giving the rider a fraction of a second to adjust when conditions change for the worse.
Apparently, they feel like maybe they've had more pretty spectacular falls and more acl/broken-leg/dislocated-shoulder injuries than they "normally" would. It's entirely possible that there is no statistically different injury rate this winter and even if there is it could be for all sorts of other reasons.
So, this is totally anecdotal and is obviously only speculation, but I think it's an interesting subject. (Much more interesting than helmets)
What do you think?
Edited by Bob Peters - 4/23/2009 at 05:53 pm GMT