Mike Parris worked as a robotics engineer at Carnegie Mellon in the 90s but always harbored a greater interest in skiing. He eventually moved to Jackson Hole, WY to make handmade skis & snowboards full-time. Igneous skis cost $1600 a pair, but they are beautiful and each pair is made especially for how each person skis.
When I saw the skis in the video, I wondered how a wooden ski would hold up to tough skiing, but it turns out that in addition to the hardwood on the top, Igneous skis use graphite bases, composite fiberglass, and Kevlar as part of the construction.
Skier Candide Thovex goes on another one of his crazy creative ski runs. In this one, he jumps over a helicopter (among other things). I still like his previous video a bit more, although the kids are partial to his Audi commercial, especially the abrupt ending.
Watch as skier Ian McIntosh hits an unexpected trench on one of his first turns down an extremely steep mountain and tumbles 1600 feet in less than a minute. Actually, don't just watch...put your headphones on and listen: McIntosh was mic'd up while falling and you can hear the whole thing. (via devour)
From Nowness, a brief homage to the single chair lift at one of the oddest and most wonderful ski areas in the US, Mad River Glen in Vermont.
You don't have a lot of opportunity in life these days to have 10 or 12 minutes alone. Some people think when they come here and they ride the chair, it's a lonely ride. I never really thought of it that way.
I haven't checked for sure, but Mad River might be the only ski area in the world with a chairlift that has its own beer.
If you've ever noticed most ski trail maps look kinda the same, the reason is many of them have been painted by a single individual: James Niehues.
Each view is hand painted by brush and airbrush using opaque watercolor to capture the detail and variations of nature's beauty. In many instances, distortions are necessary to bring everything into a single view. The trick is to do this without the viewer realizing that anything has been altered from the actual perspective.
People ask me why I ski.1 A: Because sometimes it's as insanely fun as this guy makes it look.
He. Skis. THROUGH THE MOUNTAIN. Also, if you can, pause it right after he jumps off the lift platform...the kid on the lift with his dad is like ( ﾟoﾟ).
No one has ever asked me this. No one ever asks people questions like this. "People ask me..." is a phrase writers use to create a sense of an ongoing story. It's better than "This is a cool video"...you can only use that one so many times. ↩
This is the craziest thing I've ever seen anyone do on skis: Cody Townsend skiing down a super steep face in a space between two rock walls no wider than a supermarket aisle. Powder Magazine called it "The Line of the Year".
They forgot to put "Batshit Crazy" before the word "Line". (via devour)
Under certain warming forecasts, more than half of the 103 ski resorts in the Northeast will not be able to maintain a 100-day season by 2039, according to a study to be published next year by Daniel Scott, director of the Interdisciplinary Center on Climate Change at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.
By then, no ski area in Connecticut or Massachusetts is likely to be economically viable, Mr. Scott said. Only 7 of 18 resorts in New Hampshire and 8 of 14 in Maine will be. New York's 36 ski areas, most of them in the western part of the state, will have shrunk to 9.
Uh oh, this one is going to be a big timesink. Timetub? Timelake? Anyway, try out Solipskier and feel the rest of your day slipping away. My top so far: 18.7 million...I got a lot better once I tried it on the iPad. (via waxy)
"When I planned to ski Everest, the first thing I faced was 'How can I return alive?'" he recalls. "All the preparation and training was based on this question. But the more I prepared, I knew the chance of survival was very slim. Nobody in the world had done this before, so I told myself that I must face death. Otherwise, I am not eligible."
A skier with a video camera on his helmet gets caught in an avalanche and then, four and a half minutes later, gets rescued. The good stuff starts around one minute in.
This was a decent sized avalanche. 1,500 feet the dude fell in a little over 20 seconds. The crown was about 1 - 1.5m. The chute that he got sucked through to the skier's right was flanked on either side by cliff bands that were about 30m tall. He luckily didn't break any bones and obviously didn't hit anything on the run out.
I had always assumed -- and this is likely based almost entirely on an episode of The Simpsons -- that you had options when buried by an avalanche...like digging yourself out or at least being able to move. Not so says the Utah Avalanche Center FAQ:
It doesn't matter which way is up. You can't dig yourself out of avalanche debris. It's like you are buried in concrete. Your friends must dig you out.
The FAQ contains a story by the director of the UAC about surviving an avalanche of his own; he confirms the concrete-like hardness of post-avalanche snow.
But after a long while, after I was about to pass out from lack of air, the avalanche began to slow down and the tumbling finally stopped. I was on the surface and I could breathe again. But as I bobbed along on the soft, moving blanket of snow, which had slowed from about 50 miles per hour to around 30, I discovered that my body was quite a bit denser than avalanche debris and it tended to sink if it wasn't swimming hard. [...] Eventually, the swimming worked, and when the avalanche finally came to a stop I found myself buried only to my waist, breathing hard, very wet and very cold.
I remembered from the avalanche books that debris instantly sets up like concrete as soon as it comes to a stop but its one of those facts that you don't entirely believe. But sure enough, everything below the snow surface was like a body cast. Barehanded, (the first thing an avalanche does is rip off your hat and mittens) I chipped away at the rock-hard snow with my shovel for a good 5 minutes before I could finally work my legs free.
Burton is offering a $5000 prize for the best snowboarding video taken at one of the three remaining US ski areas (Alta, Taos, Deer Valley, Mad River Glen) that don't allow snowboarding. The intro video is the perfect explanation for why these four areas don't allow snowboards.
The NY Times covers Mad River Glen, a quirky ski area in Vermont that has the only operating single-seat chair lift in the country, doesn't allow snowboarders, and doesn't groom (that often) or make (that much) snow. "Occasionally, snowboarders will hike to the top from a nearby road and ride down. If they tackle the tough terrain with crisp, accomplished turns, the Mad River Glen regulars will loudly applaud at the bottom. If the boarders aren't very good, the abuse is just as loud. People will come out hooting and hollering from the lodge." I've skiied there a few times; here's some photos of the mountain and some videos I took. (thx, tien)
Since I've been skiing a little bit recently (for the first time in years), I decided to check out what was happening online in the skiing world. Specifically I wondered if there were any ski blogs out there and if the many ski magazines offer online archives of their content.
Most of the skiing blogs I found focus on their respective author's adventures on the slopes. If someone wanted to start a skiing meta-blog (blogging not just skiing adventures but other skiing-related topics and pointing to other people's adventures), would there be enough good information out there to point to? The magazine racks of ski country convenience stores are filled with all kinds of periodicals about skiing...how much of that content is online? From what I can tell, the skiing magazines do offer content on their sites, but not necessarily from the pages of their print magazines. Both SKI Magazine and Skiing Magazine have archived print articles on their sites, but only from June 2005 and earlier. Both have other resources like forums, skiing news, resort details, videos, and online-only features. Neither site is organized particularly well for quick information perusal and retrieval. Skipressworld offers PDF versions of their entire print magazine online, including the current issue. Powder magazine has some online archives as well as online-only features like videos and message boards.
Over the holidays, Meg and I went up to Vermont skiing. I skied quite a bit when I was in middle/high school (on the small hills of northwestern WI and east central MN), but I'd only strapped on the boards a couple times since graduating from college. Meg's family has skied at Mad River Glen for years, so that's where we went. After three straight days of hitting the slopes, my back got a little wonky, so on the 4th day I brought the camera along to document a run down the mountain:
There are a few photos of Waitsfield (the town closest to Mad River) and the surrouding area at the beginning of the set, but most are from the mountain, including some of the best winter views I've ever witnessed. The snow covering the trees, the fog at the top of the hill...it looked almost magical. At one point, I was alone on the mountain with my camera, engulfed in fog, no one within 200 yards. With no wind and all the snow & fog muffling the sound, when I stopped breathing, I couldn't hear anything at all.