Thursday, October 10, 2013

Day 193: This Might Be Why I Stopped Skiing

Unlike most kids these days, I didn't start skiing the moment I could stand upright. It was probably more like 5th or 6th grade. But once I started, I really fell in love with it. And like with any other sport I attempt, I was just ok at it... never really wanting to progress much past the blue square intermediate trails. You could call me a lazy skier because I definitely was never interested in actually challenging myself on the mountain. I'll take a long, windy cruising trail any day.

As I got older, things happened that made me start to really hate skiing. I had equipment problems that made trips to the slopes painful. Then there was the thought of someone hurtling uncontrollably down the mountain that set me on edge constantly. After witnessing the degradation of skiing etiquette, I lost my faith in the people around me and their ability to not run me over. And skiing while wrapped in layers of bubble wrap probably wouldn't be a good idea.

So a few years ago I decided to just give it up all together and maybe find a new winter sport to get me out in the fresh air. What I really miss about skiing is not lugging gear to a mountain, putting on eighteen layers of clothing, hiking up to the chairlift and then having all your sweaty under layers freeze solid the minute the chair embarks on its trip to the top. I don't miss that at all. I miss the apres ski. I miss going in for lunch and never going back out. I miss big fat Bag burgers and ice cold beers all afternoon.

I know we live in the east where the mountains are tiny compared to other parts of the world and we don't often have to worry about avalanches. But it could happen, right? I recently came across the story of freeskier Aymar Navarro who triggered an avalanche during a film shoot in the Spanish Pyrenees. The sliding sheet of snow was so massive that the skier was actually floating on top of it for a while before he fell and was swept under the rapidly moving sheet.

But guess what? He survived. Navarro was wearing an avalanche ABS airbag which is designed to inflate when activated and keep victims from being buried too deeply. The airbags don't guarantee survival but they give a crazy skier a fighting chance. Take a look at the video...

Or maybe this is the reason I quit skiing. Just the thought of getting caught in that shit makes me instantly claustrophobic. Yikes.

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