How about we begin with a Colorado corn report from yesterday. We headed up to the Elk Mountains to see what the snowpack is doing. Conditions are still transitional, with a somewhat compacted situation on southerly exposures at and below timber, with everything else presenting the usual breakable crust that April tends to bring us when sunny days have been few. Fun no matter what:
|Dave does duty as a ski model. As he discovered, we’re loaded up with snow and ready for spring skiing.|
|Brandt is visiting from the Front Range. It was windy today, so he felt at home. Good free heeler.|
|Dave taught us that breakable crust can be good for carving. That is, if you’re on Marker Dukes, with BD Method boots, driving a huge pair of Kastle skis. I was on my K2 Baker SLs and they worked okay, though it took me a few turns to adjust.|
|Chad enjoyed it as well, though he agreed that today, one lap was enough.|
This winter’s spate of cliff hucking skier deaths has inspired quite a bit of interesting dialog. As part of the community, we had to tread lightly when publishing our blogs about the subject, but a couple of news columnists were not so diplomatic. Check out Paul Andersen’s op-ed from the Aspen Times, excerpt follows:
…How can we cheer at images of these young, talented athletes as they risk their lives for a moment of rapture? What is the role of parents, siblings, friends, sponsors, fans and commercial interests? And how are we, as a community, supposed to mourn their injuries and deaths when the ski culture promotes risk so profitably and enthusiastically?
If this trend represents a new social revolution, then it is being acted out with revolutions in the air on skis, snowboards, snowmobiles and motorcycles. This revolution might be valid for those living it, but not if deaths and injuries are tradeoffs for commercial gain.
“He died doing what he loved” is an unacceptable epitaph. It is time to re-evaluate the direction of the ski industry, and soon, before more deaths and injuries shock this community into the grim awareness that the cost of selling risk is way too high.
— Paul Andersen
Speaking of mainstream media and their take, have you noticed how the Fourth Estate has glommed on to the possibility that certain plastic water bottles may ruin your life because they release a chemical into your beverage? It’s always funny to see the hysteria when some possibly trace chemical is discovered, which we might be consuming, and just might cause issues. While meanwhile just about everything we eat or breath has all sorts of toxins that are proven to be deleterious given the proper quantities.
And therein lies the rub. Just about anything can harm us given we consume enough — conversely, you can swallow or breath some of the most deadly poisons known to man so long as the quantities are small.
Bottom line on the plastic water bottle question is that some types of plastic, notably polycarbonate (Lexan), are the ones that might be problematic — especially when filled with hot water that leeches the toxin more readily. Other types of plastic, most notably the HDPE used in the less sexy “cloudy” and more flexible Nalgene bottles, do NOT release the substance, bisphenol A, that is causing the controversy.
I’ve always liked my more flexible and lighter weight HDPE plastic water bottles from Nalgene, as opposed to the Lexan ones. Perhaps I’ve got another reason not to switch. Article here.
One more thing: If you can get to Aspen this coming weekend remember that Highlands ski area will be open for this coming weekend, and the weekend after that as well. The backcountry terrain you can get off Highlands is some of the biggest in the country. It’s so vast that it’s hard to even document or write about, though perhaps we’ll try.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.