In a comment a long time back, reader “Xer” mentioned that listing a few myths might be fun. Here we go. Not exactly “urban.” Perhaps X-urban is a better term. Please contribute more in the comments and I’ll add them in.
Myth: After an avalanche, the deposition snow immediately hardens like concrete.
Truth: The snow will become denser, but soon after the slide it’s still possible to shovel without needing more umph than current specialized rescue shovels provide. A few days later, yes Virginia, you might need a backhoe.
Myth: “Lighter” skis always ski more poorly than heavier skis.
Truth: Making skis that ski well is about much more than making them heavier, but making light skis ski well can a difficult engineering challenge. And don’t diss plastic, your last commercial jet flight might have been inside a 5.77 meter diameter plastic tube. Be sure to call it “composite” so you’ll feel more comfortable sitting there 30,000 feet above solid ground. Wiki dishes the goods.
Myth: One click on the Dynafit (or any “clicking” classic tech binding) toe lock means “partially” locked.
Truth: The clicks are there only to compensate for variations in binding and boot tolerances, they have nothing to do with release or retention calibration. In fact, by fooling yourself with this, you could mistakenly avoid tuning your binding retention values correctly.
Myth: Helmets have reduced the overall skiing fatality rate.
Truth: No statistical evidence of that. But helmets clearly have reduced severity of head injuries, which is only logical. There are no sensible explanations I can find regarding why the extensive use of helmets has not resulted in obviously lower fatality rates, perhaps because head injury fatalities were never a significant factor (injuries and medical events not involving head blows make up the cause of most fatalities, which occur at the rate of about one per million skier visits, for a variety of reasons of which head injuries is a subset), so mitigating a few fatalities doesn’t have enough statistical power to show in the numbers? Takeaway is that helmets do protect your head more than wearing a ski cap, but they’re not bullet proof. In my view they over promise and under deliver.
Myth: Tech bindings may result in death or disfigurement if used as resort alpine bindings.
Truth: No evidence of that either, though anecdotal accounts of broken legs and accidental releases make us think it’s still unwise to use touring bindings as resort bindings. This issue is of course nuanced by situations such as lift accessed touring — it’s not binary.
Myth: The Haute Route is to European ski touring what The Grenadines are to sailing.
Reality: No, it is not. Dozens of other hut supported ski tour routes in Europe can provide equal or superior experiences.
Myth: Fritz Barthel has moved to Silicon Valley.
Truth: He’s in Seattle, working for Amazon’s ski touring binding division.
Myth: Plum bindings are all metal.
Truth: The heel unit housing is a high density plastic, just as are most other classic tech bindings.
Myth: Ski bases must be covered with “storage” wax during non skiing months.
Truth: Keep them out of the sun, other than that the polyethline used is inert for all practical purposes and certiainly isn’t going to react to the air in your closet. However, if your livelyhood depends on gaining three hundredths of a second in a World Cup downhill course, by all means wax away. Excellent “how it is made” here.
Myth: Marker Kingpin bindings are an alpine binding.
Truth: Sorry, they’re not. Any binding that releases to the side at the heel is by definition not as resistant to accidental release when skied at “normal” retention settings. This simply due to the physics of skiing.
Myth: The word “safety” or “safe” is a DIN/ISO standard, when you see this printed on a binding box it is incredibly meaningful.
—- Anyone know the answer?
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.