(This post sponsored by our publishing partner Cripple Creek Backcountry.)
Austrian ski touring news is always a good stop on the web train. Look for their issues with resort uphilling to increase stateside, and check out these safety statistics. Enlightening. From the Bergsteigen article: “…ski resorts are realizing that there are two products to market, the lift ride and the slope…but two separate offers.” When you use cold logic on this, the reality becomes apparent. When you uphill a resort you are using their vegetation clearing and snow farming services, not to mention depending (during operating hours) on their paid ski safety people to help if needed. Money talks. Look for more resorts to charge a fee for using their slopes — even if you do not ride their cable. (Google translate works fairly well on these pages.)
Apparently at least one resort in Austria has the clever idea of including a single lift ride in their uphilling fee. In some situations that might be smart, perhaps when you’re luring customers to a mountain-top restaurant, and you want to avoid losing potential diners after they’ve done a lap and don’t fancy a repeat. Or how about a day of uphilling, and a bit of lift riding? I do that occasionally, fun.
The new year is certainly upon us here in Colorado, only it’s not as “upon us” as usual — a mostly statewide drought that extends westward into Utah and Nevada is alarming everyone from skiers to farmers. We recently returned from visiting the PNW, where lack of snow only seems to occur when too much moisture in the form of rain melts the snowpack. But it’s usually quite thick up there in the wet and scrappy, apparently so much so that NASA is recruiting “citizen scientists” to record backcountry depth measurements. That sounds interesting, though I wasn’t aware that anyone could be a scientist. Are these not lab assistants?
The Popular Mechanics website linked above is interesting in many ways, not the least of which is issues of site design. Recent emphasis on new browser versions with native ad blocking, as well as Google talking about down-ranking search results for slow sites, are factors clearly having an effect on website design. I’m recently noting a marked upsurge in well designed “clean” sites with “polite” advertising. We aspire to that though I don’t pretend to be a master, check out the following for perhaps better examples (they’re nice on both mobile and desktop). Krebs On Security provides a good reading experience, and though Bloomberg has about 25 ads on their homepage according to my browser (!) their revenue generating component seems to be unobtrusive. Dig into Bloomberg for a read of something like this piece on electric car batteries, things continue to be clean and readable.
Those of you who don’t prefer seeing a few advertising banners on WildSnow, please be considerate of the fact that instead of a half dozen we could imitate Bloomberg and go for 25!
Bloomberg article linked above, detailing issues with the mineral Cobalt, is fascinating. It perhaps disabuses one of the notion that electric cars will save the world any time soon. I couldn’t help by compare that photo of an “artisanal” (kind word) cobalt miner in the Congo to that of a well paid oil worker in Canada or the U.S., I’d prefer to picture the latter as I drive rather than some poor exploited soul entering a toxic cave — but I’ll admit to being obsessed with electrifying our transportation and of course I see the benefits. Bloomberg predicts that demand for cobalt will drop off eventually, due to factors such as recycling and alternative battery designs.
Back to our WildSnow website designs — improving is a never ending project. Recent changes mostly involve trimming our loading speed, but we also devote hours to how our advertising is presented. End goal being a website that’s fast loading and relatively easy to read, while giving a nod to revenue. For now we’ll stick with the 3 column desktop design and 2 column for mobile, when summer rolls around I’ll probably try other themes. We did that last summer, but fell back to tweaking our existing custom theme as it’s super secure and efficient, albeit not winning any design prizes.
Geo engineering is in the news again (does it ever go away?). My prediction, despite the nearly rabid disaffection you get with the concept amongst certain demographics, we are engineering our way into global warming, and we need to engineer our way out. At the least, how about treating some of the symptoms? Check out this idea.
Amusing watching the takeover of resort skiing by the ubiquitous uphillers. This guy came all the way from the UK to experience the amazing east face “wall of pain” on Buttermilk Mountain.
We’re loving all the skimo races held from east coast to the west. Nice article about what they do on the Thunderbolt trail, a wonderful meleforus melee? As every race should be! More here on World Cup level racing that’s coming on strong.
But Google just doesn’t understand. Or does it? Go to Goog’s news concatenator, use keywords “ski mountaineering,” you’ll notice an impressive indexing of skimo races and related news, but where is the ski mountaineering news — as in climbing wild mountains and skiing down? Shucks, as with our skiing terminology such as “extreme skiing” we’ve had another phrase co-opted.
Ski touring, the best sport on the planet. Nice writing about that, here.
Lastly, in our B-to-B department: Dan Green, who has worked at Arc’teryx for 17 years, has been promoted to VP of Design. If you love your rucksack, now you have a name to associate.
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.