PRAISE FOR PRO DEALS
I just wanted to thank you guys for the great work you've
done in securing our pro deals. I was able to purchase a
great pair of 22 Designs AXL bindings and a new pair of
Blizzard Bushwackers this fall. Both companies were great
to work with and a few hundred bucks in savings will go a
long way in this tough economy. Thanks again!
Level III Alpine, Telemark Instructor
dangerously cold. Even a cold-water wetsuit and a PFD
might not be enough for the conditions in that photo.
There is also no mention of the nautical rules of
the road. Some users of human-propelled watercraft do
incredibly stupid and dangerous things, either through
ignorance or arrogance, but I’ve seen SUPers raise that to
a whole new level. All users of our waterways need to be
aware of the rules and risks of such use.
Level III Alpine Instructor
Okemo Mountain, VT
PFD WAS MIA
I’ve been teaching skiing full-time for 30 years, and for
45 years have taught sailing and boating. In all of these
activities, safety is everything. As paddle surfers take to my
local waters, I’ve noticed that the overwhelming majority
do not wear any type of personal flotation device (PFD).
Charlie MacArthur’s Fall 2011 article on stand-up
paddling (SUP) mentions the need for a life vest, but the
photo that accompanies the article shows the paddler
without any type of PFD. One can easily conclude from
the snowy scene in the photo that the water is cold . . .
Bill, thanks for your comments. We received SUP photos from
Charlie MacArthur that showed the use of PDFs, but chose the
snowy valley shot for publication. Charlie informs us the pond
pictured was just 2 feet deep and 10 feet wide and that the shot
was taken during a nordic photo shoot, which is why he is wearing
nordic ski clothes. We recognize that the photo, while dramatic,
did not convey a focus on proper safety equipment. Our apologies.
Charlie tells us that in moving and whitewater rivers, where
he does the bulk of his paddling and teaching, “we ALWAYS
wear a PFD.” In ocean surf zones, he adds, SUPers might
forego a PDF in favor of a leash connected to their floaty boards,
but that, away from surf zones, inflatable vests are gaining
popularity among the SUP community. He concurs with your
advice that stand-up paddlers need to know and heed nautical
rules of the road. —Eds.
change direction while airborne, then skid
until they reach the speed and direction
they want, at last to briefly carve to save
momentum. Recreational skiers couldn’t
care less about speeding a few tenths
of a second faster and, thus, pivot on
mostly flat skis, happy as larks! Although
sideslipping is a dirty word, just try skiing
without it. Imagine the carnage if your
car were preset for single-radius turns.
As Einstein said, “It is harder to crack a
prejudice than an atom,” so I often battle
to calm the craze to carve and to prevent
students from mistaking the gas pedal of
carving for the brake of sideslipping.
If fear is the stick, the carrot of
elation is a more elusive matter.
Snow is a scourge as old as mankind.
Remember the Donner Party?! Moreover,
falling from towering peaks instills fear!
So why go skiing?
I observe that once a sideslip has
disposed of the fear of freefalling, relying
upon frail human balance, weighing
friction against gravity gives us leverage
over universal forces. Such powers
Tipping into the fall line, the alien force
of gravity oozes into our guts, swells
through our flesh, stretches along our
limbs, and off we soar. Surfing gravity,
we slip away from gravity’s bonds, escape
from our plodding condition, and glide
through space. Our command of gravity
and friction yields a feeling of elation.
Those who run snowsport schools
wrack their minds to sell the fun
of skiing. They develop socializing,
services, spas, and bars. Today, going
back to the original nature of skiing might
boost business. It requires acknowledging
gravity’s essential contribution to skiing
and providing the brake to control it. That
is setting sideslipping at the core of our
teaching. Aren’t skidding roostertails
Alain Bertrand is a Level III-certified alpine
instructor who teaches in PSIA-AASI’s
Western Division— unless he’s spending time
in Chamonix, France.
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