Backcountry Ski Touring News Roundup — Barack “Denali” Obama and Beatles Ski


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | September 2, 2015      
Beatles skiing in Europe.

Beatles skiing in Europe. Image used by permission of Obertauern Tourism and Maro Partner Public Relations, used as they specify: by the media and by journalists. Click to enlarge.

Photoshop didn’t exist in 1965. It must be real. The Beatles went skiing! Apologies to fans. I listened to quite a bit of Fab-4 music but didn’t catch much in the way of Beatles visuals. Too busy tromping around the mountains myself. Apparently the boys filmed ski scenes for their 1965 movie “Help!” in the Austrian ski resort of Obertauern. At that time they also did the short promotional cut for their song “Ticket to Ride.”

We know skiing is the best thing on then planet. More, if you enjoy any Beatles history you know they got their mojo by playing endless hours in Germany. So the European connection is alive, and if the Beatles had not skied that would have been downright weird. More, it’s possible they even walked up the hill, so they ski toured!

We’d prefer to call the highest mountain in North America ‘Denali.’ It is not out of peer pressure or political correctness, but simply because the Athabascan word (translation: ‘tall thing’) simply seems more core than the name of a past president (however deserving). So we’re delighted that President Obama used his power to get the job done. More about the Athabascan translation here.

On the other hand, we are thinking individuals and trend to thought experiments. For starters, is there a Mount Obama anywhere yet? Check it out here, used to be “Boggy Peak” on the island of Antigua. According to Wiki, Antiqua is known as something like Waladli by the region’s indigenous people. I could not find the indigenous name for “Boggy Peak,” but perhaps they’ll name it back to that in a hundred years or so like Obama did to President Mack?

Another thing to keep in mind regarding the desire to go back to naming things their “original” is how do you pick which language? Presently there are 13 recognized Alaskan tribal entities, apparently many if not most of them have entirely different native tongues. One has to ask, what other names for “Denali” could Obama have picked from if he wanted to be 100% PC? It took me all of two minutes to find a few other Alaskan indigenous names Obama could have used. For example, Wiki says “the Dena’ina people used the name Dghelay Ka’a, anglicized as Doleika or Traleika.”

Or should we start using a variety of names for any one geographical entity? Doing so is not unusual. In Northern Italy, for example, most maps show both and Italian and a German names for cities and such. Perhaps Denali should be McKinley-Denali-Traleika.

I ran accross this article about changes in land use at Eldora ski area near Boulder, Colorado. Eldora is infamous for not allowing uphilling and can do so because the resort is on private land. I was hoping this indicated the owners might be more open to human powered skiing in the form of uphilling ski slopes, but apparently not. Clyde?

From Utah, this item just gets a big question mark. Some of you might remember when in 1998 a helicopter crashed during a rescue in the Utah Wasatch. Victim Dave Anderson’s wife had finally become comfortable with doing memorial markers. She put them in her car, then some skel came along and stole the Subaru and the stones! We pray Melinda gets everything back. I can’t imagine how harsh this must be. Article here.

Our old friend (and actually a former WildSnow intern from years back) Mark Synnott wrote a compelling profile of photographer Jimmy Chin. Both guys are nothing less than penultimate mountain boys. Fun to read one writing about the other. Go Mark and go Jimmy and go Kit. Check it here.

Back to news down under. The explosive growth of ski touring is hitting everyone. As is common in North America, some resort operators in New Zealand are having trouble figuring out how to deal with unruly “skinners.” It all comes to a head when dangerous grooming equipment is operating where people want to ski, or resort managers need to close access during construction projects and that sort of thing. More here.

Lastly, it looks like I’m again on tap for a huge winter of ski journalism travel. How to know? We’ve got a full raft of site sponsors again. They expect us to get on the case! Press trips will bring you guys the latest news on gear. ISPO delivers the European ski culture flavor. My goal: balance the hype with peaceful moments in the mountains as we go there and receive their good tidings. The sifting of a golden aspen leaf. Firewood gathering. First snow. Crackling wood fire and a warm wine. Friends sharing the meaning of life. Clicking ski bindings under a cold December sky. Soon.



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Comments

26 Responses to “Backcountry Ski Touring News Roundup — Barack “Denali” Obama and Beatles Ski”

  1. ptor September 2nd, 2015 12:37 pm

    Here’s some more evidence of the greatest Beatle being normal…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xf76s5NSjAk

  2. Clyde Soles September 2nd, 2015 2:18 pm

    Eldora will allow uphilling the same year they reinstall night skiing…and the wind stops blowing.

  3. Lou Dawson 2 September 2nd, 2015 2:34 pm

    What is Eldora’s problem?

  4. Lou Dawson 2 September 2nd, 2015 4:16 pm

    Ptor, he looks a bit gripped there… but so have we all?

  5. swissiphic September 2nd, 2015 6:25 pm

    NEWS FLASH from terrace b.c.: An unusually early mutliday cold storm brought snow to the region with snowpack development in alpine and fingers of white poking down below treeline. Settled H.S. today reported to be between 30-40cms of coastal powder. 😉 on north facing alpine glacier between 6500 and 5000 feet asl; a bit of regional variability; further north reported HS of 40-50cms with 200 cm drifts!. Skiing was said to be fantastic in moist snow that was right side up basted with 10cms of overnight cool freshies. Total skiing vertical was about 2000 feet; some traversing required to link smooth rock free ice… Tis a september to remember…we do get the early september higher alpine dustings but in recent history, never this type of multiday storm with decent snowpack development…locals are stoked…we realize it ain’t gonna last but the window was there for those who like chasing snow…

  6. Lou Dawson 2 September 2nd, 2015 7:19 pm

    Swissi, wow.

  7. ptor September 3rd, 2015 1:50 am

    He looks just like a modern freerider in his gorilla stance but with way nicer clothing 😉 Judging by the snow stuck to his bases, I’d be gripped too if I was using his wax that day.

  8. swissiphic September 3rd, 2015 11:04 am

    lol, the gorilla stance! funny how the “modern freerider” guys think my style is unique ’cause I ski in an upright stance! keep the gorillas in the jungle is what I say!

  9. Sev September 3rd, 2015 3:01 pm

    First off: I really like what you do with wildsnow, please keep up the good work!

    It pains me to admit that I am a user with activated ad blocker. I tried to turn it off when I first saw your message prompting me to do so since I would gladly support you with some ad impressions…
    But I’m leaving it on in the future… Why? Because there are waaaaaaaaay too many ads on the page: there is a big one in the header, 4 smaller ones below the navigation and a whopping 8 more in the sidebar, some of them even duplicates. This is just too much!
    If you would reduce the amount of ads to either just the one in the header, or the 4 below the navigation or 2-3 in the sidebar then I would have no problem with turning off the ad blocker…

  10. Lou Dawson 2 September 3rd, 2015 4:05 pm

    Sev, apologies for the duplicate ads, am working on that, it’s all a challenge as it’s run through Google and they don’t make it easy.

    None of the ads get in the way of the text, I think so long as we do that we should be able to put as many up as we want. What really is the problem? Are they that obnoxious and prevent you from reading the content? None are animated, none pop up, none fly out. We take a hit financially to not have obnoxious ads, have to run a few extra to compensate.

    How about fewer ads, but we run pop-ups and fly outs? I think not. We’ll stick with the nice static ads so long as our advertisers support that. Indeed, for that alone they deserve to be seen!

    Would appreciate more explanation of why running as many ads as we desire in the sidebar and header is such a problem. I’ll listen.

    One other thing. Perhaps you don’t realize it because you’ve been blocking ads, but we are actually running fewer since we got rid of our 4-column design a few years ago. At that time I’ll admit our design was rather jumbled up. My mistake, but it is fixed.

    Thanks, Lou

  11. biggb September 3rd, 2015 4:59 pm

    Lou, As an IT professional this topic of ads and adblockers is important to me. I try to run very tight browser security because, as you know, the mostly likely place for a computer to be infiltrated with malware is thru bad adverts (malvertising). I also want you and your site to flourish and ads are important for that to happen.

    I just installed a new browser extension called uBlock Origin and for the first time saw your “We’ve noticed you installed an adblocker” landing page.

    A couple of things:

    1) I’d love to know when / how you made that change.

    2) I think you should take the time to explain to your audience why ads are critical to WildSnow, how blocking them hurts WildSnow, how WildSnow actually make $$$ on those ads, what steps you take to minimize ad inconvenience and / or potential malvertising.

    Knowing is half the battle and i’m sure most people reading WildSnow want to allow you to succeed while still protect our own digital domains. You are obviously a tech savvy guy and (though not snow related) would like to know your thoughts on how WildSnow users can best straddle that line. Thanks.

  12. Lou Dawson 2 September 3rd, 2015 5:29 pm

    Hi Bigb, that’s super thoughtful of you.

    Let me begin by thanking those of you who view our advertising, which is the vast majority of you guys. We work full time on WildSnow, and our only source of revenue from the website is the advertising, and we only get paid if you see the ads. Indeed, you can feel extra magnanimous in that by viewing our advertising, you are keeping WildSnow going for guys who chose to use an ad blocker and not view the ads. So Bigb owes you (grin).

    Bigb, I’m an IT professional myself, though I’ve divested myself of most clients and just work on my own projects… As for malvertising, all our ads are served through Google Double Click, and all are vetted by them and us. I doubt there is any danger of malvertising with our ads. There is (near) ZERO danger for the direct purchase ads, which is all the ski companies, and there is (near) ZERO danger with our affiliate advertising (mostly Backcountry.com). Also, I don’t know if anyone noticed but we went to the expense and effort to become an SSL website (note HTTPS domain name prefix), which I understand has some safety ramifications as well.

    As for how we make our living, it’s pretty simple. With most ads, If you see an ad, we get paid a certain amount, known in the industry as “cost per impression” abbreviated as CPM, meaning cost per thousand (M meaning 1,000). If you don’t see the ad, we don’t get paid.

    We also have what are called “affiliate” ads, for example the Backcountry.com banners etc. Those only make us revenue when you buy something through them.

    Lastly, we sometimes fill unused spaces with ads from a Google network called “Adsense.” That’s where the weird T-shirt ads and stuff come from. We seek to minimize that, and might cut it out altogether.

    As for our business model, what all you guys should know is that Lisa and I work our tails off on all this, full time. We also pay for a web server, and we hire consultants on occasion to help with things. Much of the year I spend 10 hours a day or so in the office doing everything from server management, defense against hack attacks, managing the discussion threads — and perhaps writing a blog post or two. Then there is the traveling. I make it sound exotic and fun, and it is that, but it’s also sometimes brutal and simply work like anything else a publisher/journalist/writer does.

    I guess my point is that if WildSnow.com is of any value to you guys, we simply can not do it without being paid, and the only way I can figure out to get paid is by the good graces of industry folks who are willing to buy advertising – and by you guys viewing the advertising so we are compensated financially.

    Thus, if you block our advertising you are making everyone else who is seeing the ads pay for your use of Wildsnow.com. Instead, how about just letting those ads show and keep things moving along?

    Back to security. I’ve got a lot of experience with internet security, and can honestly say that any risk from our advertising, provided you are running a current browser and antivirus software, is near ZERO. Again, it all runs through Google for starters, and the vast majority is super basic. What is more, with the type of ads we display you would have to click on one to receive any Malware on the linked website. Very few people click on our ads, and doing so is not necessary for our revenue. If you are ultra careful just keep your anti-virus software up to date, run the latest version browser, and don’t click on the ads.

    More on malvertising. Truly, I think the whole concept of malvertising is blown way out of proportion. I’ve been intensely web surfing since the public internet became the public internet. I can count on one hand and subtract 3 for the number of times my landing on a website has triggered my security software — and I did not get there through an ad on a website. In other words, I’m a guinea pig who’s been clicking on websites for what, more than a quarter century, and I’ve never gotten a virus or other exploit from an advertisement on a website.

    My advice to all of you, be afraid, very afraid: of phishing attacks and social engineering designed to get your bank passwords and such. Be afraid of hacks on big companies that steal your personal data. Be afraid of sharing SD cards that could pass a virus from one computer to another. Be afraid of USB sticks. Be afraid of someone stealing your phone or computer and accessing your personal data. But don’t worry about the advertising on WildSnow.com. Least of your problems. Ranks about as high as some dust on your car windshield.

  13. Lou Dawson 2 September 3rd, 2015 5:35 pm

    P.S., Bob, about the change, its just a WordPress plugin that detects ad blockers and shows a message. Took quite a bit of time to go through three or four of such plugins, find the one that worked, and set it up. I did it as an experiment, to see how many of you were depending on other folks to support WildSnow so you can look at it without seeing the ads (grin).

    Am not sure where I’ll go with it. Good example of the back-end work I spend literally hundreds of hours on.

    Lou

  14. Lou Dawson 2 September 3rd, 2015 5:43 pm

    I should also mention ad “inconvenience.” I don’t know if any of you guys notice, but we don’t have pop ups, we don’t have fly outs, we don’t have “site takeovers.” Our gracious advertisers allow us to run a very benign banner system, just sidebar and the leader boards, usually with banners that don’t even animate.

    Truly, I’ve worked like a dog to redesign our site to be fair to both advertisers and readers, by keeping things on a grid/sidebar system.

    We could have fewer ads and I could charge more if they were flashing, dancing, popping up all over the place and taking over your screen. But that won’t be happening. To thank our advertisers for allowing us to be mellow, just let their ads display. That’s all we ask…

    This might all be a bit too “B to B” and only involves a small percentage of our readers. I’d suggest anyone who want to discuss the business side of WildSnow, please contact me using the “Contact” option in our nav menus, and we can discuss via email or even a phone convo.

    Thanks, Lou

  15. Fan September 3rd, 2015 6:20 pm

    I love wildsnow and know how hard you guys work. Thanks for bringing up the point that people blocking ads are expecting the rest of us to pay for their use of wildsnow. Is that fair? I don’t mind the ads, in fact I use them as a resource to click to my favorite companies! Keep up the good work Lou and Lisa!

  16. biggb September 3rd, 2015 10:58 pm

    Thanks for the reply Lou. I like to hear your side of this issue. I didn’t know you were an IT professional in the past … it’s a great gig for outdoor recreational freedom.

    I do (and recommend that other WildSnow users) use adblocking software (uBlock Origins, Privacy Badger, Disconnect, AdBlock) AND THEN be sure to tune that software to “whitelist” wildsnow.com and other websites you like and want to support. We (internet users) need to reward responsible advertising … and punish the rest. It’s really easy to do … so do it. If you need tech support i’m sure Lou would be happy to help you out.

    Lou, I would take some exception with you on the technical arguments of the risk of malvertising (just last week MSN and Yahoo were both serving up flash exploits thru their advertising networks) but this is a ski blog … so who cares. I’d rather hear about LaSportiva’s new gear.

  17. Bruno Schull September 4th, 2015 2:35 am

    Hi. The ads don’t bother me. As you say, they don’t jump or spin or fly or whatever. I see them as necessary for you to do what you do. In fact, I have often thought that I should click on them and follow more often. This post prompted me to click on backcountry.com and buy something, so there’s one more click for you. Along the same lines, I am shopping for some skis, and I seem to remember following a link somewhere on this site to a shop that sells back country ski gear…was is “Castle” or something like that? I’m not thinking about skimo.com but they are great too. I’m looking for G3 skis. I would like to give my business somebody in the community rather than Amazon, for example. All the best.

  18. Lou Dawson 2 September 4th, 2015 5:37 am

    Bigb and all, the internet can indeed be a risky place. But the likelyhood of someone getting malvertised from WildSnow.com, without clicking on an ad, is about as likely as getting hit by a meteorite. But, we of course have no control over what happens once you go away.

    Thing is, we have literally thousands of external links in our blog posts. Every one of those has the potential to lead you to a problematic website – – especially older links to domain names that have expired. Compare that to a dozen or so banner ads that we test constantly, and are vetted by Google’s ad server. Truly, worrying about any risk from our advertising is barking up the wrong tree.

    All, I disagree with Biggb about ad blockers. They add another layer of complexity to both the user and publisher’s day. Instead, regarding internet advertising on Wildsnow and elsewhere:

    1. Don’t click on ads you don’t like. While many are sold as pay-per-view, the advertisers worship their clicks. Click rates are usually quite low across the board for mellow “branding” advertising like most of ours. Thus, even one decision NOT to click sends a much stronger message than just blocking everything. Conversely, clicking an ad sends a very strong and noticeable vote to the parent company.

    2. If something is really obnoxious, complain to the website managers-owners. Medium size publication efforts such as WildSnow are often very responsive to user input, since our livelihood depends on keeping you guys happy with what we’re doing. If even one of you sent us a complaint about an ad, I would take it down immediately, probably within minutes or hours. Bigger sites, who knows…

    3. Vote with your feet. If a website is slow loading and covered with junky irrelevant or downright offensive banners, spend less time there. The beauty of the internet is we have so many options.

    4. Reward peaceful advertising such as ours by exploring the banners and their associated websites now and then.

    The internet is still in its childhood. It’s unknown how all this will work out, in that it does cost money and time-money to run a website. Those expended resources have to come from somewhere. What is more, it gets harder and more expensive rather than easier to publish websites. I’ve been doing it long enough to know. When I started out as a webmaster, publishing a basic content/business site was so easy it was ridiculous. Now they say it’s “easier” because of platforms like the WordPress blogging software we use. But they are wrong, oh so wrong. The whole process is much more time consuming and more complex than it used to be.

    For example, more than half of all traffic on the web is now bots rather than humans, and the vast majority of those bots are malicious, running around hitting websites over and over again, looking for ways to hack or to steal content. Not only do those bots require millions of dollars of extra electricity for the extra server resources they require, but they cost literally trillions of hours of time for people such as myself to defend against them. Who pays for all that?

    The model for funding websites can be a few different things, but just like it does in in radio, the free content with advertising can work. We feel it is the best model.

    Lou

  19. Sev September 4th, 2015 5:55 am

    Lou, the ads may not go in the way of text but they distract me a great deal from it. Compare these 2 screenshots: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1321636/wildsnow_no_ads.png and https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1321636/wildsnow_ads.png In the version with ads you have to really search the content, whereas the version without ads looks very clean…
    In addition, the site takes about double the time to load with ads and its data size is about 4 times as high as without ads. This is really a usability problem on bad/mobile internet connections…

    I understand that running wildsnow.com is costly of course (both regarding time and money) but I do not think that ads are still the best way to generate a small amount of revenue for blogs…

    Have you ever considered other means of generating revenue? Paid subscriptions, donation links, sponsors/sponsored posts, flattr (microdonation service) come to mind…

    I normally read between 3 and 5 articles per week on wildsnow, this results in less than 3500 ad impressions per year (5 page views * 52 weeks *13 ads per page) so i would generate max. 7$ (assuming a $2 CPM, is this realistic) for you… I’d rather pay you 10$ per year or tip you 0.5$ per good article I read than looking at ads…

  20. Lou Dawson 2 September 4th, 2015 6:13 am

    Sev, thanks for your thoughts. I’m sorry you find our ads distracting, I guess in truth they are doing their job as intended by the graphic designers who made them (grin). I agree that site load times and data weight are important. I don’t know if you noticed or are using it, but our “mobile” site version is very clean and tests out quite well in speed tests. It’s better than the vast majority of websites I surf to and is approved by Google as “Mobile Friendly.” On a really slow connection, you can just turn image viewing off in your smartphone browser, which will strip down the site to its bare minimum. I use that trick quite often while traveling and using slow connections.

    In any case, if you have to run an ad blocker then so be it. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to spend huge amounts of time creating and managing a site with daily original subject-focused content, without flyout-popup-takeover ads, and the folks who view our mellow but necessary ads will help pay for it (thanks!).

    As for our business details, let’s not get too fine grained here. If you’d like to chat via Facebook please ping me there, or send over an email using our contact option in the nav menu above.

    Lou

  21. Sev September 4th, 2015 7:17 am

    Lou, thanks for your reply and thanks or understanding my point of view…

    I give wildsnow with ads another go for a week or so, maybe I can start “ignoring” the ads better when really trying hard 😉

  22. Lou Dawson 2 September 4th, 2015 7:42 am

    Thanks Sev, please know I’m working hard on this end, getting the Google ad server to behave. I’m also constantly working with advertisers to make nice banners that don’t flash or animate. Also, please know that some of the duplicate ads you see are caused by website caching. I don’t have as much control over that as I do some other things. But I’m working on it all, every day. Lou

  23. aemono September 4th, 2015 9:26 am

    I would say i’m as serious a despiser of ugly aggressive advertising as any (i’m not even that crazy about inoffensive uncreative run-of-the-mill adz..) but the Wildsnow ads really don’t bother me..maybe i’m just used to it ..further i would think that any regular visitor would/should/could be equally used to it, though i know that there are sensitive souls out there (and i do know..i’m one of them)..
    I might also add – with just a touch of acid – that there is another very effective and simple to use adblocker available, in fact most of us use it hugely every day, it can usually be located somewhere above and behind your eyes..

  24. Lou Dawson 2 September 4th, 2015 9:35 am

    Acidic (LOL), thanks for noticing that we make an effort not to get crazy with advertising. BTW, I just noticed the Google has a beta project to punish sites using interstitial ads (the ones that you have to click through to get to the content). Another thing we don’t have and probably never will, along with no pop-ups, no fly outs, little to no animation, and so on…

    Do you cut the ads out of newspapers with scissors, before reading (grin).

    Lou

  25. biggb September 4th, 2015 12:59 pm

    For the record i would NOT put WildSnow in the category of a bad advert website by any means.

    You may or may not be interested in a IT security podcast dealing with some such issues: https://twit.tv/shows/security-now/episodes/523?autostart=false

  26. PieterG September 5th, 2015 3:49 am

    Lou, as an almost daily visitor, I think you are doing a great job combining very interesting and diverse topics and presenting them on your site. The adds don’t bother me at all and sometimes I do click on them because items related to ski touring are advertised. (Always interesting to see price differences between Europe and the US 🙂 ). Keep it up!

    Pieter





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  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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