7 Questions: Federico Sbrissa, Arcteryx Footwear Manager

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 16, 2015      

On a wet bus ride back from the Calaghan Valley, British Columbia, I noticed this Italian footwear expert sitting there as if waiting for WildSnow to pounce (I could tell he was an expert by looking at his shoes, which had sharp points on the ends). After a moment I realized, YES, this is THE Fede, legend of the TLT5, culinary scientist and WildSnow.com contributor. Time for a quiz about ski touring boots (bonus menu addendum was added later).



What’s bigger for boots, skiing or alpine climbing?
“Alpine climbing boots are smaller part of industry, skiing is way way bigger. Climbers don’t like to spend as much, and skiers actually use their boots more than climbers, at an average of 30 days a season.”

Where do you use steel vs aluminum rivets in the Procline boots?
“Steel rivets in upper cuff. The pivots are aluminum, very strong.”

Who is the nice French guy you are here in Canada with?
“That’s Jerome Chaigne, Alpine Boots R&D Manager, Arcteryx and Salomon Ski Boots. Footwear Line Manager (myself) has the general idea and our team makes it happen. Jerome is more the hands on direct manager. Jerome figured out the Procline split cuff.”

It must have taken some effort to develop that split cuff. It’s an elegant solution to a problem as old as plastic ski boots. How many concept iterations?
“Many different ideas for rotating cuff. Actually three really working Including a single pivot in the rear. but we finally chose the actual one after some testing nearly two years ago”

Will Arcteryx develop more ski boots?
“Who knows, if we’re able to sell this one…”

I know you’ve got an opinion about the much exalted and often reviled ‘flex index.’ Please expound.
“Flex index, is B.S. actually. Regarding the ‘last width, ball girth, inside measurement of full inside boot shell circumference at ball of foot, is actually the way to measure the ‘last.’ The usual last width everyone is always asking about is B.S. because there are so many other factors, for example if the boot is narrow at the mid-foot, when you put weight on your foot it causes a different sort of spread at the forefoot than if your midfoot has room. If I’ll ever answer the question about “flex index” or write it in any catalog of ski mountaineering boots, please shoot me.”

What is the best and worst meal you have eaten in the last 6 weeks?
“Worst in 6 weeks easy, as it was this Monday … I took some friends in Lyon to visit the city, it was a bit late so the couple of places I knew already closed the lunch service and went in a typical lyonnaise bouchon… got the local fat terrible stuff… some sort of liver and fat cake with salad and some pure fat boiled sausage with some vegetables… not much fun. The best in 6 weeks probably was last Saturday. I had two friends coming to visit me and worked hard in the kitchen to welcome that 😉 … I had just flown in from Vancouver so I couldn’t do too much but the result was not that bad. The menu went something like this:
– Fried radicchio di treviso (radicchio is a super local Treviso vegetable which I love, they took it from Italy)
– Tomato bruschetta
– Oysters
– Raw fish plate: Salmon tartarre + prawns (with secret lemon sauce)
– Scallops with Radicchio sala and nuts (Fede’s original receipe)
– Oven baked Scallops (Special Fede’s receipe)
– Risotto with radicchio and salsiccia
– Angus Beef Fillet with Rucola and Baked potatoes
– The Italian’s version of Crème Brulée”


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


56 Responses to “7 Questions: Federico Sbrissa, Arcteryx Footwear Manager”

  1. See December 16th, 2015 9:12 am

    Hmmm… ‘Ball girth, inside measurement of full inside boot shell circumference at ball of foot, is actually the way to measure the “last.”’

  2. Lou Dawson 2 December 16th, 2015 9:29 am

    Reason is that the foot is a flexible sack of bones and tissue, so volume at the metatarsal area is what really dictates fit, assuming the thing is shaped like a normal shoe or boot… nothing wrong with measuring width at widest point as it’s nice to know, but I agree with Fede that this is way over emphasized as a way to fit a ski boot. On the other hand, Fede himself is part of the worldwide conspiracy to not give us thicker boot liners that’ll actually mold to lower volume feet instead of feeling like wearing 60 liter water buckets.

  3. Lou Dawson 2 December 16th, 2015 9:32 am

    BTW, the way Fede described this is it’s called “ball” girth because it’s measured as the circumference of a spherical shape, not because it’s the “ball” of your foot. Just thought I’d clarify that.

    Ball girth as well as last width can be measured by the layman by measuring a ghost molded stock liner, to get an approximation, assuming the liner has been molded to the confines of the shell.


  4. See December 16th, 2015 10:06 am

    Speaking as a person with wide/high volume feet, last width matters a lot if your foot is jammed up against the shell on both sides. I can’t help thinking that ball girth matters more than last width because, given enough material to move around, changing the width without losing too much volume just requires a competent boot fitter.

  5. See December 16th, 2015 10:20 am

    …yet the boot can still be made narrow enough so that people with skinny feet aren’t swimming, and all the liner/boot fitter has to do is fill in above and below the foot. (Not having narrow feet, I don’t know if this is right, so please correct if wrong.)

  6. swissiphic December 16th, 2015 11:01 am

    yet another call for easy consumer adjustable ski boot liner inflatable air/gas chambers to take up micro or macro volume for us weird shaped feet and lower leg people.

  7. Fede December 16th, 2015 11:04 am

    See, the last width number you read around is the measure of the internal last of the shell taken on the wider point of it. You can clearly understand that the variable of which liners you put inside has a massive variation on the global fit. plus the ability of the foot of “modifying his shape” has a huge impact too. If you really want to be precise you would need plenty of measures to understand how a boots fit, including with, volume in different areas of the last, heel etc…. a quite complex sience. That is why it is not correct from my personal point of view baising a comment if a boot is wide or narrow fitting just on base of the “last width information”. I can make you trying a boot with a width of 98mm which fits way wider than a boot with fit 104.

  8. RDE December 16th, 2015 11:04 am

    Further proof that , while BC may have better snow, Europeans have a better grasp of priorities.

  9. arnie December 16th, 2015 11:22 am

    Feet are funny things. I wonder… how far off are we from being able to put our feet into a three D scanner and getting a perfect pair of boots in the post 3 weeks later?

  10. See December 16th, 2015 12:07 pm

    First, it probably goes without saying, but Fede is an expert and I’m just some guy on the internet. Thanks, Fede, for being so generous with your knowledge and for making cool stuff.

    But, for what it’s worth… If the areas around my big toe joint and my sixth toe touch the shell simultaneously when I check shell fit (my regular orthotics plus a sneaker insole but no liners), those boots will cause me considerable discomfort if I ski them without stretching the shells at those points. Just about every boot I’ve ever tried fits into this category. Years of relying on my foot “modifying his shape” (before I learned boot fitters existed) just caused a lot of pain and perhaps actual injury. This what I meant by “last width matters a lot.” I’m not saying that any single measurement will enable people to determine if a boot is going to fit them well. I’m just saying that if your foot is wider than the shell, those boots are gonna hurt.

  11. See December 16th, 2015 12:13 pm

    And Arnie, I tried some orthotics made from a scan of my feet once. Worst orthotics I ever had.

  12. Fede December 16th, 2015 12:19 pm

    See … if you’re foot inside the shell without liner (with some spacers to simulate the liner sole) touches on the sides of the shell I’m afraid there is not much to do. In your case it’s not a matter of a few mm but of a ton of extra width you will need…. you will very hardly ever find a ski boot which fits you out of the box because if it would it will not fit to the remaining approx. 98% of the population 🙁 … in your case a little push on the shell would do the job. Sorry for that.
    The critic I did to Lou when he asked me about the flex index that he reported on the article was not obviously based on yours and others real issue with booth fits … but on those tons of people, including some retailers, which ask as first 2 questions what is the flex index and the last width. And both of them, especially the flex index are not very relevant on ski performance or in case of the last width on deciding if a boot will or not fit to a specific customer.

  13. See December 16th, 2015 12:46 pm

    Thanks, Fede. Don’t feel too sorry for me. Stretching new boots is a good project for weekends when I’m stuck indoors with a cold.

  14. Kevin p December 16th, 2015 2:15 pm

    There’s already scanners that can quickly produce a 3d model of a foot (Google it) I had it done recently at a shoe store, but it suggested a size that surprised me, and turned out to be not the most comfortable of several I tried on. Evidently still some bugs to work out.

  15. Bruno Schull December 16th, 2015 2:16 pm

    The whole issue of orthotics and footwear fit resonates with me. I have big, wide, flat feet, with various problems, including a nerve inflammation, which lead to surgery. I can do many sports, but I have to constantly manage pain, and I have to be very careful about what footwear I use. Over the years, I have tried many orthotics, including cheap over the counter models, and custom models made by doctors. Some work and some don’t. It seems to have nothing to do with price/reputation/medical degrees/3-D scans and so on. My experience is confirmed the piece below, which also contains a link to a peer-reviewed article.


    The take away points:

    1-Doctors have no idea how orthotics work, and there is little consensus in the medical community about what might be the best orthotic for a particular foot or problem.

    2-The best thing to do is choose footwear that feels good.

    My advice is that if you need help with orthotics or footwear, find somebody willing to listen to you. For me, a big red flag is when somebody says, “The problem with your feet is…” or, “What you need is….” You know your feet best

    For my feet, I use wide shoes, such as Keen or Lems, for everyday life, wide zero drop running shoes, such as Altra, for trail running, flat-soled flexible cycling shoes for mountain biking, soft approach shoes for climbing, and ski boots that by normal standards are too big.

    I need space around my forefoot and my toes, enough space so that my foot can move back and forth when skiing. If the terrain is rough, I can feel my feet moving. I know this makes me ski worse, but it’s necessary for me. If the liner touches my feet on the side, I have too much pain. So I accept that my boots will never give me a snug fit, and I will never be able to ski as well as I might otherwise.

    To come back to modern ski boots, I do wish they offered boots with real differences in last widths/ball girths/overall volumes…not just 98 or 102, but real differences, such as 90, 100, and 110, for example. Then people could actually get the fit they need, instead of relying on manipulations to the shell to make it bigger by a few millimeters here and there, or using a large shell and filling it with foam to make it smaller.

    I understand the economics of mold costs, numbers of buyers, and so on, but it would be so cool if a boot company would invest in a whole range of molds.

  16. Bruno Schull December 16th, 2015 2:19 pm

    Here’s a question for Fede, an engineering challenge worthy of a brilliant designer:

    Could you design an adjustable shell mold, to encourage boot manufacturers to offers boots in a greater range of sizes?

  17. arnie December 16th, 2015 3:42 pm

    Ok so the 3d scanner needs some work!
    Fede TLT5 was THE game changer and I thank you for it. I eventually got it to fit! They’ve served me well and I’m just fitting TLT6. I think grilamid is in some ways the unsung hero as it’s so easy to work with for those of us that need to. I took a punt and stuck the whole lower shell in the oven (a la backland only no inners) then jammed my feet in them in an old liner with a neoprene sock over the lot. So far so comfy although not skied them yet. Another “must” for me is the scarpa ankle strap for ultimate heel hold..mine came off an old tele boot.

  18. Lou 2 December 16th, 2015 4:09 pm

    Hey Arnie, what, you don’t appreciate Italian inspired fine art!?

    Super to hear about how Grilamid served you. It is truly wonderful stuff for ski boots. Pebax is a drag.

    Love your “farmer” molding system.


  19. stewspooner December 16th, 2015 6:41 pm

    I had a 3D scan and reference to a boot last index done in the early 90s, at an industry event where some guy from Bend was trying to sell his system. I’ve been loving the same model of boot I bought on that reference (Raichle Flexon) ever since. Great technology, but retailers are motivated to sell what they have in stock, and not enough people want to pay purely for consulting.

  20. Ed December 16th, 2015 6:45 pm

    Now to the truly important part of the article – but what no Stracchino cheese?
    Meal menu looked great! 🙂

  21. XXX_er December 16th, 2015 7:46 pm

    Fede, since you apparently designed the TLT for Dynafit maybe you can tell us why Dynafit doesn’t sell their boots with a better liner?

  22. Sam L December 16th, 2015 8:03 pm

    Thanks for the thoughts, always good to hear what is going through a designer’s mind.

    As for foot shape, nearly every industry wildly oversimplifies the matter – your foot is dramatically 3D, and to make things worse, it changes shape when you weight and unweight it, changes shape again when it bends or rotates, and changes shape through the day as your body moves moisture around. Brannock machines are as complex as most people have ever seen, and they still just break it down to length, width in one location, and arch position.

    I have a pair of White’s custom workboots (really great boots), and they take a length measurement, circumference in three places on the foot, and three up the calf. From that they size you for one of their stock lasts, or determine that you need a custom last. The stock lasts come in 3 shapes and sizes 4 to 15, AAAA (very narrow) to EEEE (very wide), for over 360 different options. Even so, some people need custom lasts.

    So to consider all that and then hear someone say “Well this boot is a 98mm, but it skis more like a 100mm” makes you realize just how oversimplified ski boot sizing is. Of course we have the huge advantage of a moldable liner, but as you move away from “well the boot fits fine with the molded liner” and more into fine details about where the boot flexes, how feels in different weighting positions for people with different arch positions, etc., you just arrive at “most of the sizing guidance on the boot is BS, you just have to try them out.”

  23. swissiphic December 16th, 2015 9:24 pm

    @Sam L; good points; and why boot reviews tend to be totally subjective based on all the variables of foot shape/size/volume and anatomical positioning of all the various bones and angles of the entire lower leg/foot system. It’s kinda maddening actually ’cause you never really know what you’ve got till you take ’em out on snow…and then start dicking around with fit and fit aids.

    One man’s slipper is another man’s flipper. One man’s “flex is a brick” is another man’s “flex is slick” etc….

  24. XXX_er December 16th, 2015 9:49 pm

    Ya Guido … like a box of chocolates eh?

    hey Bruno I got the wide flat AZN forefoot with narrow heel/ankle here, YMMV but I recently discovered that Keen loves me on the fit SO maybe we have a similar foot , I also swear by the sole footbeds and vulcan/pwrwraps fit me right of the box!

  25. SquakMtn December 16th, 2015 10:52 pm

    I’m with Ed; the tech stuff is cool, but that menu had my full attention! Now if only I could whip that up on my next hut trip…

  26. atfred December 17th, 2015 7:11 am

    guess I’m lucky – I’ve had great success with Palau liners and Sole heat moldable footbeds, both of which come in varying thicknesses. I have three different boots, and a different thickness liner in each; have never needed to heat mold them.

  27. atfred December 17th, 2015 7:15 am

    All these ideas about high tech boot fitting are great and I’m sure will advance the state of the art.
    Just let’s not go back to that period in the early fifties when shoe stores would fluoroscope peoples’ feet for a custom fit – lots of radiation – not a good thing, especially for the kids.

  28. JCoates December 17th, 2015 7:15 am

    So girth and stiffness don’t matter??? That is what I have been telling all the ladies for years….


  29. Lou Dawson 2 December 17th, 2015 7:46 am

    Atfred, there is indeed an ideal foot size and type. That’s what they “ghost mold” the boot liners to and is what the shape of the boot is based on in the first place. If your foot is close to the “standard,” then you get a good fit. What no one seems to even know is upon who’s foot was this originally based? Some Italian cobbler skier in 1918? A Bavarian farmer skier in 1925? It’s actually quite funny when you think about it. Venetian nobility several centuries ago?

    All I know is whoever it was, my feet are a lot different than theirs.


  30. See December 17th, 2015 9:48 am

    I’m also using Sole insoles these days. I mold them and, combined with molded Intuition liners and fitted shells, I’m happy with my boots. And it only took about 30 years of trial and error.

  31. Lisa Dawson December 17th, 2015 6:26 pm

    “Scallops with Radicchio salad and nuts (Fede’s original recipe)”…darling Fede, I miss you! Come visit us and teach Lou a thing or two.

  32. atfred December 17th, 2015 8:09 pm

    Point taken, Lou, but my path to “fit” was by no means easy. It took a fair bit of $ and several years of iterations to find the right shell/insole/liner combination. Still, after reading about the struggles of others, I consider myself lucky.

    I’m truly sympathetic of new folks coming into this game.

  33. Wookie December 18th, 2015 4:39 am

    3D Scanners and printers for boots – a nice idea.

    I designed, (am designing – will design) a prosthetic leg for the paracycling world champ and silver medalist in the London Olympics. the idea was to use a 3D scanner, do a little rectification (fitting in order to make it possible to put on and take off) and then print it up. Turns out – its been a lot more complicated than that.
    The primary issue is that simply taking a scan of whats there, ie the stump in my athlete’s case and a foot in our case – would probably result in one of the poorest fitting shoes(prosthetic ever.
    The long and short of it is, you don’t want the shoe/prosthetic to match the shape of the foot/stump….generally – where the tissue is hard, like bone, you want to have the fit looser than the original shape, and where the tissue is soft, you want it to be tighter than the original shape. The differences can be significant – in extreme cases up to 5% in local volume difference – which doesn’t sound like much, but is huge in terms of fit.
    The only really good way to get this right today is doing the whole process by hand, and feeling the stiffness of the tissue – and then modifying the model (or more commonly today, a plaster mold of the stump) by hand. Today – we really can’t improve on the experience of a prosthetic designer with 25-30 years of experience.
    Oh yeah – even the best 3D Printed models I’ve created can’t hold up to my client’s cycling. She’s not typical, but the forces in skiing would be much higher. Its a long way yet to 3D printed boots.
    But I am working on it. I’m working on a design of a kind of socket that an amputee can stick their stump in, wieght, and then adjust pressures at multiple points around the stump. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to do it while engaging in activity (kind of a test-leg). There is no reason something like that could not then be done for shoes / boots.
    And 3D printing is moving fast enough that in 5 years we should have something useful.
    Today I print a support structure and lay the leg up in carbon by hand. Also works – but not really mass market.

    Its a cool project!

  34. Bruno Schull December 18th, 2015 5:33 am

    Hey Wookie. I really respect your work. When I was in my early twenties, I was involved in a hit and run car accident with the team of road cyclists I was training with. One of my friends was killed on the scene, and another friend sustained a severe head injury (coma for three months), and had his leg amputated below the knee. I had some medical training, and did my best to manage the situation, and provide some basic life support. Of course, it’s the kind of thing that stays with you, in one way or another, for your whole life. When my friend recovered, be began competing in disabled cycling. He was always a hell of an athlete, and he excelled. He was faster with one leg than many people with two legs. He won multiple gold medals and world championships on on the track. His name is Dory Selinger. You can Google the name for plenty of information. One of his prosthetic limbs was a simple straight aerodynamic blade that clipped straight into a Look pedal. I remember him many times putting on and taking off that leg from his stump. What you describe about fit makes a lot of sense. I guess what it means for ski boots is that each individual would work with an experienced fitter to craft a unique mold. Obviously impossible on a large scale, but cool to think about. People like you help athletes like Dory reach their highest potential, and help people like me, who were somehow involved, to find some good in tragic circumstances. Thank you.

  35. Wookie December 18th, 2015 6:02 am

    thanks Bruno – but I just fell into it. One thing led to another….

    the one thing I have learned hanging around with all these people with legs off, is that an injury like that is not nearly as frightening as I used to think. Heck – lots of people with a transtibial amputation (below the knee) – you wouldn’t notice it if they wear long pants.
    Life really does always go on.

    Check out the stuff Hugh Herr is doing. That dude will make you WANT to get new legs. Google him.

  36. See December 18th, 2015 9:12 am

    I mold my own insoles and liners now, but I observed experienced pros do it originally and learned from them. My first pair of orthotics were prescribed by my orthopedist after a knee sprain. They were made by a very experienced guy and I transferred those orthotics from shoe to shoe to ski boot etc.. When I decided I wanted another pair, the guy who made the first pair had retired. But I had observed (and felt) how he corrected for the way my foot tends to collapse inward. Moldable insoles and liners provide a lot of control over fit, but the key is knowing what you’re trying to achieve in the first place.

    Also, Bruno, I was in a similar but less serious situation last summer and I learned a lot about how I function in an unexpected stressful situation. It sounds like you had training, stepped up and did what you could. That is no small thing.

  37. Chris Cawley December 18th, 2015 11:04 pm

    Fede, are these things going to fit if the TLT5 fit my feet perfectly? TLT6 seems to get wider and wider…

  38. ptor December 19th, 2015 1:24 am

    Fede, have you tried an espresso at Milano’s in front of the park on W8th?

  39. Lou Dawson 2 December 19th, 2015 7:13 am

    Chris, no true comparison, two entirely different brands, boots and last. I can tell you that the Procline is more roomy than the TLT5, it has to be since as an alpine climbing boot it needs room for a few more millimeters of insulation. It has noticeably much less heel cup than the TLT series. Hope that helps. Lou

  40. Chris Cawley December 19th, 2015 11:50 pm

    Thanks Lou, it is helpful to have a comparison but I’m still searching for a low volume boot following the chunking out of the TLT fit after the first generation. Hopeful for the Backland series but hearing mixed reviews of the skiing in those boots so far…

  41. Lou 2 December 20th, 2015 7:02 am

    Backland is not low volume. Newer TLT added hardly any volume. Lou

  42. atfred December 20th, 2015 8:40 am

    I have the same concerns, as my TLT5’s are wearing out and they fit my narrow foot great, using the 8mm Palau liner.

    I’m wondering if I would be better off to get the old (green) TLT6, rather than the newer model.

    I do have the dynafit mercury, and have gotten a good fit with them using a slightly thicker Palau liner (10mm).


  43. Lou Dawson 2 December 20th, 2015 8:56 am

    Atfred, the difference in shell interior volume is minimal. An insider I spoke with told me the molds are actually the “same,” and that any difference is caused by shrinkage or other characteristics of using Pebax instead of Grilamid. That said, Green TLT6 is definitely superior due to use of Grilamid. As I mentioned in comparo a few weeks ago, when bare-foot shell fitting the two versions of TLT6 I could feel a difference in width at the ball of the foot, but it was minimal. The deal breaker is the power strap on the TLT6-NEW (groan on the naming of these things), it’s cool. Lou

  44. Chris Cawley December 20th, 2015 9:56 am

    So is there anything out there for the skinny-footed these days?

  45. GeorgeT December 20th, 2015 11:00 am

    @ Chris — I find the TLT 6 to be the best fit for my narrow foot. I put foot boards in my TLT 5s to take up some room in combo with a moldable insole/footbed and I got a great fit. After you pack out your first liner replace it with a Intuition tour liner and insoles to get a tight fit for your narrow feet.

  46. Chris Cawley December 20th, 2015 11:43 am

    I have tried TLT 6 and found them to to have lost all the great anatomical shape that held my ankle in place in the TLT 5. I even downsized from TLT 5 and I only lasted 6 days before I decided to sell the new boots and seek another pair of 5’s. It’s mostly the heel & ankle I have trouble with, and I’ve found atomic alpine boots to have the most anatomical ankle shape.

  47. Lou Dawson 2 December 20th, 2015 11:47 am

    Hmmm, validation that shell fit still rules? .. Lou

  48. Fede December 22nd, 2015 3:02 am

    Chris, the fit of TLT and Procline are not comparable, they are just two different boots. if you really want a super narrow boot as the original TLT5 most probably the Procline might be too wide for you.
    but it really depends on how your foot is, impossible to tell until you try it.

  49. Fede December 22nd, 2015 3:20 am

    Bruno, adjustable molds are quite impossible, it’s already possible to have molds with different inserts to change some little areas. but I don’t think it is technical possible to have a true fit variation. That would require interchangeable inserts on the mold core and on the two sides making them terrible complex, expensive fragile and with an ugly aesthetic as you will see the lines where the inserts are on the injected parts. Plus the injection pressure is so high that I highly doubt the molds will resist.
    Today some alpine boots which are offered in different width are done by only changing the core of the mold with a wider one reducing the 2-3mm from the shell thickness.

    Answering other questions offering boots with true different fits is not thinkable, way too huge investments and especially in ski touring where it’s already hard due to the small market. and a good boot fitter can do a good enough jobs for the minority of people which really needs to be boot fitted.

    Lou the last of a ski boot doesn’t come from the old venetian or Bavarian tradition. it’s a huge work of research and expertise of each ski boot manufacturing company. Plus most of boots of each company varies in base of what the boots is made for. A last for an alpine world cup ski boot, an all around boot, a ski touring boot or a ski running race boot are totally different in base of the type of activity.
    Those lasts are also developed to fit the average foot … so unfortunately that 10-15% which don’t fit even with a thermo formable liner it needs to have some boot fitting done.

  50. Fede December 22nd, 2015 3:56 am

    Ptor, don’t know caffe Milano… shoud I try it or better to go in Milano for a coffe 🙂

  51. Lou Dawson 2 December 22nd, 2015 6:47 am

    Thanks Fede, appreciate you being here. Lou

  52. ptor December 26th, 2015 9:23 am

    Fede…do both.

  53. Bruno Schull December 27th, 2015 6:32 am

    To See, thanks for your words. Yes, true, I was able to do something. For better or worse, I have been involved in several incidents like that, none so bad, but some quite serious. What I have learned about myself is that I usually act, I try to do something, anything, even if misdirected or incorrect. That’s not always a good thing–I think that often I would benefit from more reflection before action–but it just seems to be the way that I am wired. It is fascinating and unpredictable how people react in stressful situations. I also think it’s very contextual, so how somebody reacts once does not necessarily determine how they will react in another scenario. In the context of skiing, why do some people pull their air bags and others not? Why do some people initiate or immediately participate in searches, while others do not? How do some people make calm and reasoned decisions at critical moments? Can you train these things? It’s really an interesting topic. It also generally highlights the importance of first aid training, such as WFA or WFR courses. Anyway, thanks again.

  54. RDE December 27th, 2015 8:57 am

    Bruno & Wookie,

    I watched the ParaOlympic downhill race at Vancouver and have been in awe of what disabled skiers can do ever since.

    Alex Zanardi is one of the most inspirational examples. An exceptionally talented F1 and Indy car driver, he lost both lower and upper legs in a horrific crash that brought him within moments of dying. He went on to drive competitively against uninjured drivers, using a specially modified car with only hand controls and drove the course where he had been injured at a lap time faster than he had done before injury. He also started a second career as a cyclist, and won a gold medal in ParaOlympic cycling.

  55. See December 27th, 2015 7:38 pm

    I suspect that, in some cases, focussing on skiing out of a slide is better than focussing on pulling the air bag trigger.

  56. See December 27th, 2015 7:55 pm

    Or clinging to bed surface/whatever.

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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.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

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