Big thanks to Backcountry Access for sponsoring this avalanche education content. Check out the additional plethora of avalanche safety resources on their website.
I’m a huge fan of the self driving car concept. I love automobiles, from the individual freedom they provide to the fun of driving — it is amazing what we’ve created for ourselves. And yes Virginia, horrible choked traffic does happen and mass transit is great, where it’s great, but I’m tired of politicians yammering about how important it is that we all force ourselves into crowded buses and grunged out subway cars.
What if self drivers become in effect a form of mass transit, only offering privacy and customized door-to-door service? Clearly, the word “disruptive” is weak when it comes to what self drivers are going to do to transit, mass or otherwise. Further, promote mass transit and diss cars all you want, but nearly anywhere you ski tour it’s more than likely you’ll need an automobile.
A big step in the development of self driving cars took place recently when the feds released their policy of basic self-driver standards. Good. There needs to be a baseline. As for ski touring and the fun of driving, I hope they keep a steering wheel and human driver option. Even if driving isn’t something you’re interested in, I highly doubt the self drivers will be able to handle rural, snow choked trailheads any time soon.
I always enjoy reading about Michigan’s Mount Bohemia. Even the name makes me want to visit. A couple of chairlifts, 900 vertical feet, lake effect snow, hike-to terrain. Now it sounds like they’re adding some “hut” style lodging at their log cabin “hostel.” Do they allow uphill skiing? Anyone got the beta?
Industry news: You’ve got one more day to enter the BCA contest, win fully two Link radio sets (in our view, group communication is as important to avalanche safety as your beacon and airbag, and radios help). This is a special WildSnow contest, please participate by clicking the BCA banners in our sidebar and page head.
You also might notice the Scarpa F1 banners we’ve got going, as well as our F1 review yesterday. We do like the F1, with that “Scarpa” fit and easy mode changes. We were thus bummed when we had to send our samples back for a revamp this spring. Well, the minions of Montebelluna must have skipped their usual month-long vacation this year, as they’ve got the F1s shipping and looking better than ever.
Also, on the industry front, Dynafit has done their winter launche for their Mountopia branding campaign. Interesting, with a distinctly European flavor and also an interactive component. Check it out with this link, or if you see a banner to click on here you might get a special link.
By the way, I think we’ve got the nicest looking and best behaved banner advertising we’ve ever had. Interesting and varied banners, loading fast, no jinky stuff. If I do say, polite. Please check them out, we couldn’t do WildSnow without our sponsors, they bring you the content for free.
As I mentioned a few days ago, I’ll be at the ISSW avalanche snow science conference for a few days. Turns out I’ll be on a panel discussing the interaction of the public recreation with snow safety issues, e.g., skiers triggering avalanches above highways where a school bus full of kids might be traveling. As a recreation advocate, I tend to view most government implemented access restrictions with a skeptical eye, but some limits are of course no-brainers. I expect my views will become more nuanced after interacting with folks on the panel. In case you’ll be at ISSW, the panel is on Tuesday, 10:00 in the morning.
In our mountain towns here in the U.S., it’s always interesting to watch us humans fiddling around with “historical preservation.” In Aspen, for example, they’ll force homeowners to preserve downright junk from just decades ago, while seemingly oblivious to the fact that one of the most visible “historical” artifacts of the mining days was a nearly complete deforestation of the surround, which if implemented now would vastly improve the skiing. Or, shouldn’t the Aspen ski hills be taken back to their natural state, and re-forested? It comes down to interesting philosophical and cultural issues.
Speaking of cultural, near here the site of Camp Hale where the 10th Mountain Division ski troops trained for WW2 is sacred ground to some of us, including myself (for personal and cultural reasons). Ten percent of these guys didn’t come back from Europe, where among other things they helped remove the Wehrmacht from Italy. If there is any candidate for historical preservation, this should be it. One of the site’s most unique features (all the buildings are gone) is the excavated straight river channel. It’s what you see when you fly over or view the site from surrounding hillsides. Apparently a push to “restore” the unique river section to its natural curvy state has gained momentum. Is nothing sacred? Please, take your machinery and your do-gooder mentality downstream — leave Hale as a memorial to the real do-gooders. Article here.