Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Tribute to The Adaptive Skiers

  After all the rain and warm weather we have had, I wanted to visit Greek Peak to see how they fared.   I was surprised to see quite a bit of snow on the slopes.    Extensive snow making over the last month has enabled them to maintain enough base to groom and keep on going.  See below for confirmation.
   The last time I visited the slope on Tuesday, I noticed that the Adaptive Ski Program was going for the week.   I certainly admire both the adaptive skiers and the volunteers that participate in this program.   What a tragedy that this week has had such ugly conditions of rain, wind and deteriorating conditions.   During my visit today there were a number of adaptive skiers on the slopes in spite of the scratchy conditions.   It looked like there were no regular skiers on the lifts.
   So on the beginner's slope there were still some intrepid adaptive skiers with their volunteer assistants, toughing out the conditions.  Hats off and applause for all of these folks.  May you all enjoy each day regardless of the obstacles you face both on the slopes and off.   And may you be granted better conditions during the remainder of your stay.
    Note - No geezers showed today as I would expect, so I had to drink coffee alone.   Ah well, no stimulating discussions!
Yes There Is Snow on the Slopes

Lunch Tables Reserved

Adaptive Gear Ready to Go!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Visiting the Slopes

  In my exile from the slopes I am trying to enjoy chatting with my friends who are getting in their daily fix of skiing.   On this bright and sunny cold winter morning it seemed only natural to head to my local ski area to at least have coffee and observe the ski conditions.     The parking lot was beginning to fill up by the time I arrived, so I had a cold walk to the lodge with the snow crunching under my feet.   The parking lot attendants were all bundled up in bulky down coats and insulated boots.   Necessary apparel for 10 F temperatures.  
   By arriving at 10:15 or so,  a number of my ski friends were warming up after a an hour or two on the slopes.   It was nice to be warmly greeted and to have a chance to swap stories with those in attendance.   As usual I took my apple fritter with me.  And as usual I got ribbed about my addiction to my daily apple fritter.
  Post the coffee break, I made a foray out to the base of the lift are to take some pictures of the crowds enjoying themselves.   Below you will see the groups gathered and the beauty of the sky, slope and snow.   I must say it is somewhat self torturing to observe others on the slope.  It is somewhat like seeing a gorgeous feast and not being able to eat any of it.   I guess that must be what  hell might be like.    Hopefully I am only in purgatory for a while.  
Group Photo From the Other Side

Love the Texture of the Sky

Novices Enjoying the First Days on Skis
   Meanwhile, pursuing other interests beyond skiing keeps me upbeat.  The forced reduced activity has opened up other fun things to do.  These things have included visiting the Paleontological Research Institute, eating at a Japanese restaurant, and going to more movies.   Who knows, I may become and even more eclectic member of society.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Do The Numbers

    In view of my recent crash on the ski slopes and resultant injury, I am interested in the frequency of injuries by skiers.   A bit of research shows that one could expect 2.0 to 2.5 injuries per 1000 skier days.  I am not sure how that translates to the vulnerability of individual skiers since this is an aggregate set of data involving thousands if not millions of different kinds of skiers.
   So I am trying to assess my probability of injury again, if I were to resume skiing.  Perhaps there are two parts to this.  One is the probability of having a fall and the other is the probability of something beyond a sprain or minor bruise.     For the past 14 years I have logged my ski days and the conditions and any unusual incidents.   Although I skied in the  1960's, 1970's and through 1982, I did not record my ski days.   Therefore, I can only document about 1500 skier days before I sustained my injury.   Thus my injury rate is about 0.67 per 1000 skier days.  Thus I was able to beat the odds for a considerable time.
   The injury frequency data does not break out for different age groups so I have no idea if the injury rate is higher for geezer skiers.   Probably it is higher since we do get a bit more fragile as we age.
   After one does the numbers for skiers, you might ask what about other activities?   I suspect that if one uses the same number of hours of the activity that biking, tennis, basketball and soccer would show high rates of injury.   Because one is not likely to spend several hours at these activities on a daily basis there is compensatory reduction in the amount of injuries.
   Whatever the statistics show, the bottom line is what happens to one personally that counts.   Life in all forms has its risks.  The question is what are foolhardy risks given the circumstances and what a reasonable calculated risks.   I guess geezerhood should drive us toward being more risk adverse.   To all the geezer skiers out there, best wishes for safe skiing and making good decisions about calculated risks.

Snow sportOn piste injury rate
On piste injury rate
   1. Telemark skiing1.13889
   2. Skiboarding1.99501
   3. Alpine skiing2.38419
   4. Snowboarding5.31188
All sports combined2.59386

IPTSD = Injuries per 1000 skier days - the average number of people who will be injured for every 1000 people skiing, snowboarding or skiboarding at a ski area on any given day

MDBI = Mean days between injury = the number of days you would have to participate in a particular snow sport before being injured - so the higher the number, the lower the risk. If you're confused, both concepts are fully explained here

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Geezer Crash

  In all the years I have been skiing I never had a fall or crash that put me in a doctor's care until yesterday.  I suppose I was overdue!   A trip down one of the easier trails ended up with a major fall when my skis stuck like glue in some newly made snow.  I have always been wary of the snow near the snow makers and this time I thought I was far enough away.   Not so.  Immediately behind me two other young ladies crashed within seconds of my crash.    Many thanks for Roger Pellerin helping me to pick up the pieces.  Somehow I was able to drive myself home where Nancy took me to the emergency room in at Cortland.  Later I was transferred to Crouse Hospital in Syracuse for specialized evaluation.
  After over twelve hours in the emergency room I was discharged to go home by midnight.   During this period my faithful wife Nancy held my hand and diligently prayed for me.  There were hours of uncertainty and multiple tests.   Fortunately the prognosis at the moment is good for my recovery.   The ribs are mighty sore and my only kidney seems to be on the mend.   When and if I return to the slope either this year or the next is up in the air for now.   Meanwhile, I will get lots of reading and resting done.   I'll be thinking about all the geezers still sliding on the slopes and wishing you safe skiing.
  It is ironical that yesterday I had a brief conversation with at least two geezers that had crashed last year due to similar circumstances.   If I do get back to the slopes, I now have one number one rule.
Not Me But How I Felt!
Do not ski a slope where there has been snow making that has not been groomed.   A corollary to that rule will be ski no slopes where snow making is in progress!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Music and Moguls

    When I retired at age 60 plus I began taking piano lessons since it had been a goal of mine from the time I was a child.   Daughter Viki was ten at the time and also taking piano lessons.  We were taking lessons from the same teacher.  So each week we would arrive for our lesson and get the appropriate guidance and instruction.  Daughter Viki would accomplish in a week what it would take me a month to get done.   My ossified brain would not develop the neuron pathways for music nearly as fast as hers would.   After five years of lessons it was clear that I had reached a plateau.   I was never going to be able to achieve piano playing at a superior level.   My limitation was that I was unable to both play the current notes and at the same time anticipate the next measure and process the information fast enough to continue playing smoothly.

    So what is the tie to skiing?   During a lift ride with Dennis we were discussing how to ski the moguls.   That discussion triggered a thought that skiing the moguls well requires the similar abilities that good pianists have.   That is, anticipating what is coming next.   A good mogul skier will be skiing one series of moguls at the same time viewing and anticipating the turns for the next set of moguls.  Think of it as measure after measure of moguls like measure after measure of music.   So I have the same problem of skiing moguls as I do playing the piano.  I find it difficult to anticipate the next turns in sufficient time to smoothly progress down the slope at a decent rate of speed.   Oh well, I guess I'll just have to accept my limitations and ski the moguls at a slower rate, just as I have to play music at a slower tempo than one might like.
A Magnificent Mogul Field
A Page Of One of My Assignments