Section 16: Lest we become too serious

The following FAQ is courtesy of Grant Robinson.

16.01) "What's the difference between an 80% slope and and 80% grade?"

This one's so simple, I can't believe a techno-weenie like you would ask: an 80% slope is an indication of how steep a hill is, an 80% grade is an indication of what percentage of skiers will make it to the bottom. For example, on a hill that's graded 100%, all skiers will make it to the bottom. Period.

Contrast this with a 10% grade, on which most skiers will get bored and cut out before the bottom.

A more interesting question might be: what distribution will the impacted beginners at the bottom of above-mentioned 100% grade follow?

(Hint: most will wind up pretty close to directly below their starting point)

16.02) "Why do I have to obey the stupid "Out of Bounds" markers, the ski patrol, they're real dumb, they close runs that I know I can ski."

Actually, it's an intelligence test. It's a study being done on apes vs. humans. So far the apes are winning. Humans vs. slugs might be a fairer contest.

16.03) "What should I wear?"

Depends on what level skier you are. If you're a beginner, any loud colour will do, the brighter the better. This will enable other beginners to see you clearly from a distance, and plan a course, such that no matter what you do, they will run into you.

If you're an expert skier, you'll prefer pastels, earth tones and lighter colours, making you a less visible target for crash and burn types. You'll also look less like some mutant prize from a Cracker Jack box. However you want to make sure it's not the same colour as the indigenous trees, or you'll find the beginners will find you and crash into you anyways.

16.04) "How do I put on chains?"

Layering is important here. First you start with one or more layers of leather, then ... Oops!, sorry, wrong newsgroup.

Tell your navigator/SO/wife/husband/kids to get out and put the chains on. Bring extra reading material in case they take a while.

Wait until someone else with chains comes along and offer them $$$ to put yours on for you. After they're done, but prior to the cash transaction, "accidentally" unhook one of their chains and drive away quickly. Works every time. (Did I mention a bolt-cutter is the most effective "accidental" unchainer?)

16.05) "What length skis should I buy?"

You want either a VS (Very short), or VL (Very Long) model. Very Short skis are good for things like cutting in lift lines, doing on-snow 360's without catching an edge, and getting laughed at (don't worry, it's just other people's inferiority complex over not being able to handle small skis!) Just think of how much wax you'll save in a single season!

VL skis (ie 215's or more) are good for a variety of other reasons: you're less likely to inadvertantly do backflips and such with long, stable skis, makes going straight easier (think of all the effort you'll save by not turning!), and the extra length makes for more safety when you hit trees, there is a much greater crumple zone. Think of 215's as the Volvo's of skis.

16.06) "How do I ski bumps?"

Don't bend your knees! If you do, you'll just keep hitting bump after bump after bump... By not bending you knees, you'll gradually keep clearing more and more bumps with each succeeding aerial excursion.

16.07) "How do I ski powder?"

Don't! Under no conditions should you ever ski powder! You could be buried, lose your skis, catch an edge, etc. Leave it for the experts. If there's more than 36 inches of it, page me, I'll come and track that nasty powder down, making it safe for you and your friends.

(By the time I finish writing this, Eugene will have already written a program to intercept my page, and introduce an n-hour delay, n being roughly proportional to the number of new inches.)

16.08) "How do I ski groomed runs?"

If you really meant to ask this question, consider taking up golf instead. Then again, there's not that much difference between golf and skiing groomed runs.

16.09) "Where are some cheap accommodations for skiing Vail?"

Try Witchita, Kansas. You may still be able to get reservations for this year.

16.10) "What are the conditions like at Ski-Wannabe?"

Good. Great. In fact excellent. Ski conditions are always better than the resort reports indicate. Ski reports are designed to keep skiiers away and reduce crowds. So the worse the report, the better the skiing is likely to be!


No comment. (Ed.: I always thought BIFF would be the snowboarding type)

16.12) "Where can I go where there's no danger of avalanche?"


16.13) "Where can I buy discount tickets for any resort in the U.S.?"

Why in the parking lot of course! Sure it's totally illegal, and you're ripping off the ski resort, but hey, you've already spent hundreds of dollars on travel, lodging and food, damned if you're going to pay a couple bucks more to support the ski resort, pay for the ski patrol, etc. Who the hell do they think they are to charge more than you happen to feel like paying!

16.14) "Where should I go for the best nightlife?"

LA or NYC. (a tip of the ole toque to BG for this one :)

16.15) "I'm a beginner, what should I do?"

Take up lawn darts or croquet, they're much safer. Alternatively, for only $55/hr, plus a season lift pass for Vail, and room and board, I'd be glad to teach you a thing or two.

16.16) "Where's the best snow?"

For a small suitcase full of genuine, unmarked $100 bills, I'd be glad to tell you.

Grant Robinson-- ClariNet Communications Corp, Sunnyvale, CA

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