High Season in the Alps – Part 2
One of the big attractions of Snowsports for many people is the technology it employs. Everything from Kevlar gloves to boot heaters to fat skis, I know guys (& girls) who will happily sit for hours comparing notes on set up, side cut & the merits of wick away underwear.
Nothing wrong in that, whatever floats your boat although I have never considered myself in that camp (possibly one more reason I never made BASI Level 4). Without becoming too hippy-trippy I have always been much more attracted by the idea of absorbing the mountain environment – the beauty, the power, the purity of nature. All of this can be found in a snowflake. Profound heh!
But with the ever increasing number of gismos & gimmicks our clients bring on their hols – the smart phones, the apps, the go-pros – I can’t help feeling saddened and fearful they are missing the point a bit. These gadgets just seem to be distracting from, not enhancing our sport.
Isn’t the whole idea of a sojourn in the mountains to get away from it all? To hole up in one of Les Gets’ traditional chalets for a week or so and experience something alternative to normal life? To step outside, stop, take a deep breath and smell the roses? Or even better, the pines?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating we abandon the luxuries of modern living completely. Alpine Learning Curves could not exist if not for the internet and mobile technology and I could give instances where mobile phones have acted as wonderful lifesaving substitutes for avalanche transceivers. But we live here and work here, we are not seeking to get away from it all like our clients.
I can’t help feeling that some are so busy trying to capture the moment , thrusting it onto Facebook or Twitter before it has even passed that they are in danger of missing the moment altogether. Photographers & reporters usually observe events, they don’t participate. And what do you have left to tell your friends when you get home?
It’s as though a trip to the Alps is merely justification for going about with a camera on your head. Yet I hear London cyclists have been forced into similar measures purely out of self defence.
So if you want to indulge a passion for technology whilst on a snowsports holiday here are a few suggestions: Learn about ski bindings and din settings. Book a ski lesson and learn how to use a ski the way it is designed to be used. Go on an avalanche awareness course and be fascinated by the complexity and variety of snow. Learn how to use navigation technology in the mountains. Buy a head torch and go snow shoeing after dark.
Make it part of your Alpine Learning Curve.