Namaste PaleoPosse! I have returned from my winter-walkabout a changed man; changed in the sense that I have been SAVED by the power that is SCIENCE! PRAISE SCIENCE!
Er, actually, I haven’t been saved myself, but my ski has! Today I’ve come to tell you a tale about how Ryan and I used SCIENCE on the slopes of SnowShoe Ski Resort in West Virginia, to find my missing ski!
So here’s the story:
Ryan and I met up at SnowShoe on December 28th, 2010. There may or may not have been hugs involved.
Being as hardcore as we are, we proceed directly to SnowShoe’s infamous DOUBLE-BLACK DIAMOND trail: Shay’s Revenge. One shot of moonshine later, I proceed to blindly jump off a 10ft precipice, directly into Ryan’s path (who is cutting a turn below me). Our bodies exhibited a classic example of an elastic collision, as my head bounced off of Ryan’s boot. Luckily, it was only my head.
Again, being as badass as we are, we were relatively un-phased by the incident, and proceeded to “tear-up the mountain,” as-it-were. Little did we know that my ski’s binding had been knocked slightly out of alignment, creating the metaphorical TICKING TIME BOMB, directly on my left foot. Had I only known…
Later in the day, having grown tired of Shay’s Revenge, we decide to check out the terrain park and see if there are any wimpy snowboarders that need schooling in how to THRASH. (Sidenote: Ryan and I ski on what are known as Skiboards, or Skiblades. They were popular about 10 years ago, until people realized that you had to be real pro to THRASH on them. Needless to say, we were pro enough, and we still own them.) At this point, my ego was a little higher than it should have been (just barely), and I arrogantly decide to jump off of one of the two “Big Jumps” without first scoping out the landing. I was going for something like this…
But the ramp was CLEARLY not regulation, as it turned into something like this…
At this point, the TICKING TIME BOMB is let loose, and I somehow lose my ski and it begins to blaze down the mountain like Charlie sprinting after a 1970’s style can of PBR.
So that you can understand the following circumstances, I’ve drawn up a few diagrams. The figures below represent the hill, ramp, and surrounding geography.
You see, what happened was… I bit it on the ice-y landing zone, and then my ski went down the hill, then up and over the smaller ramp, at which point I lost sight of it. I ski’d on one-foot after it as soon as I got up, but when I got to the ramp it went over, it was gone.
And I was sad.
I had those skiboards for around 6 years, and they treated me very well. I was pretty upset at the thought of losing one (although, they were getting pretty beat up). Also, it was only 1:30PM, and I still had 2.5 hours of skiing left! GRR!
So Ryan and I walked up and down the hill for about 10 minutes looking for it… we were looking for trails in the powder along the outskirts of the trails, but there was nothing! You would think that the ski would eventually make it to the edge of the trail, then float over some powder before sinking down… But alas, our efforts were fruitless (FRUITLESS I SAY!), as the powder was just as pristine as the moment it fell.
So at this point, I told Ryan to go ahead and enjoy the rest of his ski-day alone, and I was going to spend as much time as I could trying to find that damn ski. And since my first instinct had failed me, I knew that I had to pull out my trusty friend, SCIENCE!
So… Having one ski is pretty much just as useless as having no skis, right? Sure, you can kinda ski on one ski, but it’s pretty difficult, and the lift operators will only let you go up ONCE (bastards). So I figured that if I happened to lose my other ski in an attempt to find the lost ski, then it really wouldn’t change my predicament much.
I then designed A TEST! I walked back up the hill to the point at which I ever-so-gracefully bit-the-proverbial-dust, and gently shoved my remaining ski down the hill, in relatively the same path I had seen my lost ski follow. My first attempt was too weak, as it didn’t even make it over the next ramp, so I tried again, and this time I put a little mustard on it…
And yes, this time I had someone watching the ski after it went over the ramp. And this time, we saw what happened…
The ski immediately took a turn after the ramp, and headed into the powder. And even though the top of the powder was even with the top of the packed-snow on the slope, the ski DID NOT float over the powder at all! Instead, it immediately sank in and disappeared.
Since I had seen it disappear this time, I jumped into the powder (appx. 4 ft of it! Lots of fun…) and started flailing my arms in the manner of someone who is “actively drowning”, and found the test-ski within about 5 seconds.
So now I knew approximately how the lost ski probably behaved after it went over the ramp. The only thing which would have made a difference is how fast the original lost ski was travelling. So I started a search-grid in the powder, approximately 8 feet by 30 feet, and started digging.
It was a tiring process, and after what seemed like forever, lo-and-behold I actually found it!!
And wouldn’t you know it, Ryan showed up no more than 30 seconds later to see how I was doing. After fixing the binding and securing the ski to my boots, we headed off for another hour and a half of highly-dangerous and adrenaline pumping ski-action. Epic Win.