Are skiers gamblers? I started thinking about that when COVID-19 prematurely ended the season. A lot of people purchased season passes of one form or another, never expecting early termination.

What odds would bookmakers have given last fall of that happening?

Skiing always involves some degree of considered risk and reward, not unlike many casino games, or life in general.

That patch of powder is inviting, but are there roots or rocks? 

If I take that unknown trail, will I wind up where I don’t want to be?

Buying skis without trying them is a risk. Buying boots without an expert to fit them also is a gamble.

 

When I used to leave the house early and drive two hours for a day of skiing, there were times I didn’t know whether it would be raining or snowing by the time I reached the hill. I remember decades ago driving through steady rain for more than an hour, gambling that by the time I reached the foothills, it would change to snow. It did, and I had a great day.

But taking a chance isn’t always rewarded. Many scheduled their annual ski holiday for mid-March or later. At the time, they didn’t know they were taking a chance. Now, we all do.

On a grander scale, we’ve been gambling with the environment for years. Many favor short-term gain over the terrifying long-term risk. As skiers, that gamble is showing a losing hand in areas closing due to lack of snow or the cold temps needed to run their guns.

Supporting that gamble is the understanding that we’ve entered a time when scientific fact is being challenged by uninformed personal opinion. When information sources were few, it was easier for the majority to know the difference between truth and falsehood. But now, with the explosion of information sources and with aggressive blurring of the borders between true and false, the idea that fictions can be perceived as facts has settled in. Those promoting our “post-truth” gestalt do it to confuse and manipulate; to conquer through confusion. 

Like the sport of skiing, accepting the new post-truth standard involves a very slippery slope. It is risky. And, except for those promoting these fictitious agendas, the rewards are nil.

Vail Reports March/April $ Loss

COVID-19 closures caused the company to announce its operating revenues for March and April will be around $200 million lower than expected.

Members Purchase Vermont’s Hermitage Club

Several former members raised $8+ million to buy southern Vermont’s Hermitage Club. The purchase includes Haystack ski area, the accompanying golf course, and numerous structures and inns.

SkiSkating with Snowfeet

The areas may be closed but many of us are living where there’s still snow on the ground. Recently I came across a new alternative to snowshoeing and X-C skiing. Snowfeet is a well built ski/skate that attaches to any winter boot. Once on, it lets you take off on flats or slopes with or without a set of poles. The company sent me a pair at the beginning of the season, and I loaned them to Brian Doubek, a friend in his early 50s who is an enthusiastic backcountry skier and an accomplished skater. He immediately determined that Snowfeet is best used on hardpack. He said the buckles were easy to use and effective. His observation was that weight needs to be centered over the product and using a skier’s stance with weight forward against the tongue of the boot won’t work. The FAQ section of Snowfeet’s website asks the question: Is it hard to learn? Their answer states: “It is as hard as learning to ski. So it takes some time and you will definitely fall now and then, but that’s the part of the fun.” I have yet to try Snowfeet, but expect that the learning curve is much, much shorter than learning to ski. Every time I passed the company’s exhibit at the SIA/OR Snow Show, it looked like retailers were showing interest. Snowfeet are very nicely designed, well manufactured and beautifully packaged. The company put together this short video of people trying Snowfeet for the first time. Their average age looks substantially younger than that of our readers. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the product, as well. They’re lightweight, fit easily in a pack, and look like they are a helluva lot of fun! They cost about $150, shipping included.

70% Off Parkas and Ski Pants!

During it’s end-of-season clearance, Vermont-based Orsden, is selling its parkas and ski pants at a 70% discount. Orsden sells exclusively on line.  Men’s and women’s jackets, normally $330, are now $99. Ski pants, normally $200, are $75. I’ve worn the parka for 3 or 4 seasons and love it. It looks great, wears well, and has nifty features like a built-in goggle cloth. The company is donating 10% of purchases made through April 1 to the Vermont Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund to support non-profits addressing the public health and economic impacts of the disease. Click orsden.com to learn more.

Cabin Fever Cures

Source: Getty Images

In the past week you’ve probably received many notifications of free online diversions. Here are a few more that you may find inspiring (or at least entertaining):

Visit Portugal produced this video providing advice and hope

Travel and Leisure offers these virtual tours of several US national parks

National Public Radio has these virtual concerts

Patagonia offers documentary films and stories.

And finally…

This video by a physician in Grand Rapids (MI) explains a logical way to shop for and sanitize groceries before putting them away. It also covers what to do with restaurant take-out.

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, the lines between “scientific fact” and “uninformed personal opinion” have blurred considerably over the last few decades. Hardly a month goes by without a “scientific study” being shown to be false, due to personal bias of the initiators of the study, poor methodology, misrepresentation of the study authors’ financial interests and pandering to special interest groups like the pharmaceutical industry. In my opinion, sometimes our “gut feelings” about something are right on. And, in my opinion, folks who don’t take gambles now and then, don’t get to experience life to the fullest and often spend their later years filled with regrets of what they could have done.

    • Avatar Jon Weisberg says:

      Tom, No question that risk is part of life and often leads to greater reward and fullfillment. On the subject of bias in scientific studies, you are correct. They can be manipulated to reflect the interests of sponsors and others. It’s difficult to know with certainty unless you have personal knowledge of the subject matter. That’s where legitimate news reporting plays a role. Even in that arena there may be inherent bias. I subscribe to the idea of healthy and informed skepticism in most situations but tend to place greater credence on information from subject expert than on a source based solely on the gut. I hope your decisions — whether based on science or gut — continue to deliver a full and healthy life and many more seasons. Jon

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