Maybe I’m becoming that grumpy old man, but the steady stream of videos about backcountry skiers being avalanched away, the drone videos of sharks swimming perilously close to surfers, and the reports of elk and buffalo attacking people with no common sense are getting to me.

Who in their right mind would try to pet a large wild animal and not expect some consequence? I once knew a woman whose passion was hiking in grizzly territory. She thought of herself as a bear-whisperer, probably influenced by a popular movie at the time. She encountered lots of big bears. Fortunately, she was never attacked. Looking back on that and other decisions she made, I think she had congenitally bad judgment.

We see this type of poor judgment when people drink and drive. Or when they back up and over a cliff taking a selfie.

Authorities recently retrieved the body of a Lake Tahoe drowning victim. It was the deepest water body recovery in US history. The poor fellow had jumped out of the rental boat to take a selfie. He neglected to put the engine in neutral. Hardly good judgment.

We camp with a cautious couple. They’ve guided us to remote and risky locations, but consistently exercise good judgment.  Driving back from a lakeside gathering with several vehicles, he made it clear he would go first, stop at the first intersection for the others to meet and continue doing that until we reached pavement. Nobody got lost taking a wrong turn.

A few years ago my wife asked that I no longer hike alone into remote areas, something I had done for years in the wilderness around our home in south central Utah. At first I resisted, but then agreed. What would happen if I took a fall or twisted an ankle? 

That’s a lesson for solo skiers. It may not apply to skiing smaller areas or if you stay on trail. But at large resorts where some of us like to go into the woods, it’s always best to buddy-up. If that’s not an option, be sure to enter the area’s phone number or that of its ski patrol into your cell phone. You never know when it might come in handy.

And since cell reception can be spotty, always, ALWAYS, carry a very loud whistle in your parka. Three loud blasts, repeated every 15-20 seconds should attract attention. I googled “loudest hiking whistles.” Some are metal; some plastic; some have compass and other doodads Not one was more than $25, and most were much cheaper.

The greatest form of protection for any outdoors enthusiast, young or old, is that behavior known as common sense. readers are older. That means we should be wiser. Use your noggin and minimize risk.

SeniorsSkiing Classifieds

More detail on our new Classified Advertising section elsewhere in this issue. It evolved mainly from reader input. Many of you expressed interest in meeting contemporaries with whom you could ski. Classifieds also give you the opportunity to sell things, offer services, etc. Among other things, we hope that ski clubs offering trips to non-members will use the service. Introductory cost of advertising is as low as it goes: $1 for four weeks of advertising, as long as the ad is placed before November 13. After that the rates increase, but they’re reasonable. It’s all self-service. Click on “Classified Advertising” on the Menu Bar, then click Place Your Ad. You’ll need to agree to the Terms. Then pay by credit card. We’re using a secure third party service for transactions. Have some vintage ski-related item you’d like to sell? Give it a try.

British Medical Journal: More Exercise = Lower Risk of Early Death

Higher levels of physical activity — regardless of intensity — are associated with lower risk of early death in middle aged and older people, according to a study of 36,383 adults aged at least 40 years. The observational  study, conducted at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences in Oslo was published recently in the British Medical Journal. Average age of participants: 62. Resulting guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise weekly or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. Findings also show that being sedentary (e.g. sitting still, for 9.5 hours or more a day) is associated with increased risk of death.

New Warren Miller Virtual Film Tour


Future Retro (watch trailer by clicking above) will stream on East Coast Saturday, November 7; Central and Mountain regions Saturday, November 14, and West Coast,Saturday, November 21. Each showing is being supported by regional sponsors and will have offers, prizes and giveaways. Price is $30 for up to 4 people per ticket. Visit the Warren Miller website for details and to purchase tickets.

Vote for Your Favorite X-C Area

USA Today, Cross Country Ski Areas Association and Nordic Group International are inviting votes to determine USA Today’s 2020 Best Cross Country Ski Resorts. Click here to cast yours

Department of Over-the-Top Skis 

Source: Foil Skis

Foil is an Italian custom ski maker. Its website states: Foil Skis are the truest expression of our lifelong desire to create authentic “High Performance Art…” Like a Master Chef, the team at Foil has learned not only how to select the finest ingredients but also how to combine them in a way that has produced a ski which is every bit as breathtakingly beautiful as it is a sheer joy to ride. The company’s special edition Oro-Nero model has a top-sheet of 8000 year-old bog oak and is equipped with 14 karat gold bindings. Each purchase is accompanied by gold-plated poles, a flask, and a hand-stitched leather carry bag. My inquiry about cost has gone unanswered.

US Traffic Deaths Declining

Click here to visit an interesting, interactive “heat map” ranking states by the number of traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles. The data, presented by, was compiled in 2018 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration & Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Princeton Ski Club

Looking forward to speaking next Tuesday with the Princeton (NJ) Ski and Sail Club about and the coming season. It will be the club’s first meeting of the season and its first via Zoom.



  1. You are not becoming grumpy Jon, just wiser. I also carry a small canned boat air horn. About $15. Its very easy to be with friends and get caught in a sudden small blizzard. You can loose contact vision only 20 ft away and accidentally ski into a dangerous situation alone.

    • The air horn also scares the dickens out of bears…from a much greater distance than bear spray. Seen it, done it. Usually leave the bear spray behind.

  2. No you are not getting grumpy, like the many of us you wondering what is going on with these people? There have always been individuals challenged by a lack of common sense, its just now they are able to easily share their genius with the rest of us. My theory is the sharing just gives other common sense challenged folks more ideas. In the words of the famous philosopher, Forrest Gump, “Stupid is as stupid does”!

    Unfortunately, those without common sense are putting our first responders, volunteer rescuers, rangers, game wardens and the rest of us in harms way.

  3. And it’s not just out West. We have had three deaths lately from hiking in the White Mountains. And those folks were not fools. Be careful.

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