Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I shot a man in Reno
Just to watch him die

I have been a snowboarding fool of late.

It snowed hard on Saturday and then dropped another 6 - 10 inches in and around Bozeman last night. It was really hard not to play hooky today.

On Sunday, I got "cliffed out" on the North Summit Snowfield. What does that mean, you say?

Well, let's back up a bit. To ski the North Summit, you have to check in with patrol and sign up to ski it. They allow groups down every 15 minutes. You must have a partner; you must have a working avalanche beacon; you must have a shovel; you must have an avalanche probe. Helmets are strongly encouraged.

All of the above restrictions are because the North Summit Snowfield is very steep, and avalanche prone. So steep, in fact, that in parts, the mountain "rolls over" and you cannot see what is below you.

Like cliffs, for example.

I was with my friend, Bill, who actually patrolled at Big Sky for 8 years. He's got the sweet hookup like Pedro's bike, except free lift tickets and beers in the patrol shack at the end of the day.

The snow was so good, and so freaking deep that we stayed in this chute a little too long. We needed to cut left, and missed it by 50 yards. We were having too much fun ripping down in a small self-created slide. (Not a dangerous one... just about a foot or so of snow, sliding down around us at roughly the same speed we were moving.)

Annnnnnd, cliff.

We stopped in time. I spent the next 20 minutes trying not to shit my pants as I clung to the side of the mountain, on my snowboard, inching across a steep rock band and praying to sweet baby jesus, his mother, full-grown jesus, bearded on stage at a Skynrd concert. All the jesuses, really.

And that, friends, is "getting cliffed out."

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7 Comments:

Blogger Heidi on Vashon said...

Oh my god. Talk about a made-for-tv movie! Glad you are okay. Get back into life, with depends. :)

9:25 AM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

That is why you live your life, and I live mine.

Glad you made it though ok.

Perhaps they should include "clean pair of underwear" on the list.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow
you have got to pay attention !!
how many times have I told you...something shiney...
what was I saying ?

Oh yes...so after that we just went on with our day.
(Glad...really glad you didn't die. But..if you were gonna...that would ave been a great way to go..at least it was doing something you love)

ktop

10:32 AM  
Blogger Eve Grey said...

My friend was heli-skiing in Golden a few months ago & on about their 6th run of the day, the helicopter crashed, propellers got torn off & the pilot died. There was a big storm coming in & they had to wait a few hours to be rescued & couldn't get the pilot's body until the next day. Very sad. I don't really know how your story segued into this...but there it is.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Builder Mama said...

How you didn't shit your pants is beyond me. I'm with Gretchen though, they should definitely add "spare undies" to the list.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Quagmire said...

In order to shit one must employ the parasympathetic nervous system, the so called "feed and breed" half of the autonomic nervous system. The other half, the one that results in the "fight or flight" response, is known as the sympathetic nervous system. Thus, when faced with a really terrifying situation and the fight or flight response kicks in, your body actually shuts down the response that allows you to poop and revs up the system that, in fact, tighten your gastrointestinal sphincters and prevents defecation. Therefore, it would actualy be surprising if The Dude had shat himself upon cliffing-out. Now, occasionally you can have engamement of the sympathetic nervous system with enhancement of voluntary muscle contractions, for example your abdominal muscles. This may actually raise intraabdominal pressure sufficiently to overpower your parasympathetically contracted anal sphincter, resulting in expulsion of feces. However, I happen to be intimately familiar with the esteemed author of this blog and I can assure all that he, in fact, has supreme anal sphincter tone and would not have run into any incontinence problems. And with that, I fade back once again into my semi-hermitage...

11:42 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

nice quagmire...

I do have marvelous sphincter tone, despite my stretch in county for boosting cars.

3:51 PM  

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