Saturday, January 29, 2011

Competition: X Games

The X Games, perhaps the largest and most prestigious freestyle wintersports competition in the world, started on thursday and has lived up to its legacy for pure and unpredictable adrenaline sports. There have already been gold, silver and bronze medals handed out and the weekend action has not yet begun. Surprises always seem to snake their way into these types of competition, so far most notably Shaun White's first failure to qualify for a final (this time it was in slopestyle) in his X Games Career, Torstein Horgmo's stomp of a triple cork to win him gold in the snowboard big air final late last night and the drama in Ski Men's Superpipe. Check out the X Games 2011 site and watch all the action on ESPN (if you're in the States).

X Games Site

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wintersports: Sensations

Wintersports are all about feeling, touching, interacting. From when you put your boots on in the morning to the last chair of the day, all you do is be. Sensing the wind, biting and frigid, the snow, cool and crisp, and the atmosphere of the cold. Step out the door.

Click in. From that moment onwards the day unfolds. Snake your way to the chairlift and be swept off your feet by a soft pad because to some it's all about the down. The sound of skis edging through the snow, the perfection of their edges, gripping, slithering. At the bottom. And what is the true beauty of these sports? You just do it again, and keep doing it, all day.

To me, snow is just a feeling. You can sense when it's going to fall. It carries no gravity, it is still, silent, pure. The whole day is one large feeling that no man can quite put his finger on, but knows nonetheless. It fits somewhere between purity, intensity and vitality. Some may think this a broad range, but all three are closely associated. If they were pigments suspended in the form of paint, all three mixed together would form a color that is not so much understood, but if it is applied correctly it is felt.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Race: Biathlon Mass Start

A false start always makes it that much more intense. But they’re off second try. You can hardly call him a leader, but the man in first is being chased down by a mass of the best of the best winter biathletes. The location, stunning. The athletes, top of their game. The race, excruciatingly intense.

            The big mountains of South Tirol loom over perhaps the most unpredictable type of race on skis, the mass start. As they approach the first shooting position they, in the back of their minds, are shouting at themselves that “every shot counts!” The first shooting finished, the first true show of the unpredictability of the mass start biathlon, where every shot missed means a penalty lap where all those covering the extra meters are hitting themselves over missing the shots. First place before the shooting relegated to eleventh. Finally, the monstrous multitude is broken up, and the leaders emerge. But just as they’re settling in the rhythm of skiing, time to shoot, and again, the drama unfolds. The hectic trading of places, the frantic rising from the prone position, and back on the trail.

            It’s warm in Antholz, and the sun radiates off the perfection of the snow. Approaching the third round of shooting, the leading pack is clear and well defined, but the shooting takes its toll on even the most accurate athletes. Oh yeah, that pack I spoke about? Both shaken and stirred. Formerly a group of maybe 8, the pack was ground down to a group of four, two of whom have not missed a single shot on the day.

            The final shooting proves always to be the decisive one. The former leader, previously perfect, misses two agonizing shots. The winner becomes apparent, and at this point the race is for the bottom of the podium, where three athletes fight for the coveted medals. They bring the fight to each other until that final shady finish line. As the last athletes arrive, their skis scraping the coarse ice, the crowd starts to disperse, and, 40 minutes after the starting gun fired, it’s all over.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New trend: Bamboo

You look at all types of skis, at their details, glance at the core material and there's the word. Bamboo. The whole world of sports is having its eyes opened to the wonders of bamboo. You can find bamboo bicycles, tennis rackets and even bamboo shoes. But is it just a "green trend"? Or is it here to stay?

Liberty Helix Ski
Morphic, Shogun, Helix. All names of skis with bamboo cores. Experts say that bamboo skis are lighter, snappier and more responsive. There is plenty of bamboo available because it can grow in such a range of environments. Price, availability and performance are all lobbying in bamboo's favor, but processing and deforestation are speaking against it. Although bamboo grows all over the place, the kind of bamboo used for skis and snowboards and other sorts of things are the really huge, thick and durable kind found only in parts of eastern asia. Harvesting this bamboo causes loss of habitat for Pandas and other sorts of cute animals. But tell me what you think? Good to go? Or gotta go?

Liberty Skis
Salomon Skis
Wikipedia Bamboo Article

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Skis: Fat-Ypus

Fat-Ypus. Bet you can't guess where it comes from. If you look at an image of a platypus, you'll see a wide and platform-like nose and tail. That and snowboards is where the idea for fat skis came from. About six years ago, company founder Jared Mazlish observed that snowboarders had superior flotation in powder snow. He conceived a design for a "super-fat" ski (140mm wide underfoot) that would give the skier more lift in the especially deep snow of the west. This revolutionary ski, called the A-Lotta, was popular immediately with the skiers of the deeper snow or backcountry. Considering it handled so well in the backcountry it was astonishing how it performed on hardpack and other snowpacks. It was a Freeskier Magazine editor's pick from the year it was released. Today, both Fat-Ypus and the A-Lotta are staples in the freeskiing community. The main questions remain though. How fat can we go? How fat should we go? What'd y'all say?

Fat-Ypus handmade skis,
Freeskier Magazine.


This, as you may imagine, is a blog about new technologies in wintersports. It'll tell and show you about new technologies that are revolutionizing sports like skiing and snowboarding. To start out i'll give you a link to a video explaining this exact progression; . Tell me what you think.