The origins of skiing

In the northern most reaches of China, bordering, Russia, Mongolia, and Kazahkstan are the Altai mountains. The nomadic peoples of these maintains have been skiing for many centuries, perhaps longer. There is evidence that skiing may have originated in central Asia thousands of years ago. Nils Larsen has produced a film called Journey to the Source documenting how the peoples make skis and use them in everyday life.

Excerpt from Nils Larsen's Journey to the Source on the roots of skiing in China's Altai region.


Warren Smith and biomechanics

I noticed recently that Warren Smith has an interesting page on skiing. He talks about how biomechanics and psychology are not always taken into account by ski teachers and can contribute to skiers remaining at an intermediate level for longer. He lists some typical but not exhaustive issues that can be solved with more awareness: giving tips on diagnosis and remedies.

New Avalanche safety Design Concept wins Red Dot Design award

Avalanches are enormously dangerous. In the sixteen year period ending in 2001 over 82% of fatalities in avalanches were during recreational activity: skiing, climbing, snowboarding or snowmobiling.

The majority of victims that are buried are still alive. Little time is available to rescue buried victims, off-piste skiers carry avalanche equipment for this reason: the best chance of survival is for your buddy to dig you out. People die quickly buried in snow: research shows that in only half an hour chances of survival are decreased to 50%.

New aids for mountain enthusiasts are needed. A promising new design concept in the Red Dot design awards might be just the aid. It won first place in the Life Science category.


Get ready for winter now

I used to have a half-baked geocities site, adhoc html and little ordering. I was clearing out my disk and I came across it, and actually found a useful page (of unknown origin) which gave a ski training routine:

90 minutes of cardio-vascular. Elliptical cross-trainers are best. Do lower-intensity workout on two of the days, higher on the third.

(40 minutes of strengthening and agility training as circuit training)

  1. Squats (three sets) 15-25.
  2. Alternating front lunges with dumb-bells (1-3 sets) 15-25 reps with each leg
  3. Dumb bell step-ups (using a 30-45 cm step)

More Avalanche Awareness needed in Europe

Lucky nobody was killed in an avalanche this week in italy. European avalanche deaths are at a record high this year. There seems to be a growing trend of people riding irresponsibly. Riding off-piste needs awareness of where avalaches may or may-not happen. There has always been people who have wanted to ski the risky terrain. Perhaps it's a misunderstanding of the sport: new skool skiers don't ski off drops without the right equipment to be safe.

Skiing off piste without a guide or without the skills to analyse the snowpack is not just risky, it's stupid. Getting caught in an avalanche is not a pleasant experience, it is most likely that if you were to get caught in one that you cannot rely on the emergency services to rescue you. Transeivers are essential. Buried at any depth greater than a metre in an avalanche has next to none survival rates. If you do get trapped near the surface your friends need to rescue you quick. The energy and force of the Avalanche caused the snow so set very hard indeed.


Ski Green

The Ski Club of Great Britain is almost, if not, a year into it's green campaign Respect the Mountain. I've noticed that a number of national newspapers in the UK have green-ski articles. The independant recently asked is it possible to ski without affecting the environment. The biggest way to cut down on environmental damage, is unfortunately not to fly. As they put it:

CO2 emissions directly threaten the future of your favourite resort.[Take the train]


Desert Skiing

Have it all, go on a beach holiday in Dubai and go skiing. Dubai now has what must be the largest snow-dome, which opened in December. Their longest run is four hundred meter run dropping 60 meters. To gain a sense of perspective they have installed a quad-chairlift inside.


Models of learning: teaching for the student

In educational psychology it has long been known that people learn in a very individual way. To be an effective teacher or mentor, especially for new subjects, it is better to understand how the pupil learns--- to have a model representing how the pupil learns. Ski teachers in Canada do this; they have a concept of Student Centred Teaching. The model is quite simple and is works with most people that learn to ski. Pupils will fall, when learning into one of the categories:

Learns by watching. A good listener, prefers to be last in a group.
Practical and functional. Explainations have little meaning, learns by doing.
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