Worst Ideas of the Week
by Peter Shelton
Oct 30, 2009 | 1422 views | 4 4 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print

1. Get yourself a TV show, or at least get yourself famous, by pretending to—oops OMG, help! help!—accidentally send your six-year-old aloft in a homemade Jiffy-pop balloon.

2. Get Sarah Palin and Fred Thompson to endorse your candidacy for political office.

3. Actually seriously try to follow the tongue-in-cheek directions in Skiing magazine this month on how to make an emergency (tobacco) pipe out of a snowball.

Speaking of smoking, what are ski company executives thinking as they unveil a myriad new ski-related smartphone applications? Ski magazine, in an article on “essential gear,” says “Smartphones are becoming as critical a component of a ski day as snow.”

The head hurts. The heart sinks. The mind reels at the compounding evidence that mankind is going to hell in a hand basket.

No, really. They’re serious. Want to know where you are on the mountain at any given moment? Don’t look around, whip out your iPhone and fire up the global positioning system digital trail map, and it’ll tell you in just a few seconds. Yes, there you are, right there. That dot there on the liquid crystal display. Whew! For a minute there you thought you were lost!

Want to know what the weather is doing? Don’t look to the sky, don’t listen for the wind, just push a few buttons on your Blackberry (the gloves are a bother, aren’t they?) and get the latest from the national weather service! Or the resort’s own website, updated regularly every morning!

Need to know what the snow is doing under your skis? Why bother relying on your own observations, punch up the avalanche information center nearest you (there are at least four or five of them across the western United States) and find out from the experts just how scary your situation really is!

I’m not making this up. The Ski article actually begins with some Salt Lake City braintrust “standing on a high peak in the Wasatch Range” dialing up the Utah Avalanche Center because he “wondered if the snow conditions had changed since he embarked on a daylong backcountry ski tour.”

The people pushing these wonderful new tools for skiers don’t mention the terrifying enfeeblement of the mind assumed by their technology. They must believe their audience is already a race of Pavlovian mice. “Customers expectations have fundamentally changed,” says Andy Wirth, a senior vice president for Intrawest, the resort giant that operates Whistler, B.C., and Steamboat, Colo., among others. “They want information on the fly, up to the minute, and on site. It’s our job to provide it.”

Crucial information like which base-area restaurant has sent you an e-coupon since you last unzipped for your ringing phone. Or who hit the top speed back there when you and your buddies were tuckin’ that awesome schuss down to the liftline. And who racked up the most vertical feet today, you or that a-hole Alan who’s always bragging about how many verts he scored when you know damn sure he’s lying through his teeth. And who doesn’t want to know exactly how many minutes you spent riding chairlifts on this awesomest day of your life? And then have your phone automatically upload all that stuff to your computer at home! Dude!

“This is how people live their lives today,” quoth the sage, Andy Wirth. “It should be seamless when they come to the mountains.”

Oh, really? Seamless? Yeah, that’s what I’m looking for when I travel, when I vacation. No change at all. No sentient challenges. No eyes wide listening for clues. No living jolt from having to figure out a new place, a new environment, new air, new gravity. Heaven forbid I take on responsibility for my own decisions. No, I don’t want to be without my cyber friends for even one minute. Don’t want to miss anything. Wonder where Marsha and them are at? Whoa! F*%$! Watch out, asshole! You almost ran me over! Shit! Yeah, well, I was just puttin’ mine away. You were f*&%$ing fixated on yours! You know you were!

Peter Shelton’s blog is peterhshelton.wordpress.com
Comments-icon Post a Comment
old school
November 04, 2009
I'm so old school I don't even wear ski boots. I ski barefoot and it hurts but I do it. That's how they did it back before ski boots came out. I don't use a cell phone either, I just yell back and forth really loud. Avalung? Shucks, I stuff a tube down one of my lungs and suck, homemade avalung. If you can grow your goosebumps big enough you don't need clothes either. All I wear is a headband and legwarmers (it's winter Mr.Dumass)

I got rid of my 20 year old toyota as well since I learned how to skip to where I'm going. It's quicker than walking and makes me feel alive. Yep, people should be more like me, the true mountain man, not like the posers who live in Ophir and use ski boots. I'm so gnarly I live in Pophir, the next even burlier valley up above that's so core nobody even knows about it.
Darwin to the rescue
November 03, 2009
If we're lucky, evolution will even things out. We just have to get those people who are completely dependent on cellphones, personal locators, GPS, i-phone weather etc. in a position where nature - who doesn't care how many bars you have - can select them out.

Telski is doing its part by giving them easy access to the terrain. But we all have a responsibility to help, too. This year when you come across a bunch of gear heads at the new Reggae gate, avalungs in mouth and i-phones in hand checking avi conditions and looking at GPS maps to figure out where to go, just tell 'em it's a straight shot all the way down. It's our evolutionary duty, and there's no app for that.
Gary Eschman
November 03, 2009
It's a world gone mad . . .

Dianne and other members of 'Santa Fe Search & Rescue' have T-Shirts . . .

. . . on the back they're inscribed:

"Santa Fe Search & Rescue"

"Lifeguards at the shallow end of the gene pool"

Which might offer a solution . . . .

Disband all 'Search & Rescue teams'

No more Search & Rescue operations

. . and pull all ski patrol off the mountains . .

Fuck 'em . . . let the yuppies w/ their electronic gizmos figure it out for themselves . . .

. . . rather than waste other people's time

Gary Eschman

Santa Fe, NM

November 01, 2009
It is a seamless integration into the "dark side"; as if there's a virtual "death star" being built to provide a false illusion that we're somehow in control of nature.

The bubble around Telluride is being pieced together ... slowly but surely importing all the "finer things" which big cities have to offer.

Some individuals exist in this location only to profit on the construction of the death star, while others fearfully seek to insure it's completion to assuage their fears ... not realizing the force within them is much more accessible without the false dome they seek to construct.

I must admit, I do carry a cell phone with me on the mountain snowboarding ... but hey, it's 6 year old model & I only bring it along in case I wake up in trees with a broken limb or what not.

I suppose we all have limits as individuals, but how much padding do we really need?