I am constantly amazed what technology has available for everyday schlubbs like me. I just purchased an I-Phone 5. I know – so what Pat? Hundred’s of thousands of people have the 5. But you must understand that for me- this is a big deal. I am having fun learning how to use it and the advantages of the I-Phone are revealed to my feeble mind every day. Take the App called Alpine Replay. My snowboarding friend Daryl Hasley( a technical guru and excellent snowboarder) set me up with this App to log information on my western ski trip. Once you log in, the App knows what area you are skiing, how many runs you took, what distance you covered, how fast your sustained speed was, what your highest speed was and the all important -vertical drop. For those of you not familiar with the term, vertical drop is a measurement of vertical distance covered by a skier. If the mountain has a maximum height of 7,000 feet, for example, and the base where the chair lift is at 5500 feet, the run that you skied to get to that chair had a vertical drop of 1500 vertical feet. Skiers measure their days by runs and vertical drop covered. When you Heli-Ski, the company guarantees so many feet of vertical drop to the client, or the company reimburses the skier for vertical drop not achieved. Conversely, if the skiers are doing well and the weather is good, they may go over their guarantee in which case the client must pay extra for the additional vertical drop. It is a measurement that is bragging rights to most skiers and the Alpine Replay App can tell you the statistics at the end of the day/week.
The cool thing about this App is that you can also measure yourself against others who are using it. Alpine Replay has users all over the world. I showed this to our group of guys this week and the challenge was on to beat the weekly record for vertical drop. I have blogged about our group in previous posts but suffice to say that we had our usual lineup of old guys who can ski. Eric Durfee is our fearless leader and annual host who lives in Tahoe. Mark Hutchinson and Proctor Reid are two of Eric’s buddies who grew up together in Vermont. Hutch was a former race coach at Stowe and Proctor raced for Dartmouth. Rounding out the group this year was another friend of Eric’s from college -Bart Smith who lives in Seattle and raced with Eric at Cornell. An extremely strong skier, Bart is a great guy and had a similar App called Ski Tracks spinnning on his I-Phone. These guys all ski hard every day and for a bunch of 58 year old guys, they are in tremendous shape and love to ski long and hard. The App was a perfect incentive to go “bell to bell.”
We skied several areas where the chalenging terrain made it difficult to log excessive vertical drop. However, on the day that we decided to crush the record for the week, we skied Northstar at Tahoe which has long flowing trails that are groomed to perfection allowing high speed turns and runs accompanied by fast high speed chairlifts. This is the perfect scenario for racking up maximum vertical drop. As we monitored our progress, we knew that we had to beat 47,000 vertical drop for the day which was the standing record by a guy from Mt. Snow,Vermont followed by another guy from Copper Mountain, Colorado. We had seen each of these guys records for the last couple of days and decided it would be fun to break their complacency by crushing their record. We hammered run after run right on each others heels down the smooth and flowing trails. As we entered the chair lift lines, we didn’t waste any time getting on the chair, exiting at the top and launching ourselves back down fast trails like Railsplitter, Challenge,and Washoe. We had to be careful of other guests at the resort who were moseying around the trails. The downhill skier has the right of way and we bore that in mind always as we rocketed past them on our quest for speed and distance. At about 3:45 I was just about out of battery and I didn’t want to lose the statistics so I uploaded the results, hit “OK” and my statistics( our statistics) came up in first place with 57,835 vertical feet logged. We took 35 runs to do it and we had the satisfaction to know that we crushed the guys from Vermont and Colorado even though we only know their name as Tom and Dan. But somewhere out there in cyber land, we were sure that they were crying in their beer when their effort for the day had been eclipsed by a bunch of has beens. But we loved it as we quaffed our end of the day pilseners at the base lodge bar.
The next day, we had another opportunity at Mt. Rose,Nevada. Same scenario- smooth groomed trails and really fast chairlifts. Actually Rose has the fastest chairs in Tahoe according to Eric and without much effort, the merry band of geriatric GS turners racked up 50,000 vertical feet. Had we not had a leisurely lunch, we may have broken the record again but we ended up second to the guy from Vermont by 1000 vertical feet. He probably felt good to be on top again not to realize that with just a little effort by the old guys, he would be crying in his beer again.
The App was a lot of fun on this trip and it gave some guys from our group some incentive long after the starting gates and slalom and GS courses have become distant memories. We still like to ski hard and fast and every year we vow to stay in shape so we can come back the next year and the next year and the year after that. ” Do not go gently into that good night…….Rage, Rage against the dying of the light.” Thanks for reading.