Thursday, September 30, 2010

When snowboarders get hurt who pays?

The issue of liability at a snowboard or ski resort may seem pretty boring. After all, we're not attorneys, we're snowboarders. Yet, it affects nearly all of us.

If the resort is responsible for serious hand-holding (or facing litigation), they will need to make the runs less challenging and raise their rates even more to cover potential legal litigation.

In Colorado, they're exempt from being sued for injuries that occur when snowboarding or skiing, unless the injury comes from extremely poor practices. The Colorado legislature realized, in an all-too-rare moment of brilliance, that snow sports are inherently dangerous and that neither resorts or your mommy can guarantee your safety.

Apparently, that wisdom doesn't extend to British Columbia. They just sued Whistler-
Blackcomb for injuries suffered by a snowboarder in 2008. It's a large lawsuit. You can read about it here.

Don't misunderstand my feelings on this. I think the injured rider should be cared for and, as much as possible, treated for her injuries. However, I don't think the burden should fall solely on the resort.

Some will argue that this is Canada and won't affect our laws. Trust me - it might not immediately affect us but it will eventually.

Some may argue that, since the resort makes revenue from the sport, it should pay for any injuries that occur. However, because these injuries can be so expensive, one or two could put a resort out of business or double lift fees.

With other things, we amortize the risk over a larger population base. If you get injured while riding your Honda motorcycle unskillfully, you can't sue Honda because it didn't offer training wheels. Still, I believe society would ultimately foot the bill. A little consistency would be good.

Living in Japan, I see many resorts that close off all but the most boring of trails. I'd hate to see that as the new standard.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mayonanaise spreads danger in Japan

Anyone visiting Japan is rapidly struck by the preponderance of mayonnaise. It's everywhere...sushi bars, pizza joints, pubs, and regular restaurants have taken to globbing on the slimy spread. It's a threat to Japanese food quality, good taste and waistlines all through the Asian island. But that wasn't enough!

Now, mayonnaise has directly attacked folks!

According to the Examiner - a fine source if there ever was one - several boxes of mayo fell out of a delivery truck and smeared the highway when struck. That led to wipeouts including a motorcycle and seven other vehicles.

Police are investigating to be sure the culprit doesn't slip away.

There's even a video of the horror!

As always, if you can't see the video, go to and see the whole smear.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Snowboarding video highlights

This homemade snowboard video is from a guy IDing himself as Pow Explorer. He named it, apparently from the background music, Snake Eyes in Heaven. rocks.

He did a great job filming and choosing highlights. While I'm not an advocate of sleds for backcountry snowboarding, they take a minimum amount of space on the flick.

To see more snowboarding videos, go here and here and here.

If you can't see this video or links, go to and see everything.

Snake Eyes in Heaven from Pow Explorer on Vimeo.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Zucchini defeats bear

I always wanted to write that headline and now, according to the Associated Press, it's true.

A Montana woman had let her dogs out for their business. Two of them barked and ran - a misdemeanor in some states. One, an elderly Collie, stood it's ground next to the woman.

The bear first attacked the dog but the woman kicked it -- the bear, not the dog. The bear, then sensing that her Kung Fu might be suspect, attacked her.

She tried to close the door, but the bear wedged his head and shoulders through it. No word as whether the bear was trained by door-to-door vacuum sales folks.

In a moment of desperation, she flung a 14-inch zucchini at the bear, striking it on the head.

The bear ran away - another case of bear attack squashed.

See the whole story here.

As always, if you can't see the links, go to and see everything.

It's snowing at Copper Mountain

Okay, it was just a dusting but after the long winter, I'm ready for snow...anywhere.

Transworld Snowboarding reported this today and indicated that Copper would start making snow Sept 27, if weather allows.

September? I'm stoked.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Michael Franti jamming with Crystal Bowersox

Wow...Michael Franti is always inspirational and Crystal Bowersox has a special voice. Here they are together. This is a good week too - Michael's new album "The Sound of Sunshine" is out.

Life is good.

If you can't see the video, go to and see everything.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The best snowboarding film

This is a category more dependent upon your mood and riding style but for my money Sweetgrass Productions has delivered the best for the last 2 years. When I saw Hand Cut, I wasn't expecting much. I was totally wrong. It was mesmerizing.

Last year's Signatures was even better. If you're a powder snowboarder (or skier), these are your films. Below is a teaser for Signatures...maybe the best film ever.

Don't think I don't watch and love the others, especially Teton Gravity Research (TGR). I'm panting in anticipation of the release of Deeper. But, for a combination of music, mood, and...most importantly...powder, Sweetgrass holds the prize.

Sadly, they won't release anything this year. But, in 2011, they will release a new film set in South America. Given that this area is significantly under-reported, it should be groundbreaking.

As always, if you can't see the video, go to and see everything.

Signatures a SWEETGRASS PRODUCTIONS film from Nicholas Waggoner on Vimeo.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Is Christine O'Donnell the dumbest politician running for office?

Probably not. After all, there's lots of dumb politicians. Still, she's competitive.

Politico just reported that she called condoms anti-human and declared that they will not protect you from AIDS.

She's a devout Catholic. I'm good with that. Religion, generally speaking, makes folks better, happier, and healthier. Yet, sometimes folks take their religions too far.

What's too far? When you try to control other people's actions because your religion condemns them.

Giving false information about condoms may cause people to die. That's pretty serious. So, whether she's the dumbest politician or not, she's in the top 10.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fall surf catalog - some great ideas for snowboarding too

Let me just say - I love Patagonia. Most of their stuff is extraordinary. It's functional. Maybe most importantly, they give back so much to the environment.

Now they're doing online catalogs. Trees live. Videos are available. We all win.

Even if you don't intend to buy anything, check it out here.

You'll find videos and incredible photography. Hell, it's a couple of months before snowboarding season. Let's go surfing.

As always, if you can't see the links, go to and see everything.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Great moments in snowboard falls - and ski falls too

Everyone loves to see snowboarders and skiers fall. Here's some nice ones. Thanks again to Rocky at

If you can't see the video, go to and see everything.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A tree worth hugging

For those of us who haven't yet seen Sequoias in person, this is definitely the next best thing.

Thanks again to Rocky at

If you can't see the video, go to and see everything.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The perfect surfing movie?

Admittedly I've only seen the teasers but that will change very soon.

Check out The Drifter...maybe a surf movie instead of just clips of folks surfing.

If you can't see the videos, go to and see everything.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

NowHere Snowboard video teaser

Coming from Absinthe (Thanks Rocky!)

Want to see more? Check out this, this, and this.

If you're seeing this somewhere and the video or links aren't available, just go to and see everything!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What size snowboard should I ride?

If you're like me and praying for snow with every breeze...even though it's hot as hell, it's time for a review.

What size snowboard should you ride? This is by far the most popular thing I've put on my site.

This is the site I send people to  most of the time. It's got a formula that calculates your needs based on a variety of criteria. I'd add 2 - 3 cm if you ride a lot of powder. It even recommends boards. This is a great place to start. But, you're spending a lot of money. Check thoroughly.

Here's a much deeper look at the subject, including (if you go to the bottom) information on board widths. There's some good info here.

Finally, here's the data.

If you’re reading this on Facebook and want to see the links, go to

Something new

I can't put everything worthwhile in the blog. Some things have copyright protection. So, let me direct you here for a fresh look at an important topic. While generally speaking, they're all funny, I'm referring to the 9/9/10 version.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tailgate Alaska - Epic wipe-outs, rag dolls, and avalanches

Really...what could be better than this?

Tailgate Alaska Un-Cut Episode 1 from TAILGATE ALASKA on Vimeo.

Want more Alaska? Check this out!

As always, if you're seeing this somewhere and can't see the video or links, go to and see everything.

Non-stick causing high cholesterol? What about my Patagonia jacket?

Sometimes it seems like nothing works right.

I remember when the miracle of non-stick cookware first became popular. It was revolutionary. However, it didn't last long. The stuff would come off the pots and pans and didn't taste very good.

Now, it stays on the pans much better. However, it apparently leaches out just a bit.

A recent study, while not providing quid pro quo, does show that there there is a link between them and higher cholesterol in kids. Remember, these are the same kids we're fattening up.

That's pretty disconcerting. I'm lazy and I love non-stick. I've learned to use it at lower temperatures and thought that would make it okay. Maybe not.

Of course, other liner materials can create problems and the folks we count on to inform us don't always do so.

While I can probably switch to something better there, the same study showed a link between higher cholesterol and the chemical used to waterproof fabrics.

Does that include my new Patagonia jacket?

That's pretty serious.

Of course, life isn't all bad. Some things they told us were bad are pretty good.

As always, if you're reading this somewhere and can't see the links, go to and see everything.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fellow snowboarders take heart - Heavy drinkers live longer than non-drinkers

I'll drink to that.

A recent study showed a few interesting things.

Heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers.

Moderate drinkers outlive them both.

This was reported by both Time Magazine and Consumer Reports.

Naturally, I'm not encouraging anyone to start drinking but I do see some really good news here.

One - I get to attend the funerals of the goody-goodies who gave me grief about drinking.

Two - Most of my friends will be there with me.

There's an obvious question that arises from this study - can I now claim my rum on my health insurance?

If you can't see the links on this, go to and see everything!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Molly - The pony with the prosthetic leg

Several years ago, Molly was fitted with a prosthetic leg. This tells the story.

She didn't just thrive - she's giving back. Check out the Washington Post's photo essay on Molly here.

Snowboarding (and skiing) World Heli Challenge - New Zealand

Some very nice rides to keep up praying for an end to the heat, fresh powder, and all that comes with it! Thanks for the video to Jeremy Jones!

If you're reading this somewhere that doesn't show the video, just go to and see everything.

World Heli Challenge 2010 from UnofficialSquaw on Vimeo.