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Truth and Consequences


“There was a moment in that night (twelve hours of trudging through single digit cold across nearly twenty miles of energy sapping snow and ice), a fulcrum point, when we stopped doing and were simply being. We continued to trudge for sure, but time and place seemed suspended and in that dark night all that was before us and all that was after us fell away. The word transcendent was used by a fellow adventurer and is the most apt word to describe the best moments I have had during these experiences.”

Jimmy Buff writing in the February issue of the Catskill Mountain Region Guide, about his recent group trek over the daunting Escarpment Trail in a midnight mid-winter freeze.
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‘‘The pain doesn’t exist for me. I know it is there because I feel it, but I don’t pay attention to it. I sometimes see myself from the other view, looking down at me riding the bike. It is strange, but it happens like that.’’

Jure Robic, the cyclist “who might be the world’s best ultra-endurance athlete.” (He recently won the 2530 mile Le Tour Direct race in 7 days, 19 hours, climbing 140,000 feet in the process and getting by on a grand total of 9 hours sleep.) As quoted in a fascinating feature about human endurance in the New York Times Sports Magazine Play, February 5 2006.

Jure Robic at the end of his 2530 mile race.

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“You scream by fences, trees, TV cameras, and people at eighty miles an hour plus. For me, this is as powerful and alive as I ever feel. And all I care about at that moment is going to that place where nothing matters and time slows.”

American ski iconoclast Bode Miller, in his autobiography Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun. As quoted in a profile also in the the New York Times Sports Magazine Play, February 5 2006.

Bode Miller: Ski fast, die young?

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“A Greene County man died after a skiing accident Thursday morning at Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl, police said.

State police at Catskill said Slawomir Wozny, 50, of Tannersville, was on the lower “42nd Street” trail about 11:30 a.m. when, according to witnesses, he lost control while trying to make a turn at high speed, went off the trail and struck a tree and a boulder.

Wozny, reportedly an experienced skier, suffered head injuries and was treated at the scene by the Hunter Mountain Ski Patrol, but he was pronounced dead a short time later at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Hudson, police said.”

As reported in the Kingston Daily Freeman, Friday February 3. The news of Wozny’s death put a dampener on my own return to Hunter Mountain after two weeks away, the wreath wrapped around the tree that claimed his life a powerful reminder that we can all push ourselves to the limits – but that sometimes there’s an ultimate price to pay.

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Discussion

4 Comment(s)

  1. Pads Casino

    8 February, 2006 at 2:04 pm

    Tony,

    What exactly is considered “high speed” on the Hunter slopes?

  2. 8 February, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    The people I ski with at weekends – who knew him as the ‘Polish Cowboy’ – reckoned he must have been doing 45mph.

  3. Peter

    9 February, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    Nobody should have to pay the ultimate price for some weekend fun! Hunter has to put some people on the slopes to write speeding tickets for fearless and wreckless skiers. Taking lessons at Hunter, I’ve witnessed instructors countlessly yelling at random skiers violating good slope ehtics on the mountain – to no avail. I’ve never worried about myself (except on the double diamond with Fletch last year!), but skiing with my kids always freaks me out. I wish other skiers were as much in control of speed as my kids are.

  4. 14 February, 2006 at 11:35 am

    Peter
    Couple of responses:
    1) As far as I can gather, the person who died a week ago Thursday was a fearless and possibly reckless expert skiier who appeared to be attempting a very dangerous turn at fast speed. I’ll show you next time you’re up here. As we can see on the Olympics, the best and fastest skiiers have the hardest falls. That this guy paid the ultimate price just has to remind everyone else (myself included) not to be careless.
    2) I asked my instructor about writing tickets: he says the instructors used to enforce rules but then the mountain employed Rangers and told the Instructors not to get involved. Where, then, are all the Rangers? A very good question. I feel there is a need for the mountain to police dangerous high-speed skiiers and riders just as the Highway Patrol is meant to police dangerous high-speed drivers on the Thruway. Where’s their suggestions box?

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