Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Proof I'm average

I was talking to Sunshine Mountain Operations Manager the other day, and he mentioned that Sunshine has an injury rate of 2.2 per 1,000 skier visits, which is basically industry average. When I heard this, I did some checking and found the "2.2 per thousand" rate is indeed pretty normal. "Injury rate" in the industry is the frequency that ski patrol attends an accident that requires care delivered by patrol on the hill.

Now, my brother the statistician is going to probably give me a hard time for this generalization, but if you flip that around, that rate is one injury per 454 skiers per day, or one injury per 454 days of risk exposure. Which got me to thinking...

I'm an anal-retentive engineer and have tracked every day I have skied since 1996 (19 years of data). That year, I got a recording altimeter watch, and I've just been logging my info ever since. Now, I first started skiing in 1978 (on borrowed equipment from a friend of mine, through a University ski club that let me learn dirt cheap). So I'm missing 18 years of data, or half of my ski years. But I am certain that:

  • I only got ~10 days a year from in my university years from 78-81, virtually all of which were in lessons;
  • I probably only got 5 days a year from 81-84 (before I moved to Edmonton);
  • I hardly skied at all from 84-89 -- perhaps 2 days per year -- due to living in Edmonton (too far from the mountains to ski much), work and getting married;
  • I didn't ski at all from Nov 90 to Nov 92, since I was living in Victoria;
  • I was so broke from 92-95 that I was lucky to get 2 days in per year.
So I add that up and probably only add 60-70 days to what I have skied since keeping records. And looking at my records, I have been injured exactly twice.
  • On logged day 178 (Day 250?) I crashed on ice at Big White and broke a rib in my back. No lost time, no ski patrol, but an accident nonetheless.
  • On logged day 540 (Day 610?) I broke my leg.
If you ignore my broken rib (a non-injury accident according to Sunshine's stats), my injury rate is 1 in 610 ski days, or 1.64 per thousand days of exposure. If you include it, it's 2 injuries in the same time, or 3.28 per thousand days of exposure.

If you look at the time between those accidents (362 ski days), that's 2.7 injuries per thousand days of exposure.

I'm feeling like an average kinda guy right around now. 

Monday, 5 January 2015

Snowshoeing (with moose)

I'm not a monster fan of snowshoeing for a number of reasons, but I like to get out there occasionally. When my friend Monty said he wanted to get out, I thought it would be fun to introduce him to the walk to Karst Springs.

We have been there a few times, the last in 2009 when we rode our bikes in. We saw moose that day, and I kinda figured we would see some today, too. And we did.

Near water, as always
Mom & the kid 
Through the car window
Funny part was that they were in the EXACT same place when we went by again 4 hrs later.

Karst Spring is in the middle of the Mt. Shark XC ski complex -- where there were exactly 2 skiers out today. It has been cold, but today it was only -10° when we got to the parking lot at 1 PM and -7° at Watridge Lake at 3:30 PM. There was between 5 & 15 cm of fresh snow, which I would call nigh on perfect XC conditions.

As a snowshoe walk, it's kinda boring. Very little wildlife (recent pine martin and squirrel tracks), straight, flat, wide (it is, after all, a fire road). But it makes for "effortless" walking (if snowshoeing is ever effortless), and it is nowhere near avalanche terrain.

We did see American Dippers in the stream.
A not exciting gray bird 
There were at least 2, maybe three
The ice formations in the creeks are cool.
The springs were indeed springing, gushing out their usual way. I expected clouds of fog and ice, but the springs are about +5° C, and the air was only -10° C, so probably not big enough of a temperature difference to create ice fog.

The upper lookout from below 
Looking down from the lookout 
Winter and summer meet
Rushing water and green moss
We spent most of our day breaking new trail. It therefore took longer than I was expecting (1:30 one way, versus the hour it takes in the summer). It's a shame it wasn't a blue sky day, and that we didn't see much other than the moose, the dippers and the waterfall. But it was a good day nonetheless.