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  1. #1
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    American Dave dies in avalanche

    Holy shit! http://www.powder.com/stories/news/d...s-avalanche-2/

    bad, bad news. RIP Dave...
    "We're in the eye of a shiticane here Julian, and Ricky's a low shit system!" - Jim Lahey

    Associate Editor, TGR

  2. #2
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    Fuck... the snow has been deep around there the past week. http://instagram.com/american_dave

  3. #3
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    Damn. That's terrible

  4. #4
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    Sorry to hear this. Sounds like a life well lived. RIP


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    License to kill gophers by the government of the United Nations

  5. #5
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    Saw Dave in the Ordinary Skier. Cool to see him own the north face of the Midi! Hoping Dave never crosses another track in the powder! Condolences to his wife and family. RIP

  6. #6
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    jumpturn uploaded this pic in the snow for the euros thread.



    the run, called the Marbrees, is around 2k vertical meters, the upper part is at an avy prone steepness, over 34 for at least 1000meters.

  7. #7
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    Well this fucking blows. That guy always seemed so chill, I was always stoked on what he was doing...And recently, having the pleasure of getting on a pair of the wonderful skis he helped design has been a blessing to my own ski bum dream. Every time I look at them or ride them I will always remember his permanently stoked yet humble ski bum legacy.
    "The skis just popped me up out of the snow and I went screaming down the hill on a high better than any heroin junkie." She Ra

  8. #8
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    "No matter your skills, chance still plays a part".

    The Powder biopic, now a memorial, with the videos and pics is excellent.

  9. #9
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    The picture is sobering. Wonder how tall that crown is. Tough to tell from the pic. In any case, we lost a good one.

    Tone, interested to hear the skis you are referring to. Which ones are they?

    Never came close to meeting Dave, but so enjoyed how he lived.

    Chamonix may be the sirens by the rocks. So sexy and deadly at the same time.

  10. #10
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    A thoughtful perspective from someone who was close by:
    http://www.mcnabsnowboarding.com/sno...re-a-changing/

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kootenayskier View Post
    A thoughtful perspective from someone who was close by:
    http://www.mcnabsnowboarding.com/sno...re-a-changing/
    Good thought provoking piece there. I don't know anything about Cham or Marbees. But as he says its progression in the sport. Both in the pro side and on the amateur side. For the pros if you don't get out there and hit the biggest lines on the biggest days and make a name for yourself, who's going to sponsor you? There are a thousand ski bums for everyone who makes a name for themselves and thereby a living while living the dream.

    Even for us amateur gumbies, we see the progression and are left with the choice of coming along in the progression or missing the deepest days and steepest lines that we long for and constitute the dream that we chase. And for us all, once you taste the ambrosia of steep adventure powder its hard to go back to the mealy bread of everyday ski runs.

  12. #12
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    This incident, and the piece referenced above have had me thinking the last few days....

    An addiction is seemingly the best way to put it. For most of us there is just so much positive reward stacked up in our brains it's hard to say no sometimes despite the red flags. Combine that with the idea of everyone getting there before you and it's just really strong emotional responses that are triggered.

    It seems to me, in my own experience, that the chronically "overstoked", the eternally optimistic among us, are the most vulnerable. The ones most likely to make reality "fit" their preconcieved notions of how things "ought to be" because things look sick and everyone is gettting after it. It may sound negative, but sometimes a little pessimism can keep you safe. Guilty till proven innocent type thinking I guess.

    That was a great piece^, but one other thing I would like to pick at is the idea of "waiting another day after the storm" being a hard and fast rule. To me it is always relative... I'm not going to armchair the event in question, but... What about in a continental climate where it might not matter if you wait a week after the storm? What about if you have a stable snowpack, the storm came in with no wind, but the next day the winds pick up and temps rise? What if the terrain you plan to ride is within acceptable risk after a recent storm? I just don't think it's neccessarily going to make everyone safer in the mountains as a general rule, and at times it might even get you killed by thinking this is the path to riding the mountains safely, that is all. Just look at the "Another Fatality" thread about the poor girl in Silverton. Young people pick up on these so called "rules" and in their inexperience, want to rush ahead and think the mountains are that simple, that forgiving, which leads to tragedy time and again. I guess what I'm saying is that in some climates, in some seasons, in certain terrain, the long game often requires more patience and understanding than a "24 hour rule". But I guess that is in our nature, trying to simplify all these complex human and natural factors into predictable, linear, black and white "rules" that will keep us safe in the mountain environment.

    I personally don't think that there is any way at this point to mitigate the human factors that have been leading to all these high profile incidents. Sad to say it, but there are too many people in on the "progression", it's too much fun and so undeniably addicting, there are too many positive rewards, the gear makes a hero powder god out of anyone, the mountains are too accessible, the social ski media is so powerful of a motivating force. Sure you can take that all into account in your own decision making and have a higher margin of safety, along with honest snowpack assessment, but it takes time and experience and the learning curve is often unforgiving of one simple mistake. It's all part of the instant gratification culture. People naturally want to take shortcuts and shred the raddest lines on the biggest mountains all the time with just a few years experience in their 20's. I'm 36 and still feel like my understanding of even the local mountain terrain and the snowpack that evolves upon it are basic and general, at best.

    I hate to say it as I am guilty of being both a producer and consumer of ameture social ski media content, but maybe the best thing we can all do is to stop participating in it and just ski. At least that takes one giant human factor out of the picture. Could it be evolving into the biggest one? There is a reason guides are extra wary of people with Gopros. Talk about an elephant in the room...

    Just my thoughts more in general than on the particular incident that killed Dave, but every time one of the great ones among us is taken down these thoughts begin swirling around in my head, and I thought I'd express them for what it's worth. Go ahead and tell me to stfu or what a dumbfuck I am, I don't care, I just think about this stuff because I want to keep skiing alot of powder and keep myself and my friends safe.
    "The skis just popped me up out of the snow and I went screaming down the hill on a high better than any heroin junkie." She Ra

  13. #13
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    Ich bitte dich nur, weck mich nicht.

  14. #14
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    seems like a fucked up notion of progression

  15. #15
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    Ski enough steep and snow covered avalanche terrain and you will encounter avalanches.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tone capone View Post
    This incident, and the piece referenced above have had me thinking the last few days....

    An addiction is seemingly the best way to put it. For most of us there is just so much positive reward stacked up in our brains it's hard to say no sometimes despite the red flags. Combine that with the idea of everyone getting there before you and it's just really strong emotional responses that are triggered.

    It seems to me, in my own experience, that the chronically "overstoked", the eternally optimistic among us, are the most vulnerable. The ones most likely to make reality "fit" their preconcieved notions of how things "ought to be" because things look sick and everyone is gettting after it. It may sound negative, but sometimes a little pessimism can keep you safe. Guilty till proven innocent type thinking I guess.

    That was a great piece^, but one other thing I would like to pick at is the idea of "waiting another day after the storm" being a hard and fast rule. To me it is always relative... I'm not going to armchair the event in question, but... What about in a continental climate where it might not matter if you wait a week after the storm? What about if you have a stable snowpack, the storm came in with no wind, but the next day the winds pick up and temps rise? What if the terrain you plan to ride is within acceptable risk after a recent storm? I just don't think it's neccessarily going to make everyone safer in the mountains as a general rule, and at times it might even get you killed by thinking this is the path to riding the mountains safely, that is all. Just look at the "Another Fatality" thread about the poor girl in Silverton. Young people pick up on these so called "rules" and in their inexperience, want to rush ahead and think the mountains are that simple, that forgiving, which leads to tragedy time and again. I guess what I'm saying is that in some climates, in some seasons, in certain terrain, the long game often requires more patience and understanding than a "24 hour rule". But I guess that is in our nature, trying to simplify all these complex human and natural factors into predictable, linear, black and white "rules" that will keep us safe in the mountain environment.

    I personally don't think that there is any way at this point to mitigate the human factors that have been leading to all these high profile incidents. Sad to say it, but there are too many people in on the "progression", it's too much fun and so undeniably addicting, there are too many positive rewards, the gear makes a hero powder god out of anyone, the mountains are too accessible, the social ski media is so powerful of a motivating force. Sure you can take that all into account in your own decision making and have a higher margin of safety, along with honest snowpack assessment, but it takes time and experience and the learning curve is often unforgiving of one simple mistake. It's all part of the instant gratification culture. People naturally want to take shortcuts and shred the raddest lines on the biggest mountains all the time with just a few years experience in their 20's. I'm 36 and still feel like my understanding of even the local mountain terrain and the snowpack that evolves upon it are basic and general, at best.

    I hate to say it as I am guilty of being both a producer and consumer of ameture social ski media content, but maybe the best thing we can all do is to stop participating in it and just ski. At least that takes one giant human factor out of the picture. Could it be evolving into the biggest one? There is a reason guides are extra wary of people with Gopros. Talk about an elephant in the room...

    Just my thoughts more in general than on the particular incident that killed Dave, but every time one of the great ones among us is taken down these thoughts begin swirling around in my head, and I thought I'd express them for what it's worth. Go ahead and tell me to stfu or what a dumbfuck I am, I don't care, I just think about this stuff because I want to keep skiing alot of powder and keep myself and my friends safe.
    Well said. I agree 100%

  17. #17
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    i agree with the addiction analogy 100%

    someone on here once said that if we were all alcoholics, our friends would be dying in car crashes. but we're skiers, so they're dying in avalanches. people talk about being blind to risk or having a "it won't happen to us" mentality, but i actually think that most of us understand the risks and realize we could die doing what we're doing, but the high we're chasing is so good we just don't care. skiing big lines in the BC really is an addiction, and not in the cute "he's a skiing ADDICT!" way your parents might talk about you. the bad parts of addiction are there too.

  18. #18
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    Just awful.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by klar View Post
    I find myself more and more skiing away from groups of friends who are constantly pulling out the camera and over-brimming with "stoke" and talking about "getting after it". I love these folks but sometimes they go on auto pilot when in sketchy terrain and conditions when they really need to be objective.

  20. #20
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    This was so eery for me.

    I had known about "American Dave" for quite some time but the Powder online feature re-sparked my interest, and I started following his instagram (amateur ski media!) about a month prior to this accident.

    Was watching Blizzard of Aahs at a friend's house the night before the accident (likely day of in France time), and was telling my buds about American Dave, as he was clearly one of the current "big guns" in Cham. We are all talking about the risk of skiing those lines, and I was reminded of a great article (I'll try to find it) I read a few years ago about the "rebirth" of extreme skiing. Throughout the article there are allusions to the risks of skiing these big, technical lines in powder, as many of these guys do; it even went as far as noting that some of the featured guys, including Arne had passed in between the writing of the article and when it went to print.

    Nate Wallace is quoted in the article saying something like "the joke in this community is that if you are an extreme skier for long enough, eventually you'll be the best in the world" and he's not referring to the 10K hr rule, but the sad reality that because the risk is so insanely high and the objective hazards pluck so many of these guys off the mountain, it's not only your acquired skills that get you to the top of the heap per se, but how long you're able to avoid the big one. Basically, last man standing becomes the 'best'.

    The article is creepily prophetic, and sadly most of the guys in the feature have passed now (Arne, Kip Garre, Andreas Fransson, American Dave). Thinking of the article that night spurred me to say something like "this guy is one of the top 5 ski mountaineers in the world right now, which sucks because that means he probably has 3-4 years left." Feels terrible, and terribly strange to know that those words came out within 3hrs of this accident.

    Somebody on this forum once compared modern day freeskiing in big terrain to Formula 1 in the 70s and 80s when even the "best" guys were getting taken out every year. I'd always thought it would've been cool to be around during that era and witness a sport in-person that was still so raw and unrefined. Well....freeskiing on big lines at the moment seems plenty "raw", plenty "unrefined", and it turns out being around to witness all of this rawness sucks. These high-profile accidents always hit me harder than I expect and this one's no different.

    Hard to keep fooling myself that these upper echelons of the sport are accessible, without resigning to the fact that being there is not sustainable. Strange and thought-provoking stuff.

    RIP American Dave.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by North View Post
    This was so eery for me.

    I had known about "American Dave" for quite some time but the Powder online feature re-sparked my interest, and I started following his instagram (amateur ski media!) about a month prior to this accident.

    Was watching Blizzard of Aahs at a friend's house the night before the accident (likely day of in France time), and was telling my buds about American Dave, as he was clearly one of the current "big guns" in Cham. We are all talking about the risk of skiing those lines, and I was reminded of a great article (I'll try to find it) I read a few years ago about the "rebirth" of extreme skiing. Throughout the article there are allusions to the risks of skiing these big, technical lines in powder, as many of these guys do; it even went as far as noting that some of the featured guys, including Arne had passed in between the writing of the article and when it went to print.

    Nate Wallace is quoted in the article saying something like "the joke in this community is that if you are an extreme skier for long enough, eventually you'll be the best in the world" and he's not referring to the 10K hr rule, but the sad reality that because the risk is so insanely high and the objective hazards pluck so many of these guys off the mountain, it's not only your acquired skills that get you to the top of the heap per se, but how long you're able to avoid the big one. Basically, last man standing becomes the 'best'.

    The article is creepily prophetic, and sadly most of the guys in the feature have passed now (Arne, Kip Garre, Andreas Fransson, American Dave). Thinking of the article that night spurred me to say something like "this guy is one of the top 5 ski mountaineers in the world right now, which sucks because that means he probably has 3-4 years left." Feels terrible, and terribly strange to know that those words came out within 3hrs of this accident.

    Somebody on this forum once compared modern day freeskiing in big terrain to Formula 1 in the 70s and 80s when even the "best" guys were getting taken out every year. I'd always thought it would've been cool to be around during that era and witness a sport in-person that was still so raw and unrefined. Well....freeskiing on big lines at the moment seems plenty "raw", plenty "unrefined", and it turns out being around to witness all of this rawness sucks. These high-profile accidents always hit me harder than I expect and this one's no different.

    Hard to keep fooling myself that these upper echelons of the sport are accessible, without resigning to the fact that being there is not sustainable. Strange and thought-provoking stuff.

    RIP American Dave.
    Well put. I had many of the same thoughts - and did indeed pull out that Powder article (here it is, courtesy of Christian Pondella): http://www.christianpondella.com/ext...reme_story.pdf Steve Romeo and Reed Findlay were pictured in that article too.

    As Plake notes in the article - things have changed. What hasn't changed is (1) mountains can kill you at any time, even if you do everything right, and (2) folks seem to have an increased willingness to ignore this reality. Not sure if its improved mapping, media (pics, FB, etc.) saturation, misguided faith in improved technical tools (binders, Verts, skis, the facking Vulcan), a generally increased knowledge base, the all-consuming lust for powder and getting rad, or a combo, but things seem to have changed. Or maybe, because of social media, we actually hear when folks pass away -- indeed, most avalanche deaths and many incidents are recorded and disseminated via social media and the interwebz, potentially increasing the perception that folks are dying in vastly increased numbers, even if statistically, it's only a few more than in the past. Not sure. I do know that Snowbrains seems to have a daily "there was another avalanche" story...

    I'm not judging American Dave or any of the others. Just trying to get a handle on all this. And yes, I have lost friends to slides. May they RIP.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by meter-man View Post
    Well put. I had many of the same thoughts - and did indeed pull out that Powder article (here it is, courtesy of Christian Pondella): http://www.christianpondella.com/ext...reme_story.pdf Steve Romeo and Reed Findlay were pictured in that article too.

    As Plake notes in the article - things have changed. What hasn't changed is (1) mountains can kill you at any time, even if you do everything right, and (2) folks seem to have an increased willingness to ignore this reality.

    I'm not judging American Dave or any of the others. Just trying to get a handle on all this. And yes, I have lost friends to slides. May they RIP.
    it's ok to judge, Glen's doing it, everyone does it. difference is, dudes like rog are mean spirited about it. best skier i knew and my closest pal did the dumbest thing one day, climbed up a loaded mt. after being told of danger, was swept to his death. pisses me off that he's gone. he judged wrong, nothing going to stop that but i can make better judgements in MY future because of his poor judgement.
    bF
    Alpental Indigenous

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by meter-man View Post
    Well put. I had many of the same thoughts - and did indeed pull out that Powder article (here it is, courtesy of Christian Pondella): http://www.christianpondella.com/ext...reme_story.pdf Steve Romeo and Reed Findlay were pictured in that article too.

    As Plake notes in the article - things have changed.
    Yep. Only a couple of those guys still in the game, the rest lost the game. Fransson wasn't tempting fear, he was tempting fate. Backstrom was a strong skier, but that doesn't mean shit on black ice. Rosenbarger was as good as it gets, but thats not good enough to take those chances over and over. Folks are pushing the limits to such an extent that its no longer skills that matter in the long run, but luck, and lady luck is an inconstant bitch. Its a game that you're bound to lose.

  24. #24
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    kenny rodgers could not have written that better.
    bF
    Alpental Indigenous

  25. #25
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    Finally read the recent Powder article last night. Erie to read posthumously. RIP.
    Uno mas

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