Gravity Assisted Gliding

A seemingly endless stream of skiers gliding down a gentle hill above Val Thorens. Beautiful weather, palpable peace, the majestic Mont Blanc on the background...

There's a question that keeps nagging me: "Why do we actually do this?"

Say an alien would examine our daily lives, and then watch some of us spend a little fortune to temporarily move to a hilly location covered by a cold layer of tiny water ice crystals, then insulate against the cold, put on various equipment — notably a board or two with particularly low friction, have ourselves towed uphill by specialized machines, and then gleefully glide downhill.

Why go into all this trouble just to let gravity pull us down a slippery slope. Kind of a glorified gliding for masses. An art of letting gravity move us downwards at high velocity without falling or crashing into obstacles. Controlled fall in synchrony with all the other maniacs. 

It will certainly have something to do with endorphins, as with other physical activities. Then the thrill of speed — that tickling sensation in your belly — absent from many other sports. Excitement stemming from balancing on the brink. Feeling of conquering the majestic mountains — albeit with a lift. Showing off one's physical virtuosity — and skiing gear!

But many of these goals can be triggered by much simpler and cheaper means. So what really is the point of this spectacle?

I'll let you ponder this while I ski down from this cottage :-)

Tomáš Fülöpp
Col de la Chambre, Val Thorens, France
March 1, 2022, March 2, 2022, April 6, 2022
Tomáš Fülöpp (2012)

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Tagsskiinggravitymont blanc
LanguageENGLISH Content typeARTICLELast updateFEBRUARY 24, 2024 AT 23:05:16 UTC