Hello everyone, SVV here, reporting from Heavenly Ski Resort. We’ve been having a lot of fun using our outdoor cameras and trouncing about the slopes these days. The mountains are buried in snow and the skies have been crisp and beautiful.
A friend of mine recently loaned me a new invention of his—adapted from his grandfather’s original invention, the “Ski-Klipper“—that deploys your very own personal parachute. Skateboarding in San Francisco and along the California coastline can be a risky thing with all the steep hills so he modified the original design to create the Sporting Sail. The idea is to control your descent and speed with properties similar to a flying squirrel. Easily adapted to snowboarding or skiing, the Sporting Sail is a fun device that straps to your thighs and makes you look like a professional, er, squirrel.
We set out to test the device on the slopes of the Sierra Nevadas, on the California side of Heavenly.
Mid-week skiing is amazing. These ski runs are normally filled with little ant specks of people criss-crossing and generally scampering about the place. Not that I mind dodging moving obstacles but I’d rather pretend we’re alone in this world and own the slopes.
Which on a Tuesday we most definitely did. I must say that I really enjoyed playing with this outdoor adventure toy. You won’t see many people using something this innovative, and the drag attained by the light weight rip-stop fabric is a crazy unique feeling. And for $80, it’s probably one of the cheapest thrills around.
After I got a couple runs in, it was the lady’s turn.
Due to the nature of the way a boarder turns vs. how a skier tackles the mountain straight-on, it was a whole other ball game parachuting on skis.
Kristin’s take on the experience: “It was definitely a different experience—I felt like Batman!—but at times the parachute slowed me down too much, or worse, pulled my skis apart when I hit a patch of wind and left me feeling a bit out of control. But! We definitely drew a lot of attention to ourselves, and a big group of 10 year olds in ski school thought I was the coolest thing since Harry Potter. They asked, ‘can we watch?!’ and I said only if they didn’t laugh if I happened to crash. (I didn’t, thank God.)
And when I saw them at the lift later on, they sped passing me saying, ‘that was AWESOME.’ The parachute was a definite crowd pleaser, that’s for sure! And anything to make me a hit with the pre-teens is something I’ll get behind. They’re a hard bunch to impress, after all. (Though I’m still convinced several people on the mountain thought we were celebrating our sport team’s victory. My chute does look a bit like the flag of Denmark, don’t you think?)”
Kristin looked like a marionette ski-bunny about to be sacrificed on the altar of a snow God. However, her downhill skills are quite evident in the following video.
I have been skiing exactly once in my life and I hated it (I am a much more avid water-skier) but your gorgeous pictures are making me want to give it another shot.
And I’m the opposite, Jess–I have tried water skiing every year since I was a kid and have never once succeeded in getting up for more than 10 seconds! I’m pretty athletic in most respects, so I don’t know why I fail miserably when it comes to water skiing =/
Dude, that is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. SVV needs one that looks like a giant bat.
We were just talking about our trip to the slopes with you guys two years ago! You now, back when I HATED skiing so, ha. We need to reenact that–maybe when B’s big enough to enjoy snow angels and snowman-making, and somewhere on the East Coast? =)
We miss you guys!!!
You and Simons and SVV and Benjamin on his tiny skis can all go tackle the slopes with your giant batwings, while I bake scones for you to eat when you get back. Or I’ll go snowshoeing with B in his forthcoming jaunty baby pack. But skiing is entirely too fast for me and my somewhat overwhelming sense of gravity. There’s just so much of me to hurt, and I’m so good at it!
Midweek skiing, FTW.
It looks kind of fun, but I’m a bit of a speed demon on my skis, so it may not be for me.
TMG, I’m also a semi-fast skier these days, but the odd thing about the chute is that sometimes it would slow me down significantly and, other times, I’d be flying double speed down the slopes! It all depended on my position on the mountain and the wind at that moment in time.
gorgeous! snow and sunshine? can’t get any better
That last picture is absolutely priceless. And what a fun ski toy!
I told him to absolutely NOT post that photo of me, but he really wanted to. And given I post ridiculous photos of him all the time, I could hardly censor him there, ha =) At least I’ll never be accused of only putting flattering images of myself on my blog!
Whoa, that’s wild looking idea. Not that I wouldn’t like being able to slow down with being on my butt. Haha
I skied Heaven Valley once and it is truly well named. Until I got to that gun barrel. Yikes!
I don’t think I’ll ever be a confident enough skier to try Gunbarrel. All the runs in that section of the mountain are double blacks (and I’m only to the point where I’m starting to really enjoy single blacks). Not to mention, Gunbarrel has been closed this month as there’s been no snow in weeks and it’s a complete ice plane. Even scarier!
Looks fun – but why would you want to slow down?!
I’d rather say that’s the Austrian flag, which I thought when I first saw it. 🙂
Katrin, it’s not so much intended to slow you down–well, it is if used for skateboarding, and if you’ve ever been on these hills in San Francisco, you’ll know why!–but more so to keep you lighter on the snow when skiing. This created varying effects: Sometimes it DID slow me down if I was in a sheltered area of the run or going against the wind, but sometimes it made me go twice the speed I typically ski and I was tearing down the slopes!
Looks like fun! What camera are you using? We are getting ready for a ski trip and I am shopping helmet cams, etc. I bought a little Canon Powershot D10, waterproof up to 30 ft. and shock proof for our trip to Maui (it was great underwater btw). Maybe we could rig that up somehow but we are interested in some sort of helmet cam thingy. Interested in what you are using. I looked at some GoPro models but unsure what to get.
Kendra, you hit the nail on the head–we actually use the GoPro helmet cam. (The grainier footage of Scott straight on was taken with my very old Canon P&S that I keep in my ski jacket pocket, but all the HD stuff was shot with the GoPro.) It’s great because it comes with a helmet strap/mount (which we’ve yet to use actually) and a mount for a snowboard/ski/surfboard. It’s also waterproof up to 180 feet so we use it diving as well. Here’s a little footage from that:
That was on a really low visibility day, too–normally it’s a LOT clearer due to the HD.
The downsides are that there’s no LCD screen so you can’t see what you’re shooting until you upload it to your computer (though we’ve honestly never had a problem with that) and also that it’s a 172-degree angle so it’s great for a whole panoramic of a place but you can’t zoom. Still, it’s our favorite new toy. We bought it for our honeymoon last spring and have had endless fun with it!
SIGH. I’ll be in Heavenly this weekend, sans snowboard. I am getting a massage on Saturday, but still.
The parachute looks fun!
Would we STOP CROSSING PATHS on the wrong days?? I just got home tonight! GRRR. Guess I’ll have to settle for seeing you next weekend!
Your life is way too much fun. Love the video. Love the soundtrack.
GoPro you say? I’ve heard about it. There are adverts on all my favourite surf website. Wouldn’t mind owning one of those. *sigh*
GoPro, yes! It was a bit pricey for such a tiny camera–about $250 when we bought it, but I see on Amazon they now sell them for $130 to $180–but we’ve had so much fun with it, I think it’s worth the cost =) And Scott sold his surfboard around the time we bought the camera, so alas, we haven’t had a chance to test it out above the ocean’s surface…yet.
I LOVE that fourth photo! Wow!
Looks like you had so much fun… Somehow I’ve never gone skiing or snowboarding! I’ll have to fix that soon 🙂
These are such great photos. I love the one of you just standing on the slope with no one around. That video was so fun too, though I admit the whole time I was just waiting for the camera to go flying due to a crazy crash.
Great photos, danm I miss skiing. Looks great.
I haven’t skiied the past few years. Looking at your pixes made me miss it more. I do hope to go skiing very soon.
Oh wow, we’re going skiing to Kirkwood and Northstar this weekend and the cape thing looks amazing. MIght not be a good idea to try it out on a President’s day weekend — but someday.
It was definitely an *interesting* experience. Fun, yes, but very different and I wouldn’t have done it had the slopes not been totally empty!
We’ll also be up at Tahoe this weekend (we did a cabin share on South Shore), but skiing Sierra and Heavenly (we bought the Vail Resorts season pass). Happy skiing to you guys–finally there’s snow! We’ve been four times this season, and it’s been 56 degrees and slushy every time.
I am laughing so hard I can barely type. So I am considering buying a GoPro for my brother for Christmas. I knew you had one so I was searching around on your page to check out some pictures and videos. I love all the pictures … and, woah, wait .. what’s that?!?! A video of little girls playing with kittens and speaking an unknown foreign language? Hmmm …. I don’t think that’s the video you intended to post on this page. Hahaha!! Very cute kittens though … and children!
(Hopefully it’s not just my computer. I was looking forward to watching the video of your “downhill skiing” but instead watched a funny home video of babies and kittens!) Still laughing …
A top photo is amazing! Enjoyed the post.