In the current (summer, number 97) issue of Fall-Line Skiing and Snowboarding (www.fall-line.co.uk), one of the coverlines reads: “FERNIE PATROL – He’s got a bag full of bombs and he’s gonna use ’em”.
It always makes writers happy when editors make their material sound fun and readable. That’s how I felt about this coverline. You can read the three-page article it refers to, in pdf form, here:
The piece is about Kevin Giffin, the chief patroller at Fernie, western Canada, who I interviewed for Fall-Line when I was there in February/March.
At first, I was surprised that someone whose routine involves dynamiting, avalaunching, blasting, heli-bombing and more dynamiting (plus a daily contingent of ‘wrecks’) could be so laid-back.
But on reflection a calm temperament is probably a bonus in this job, and Kevin also came across as super-organised, outstanding at motivating his team, utterly reliable and – crucially, I think – keenly aware that there’s always something new and useful to learn. When a mountain guide, a patroller or even an instructor thinks they know it all, and doesn’t allow for the unexpected, I get jumpy.
In the article Kevin also reveals…
…that most injuries happen on green runs – the ones with the best signage and grooming
…that increasing the number of girls on his team of patrollers has created a ‘better dynamic’
…that he carries a 50m spool of dental floss in his rucksack
Follow the link to the pdf above to find out why – and to read more about one of Canada’s premier powder hotspots (also see February posts).
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