May 19, 2013
My Blog Archive
> T-Bars Are Just Wrong
T-Bars Are Just Wrong
Previous EPSON Panorama Awards 2012 - Placings
Gear, Gear and More Gear Next
T-bars. Why did they have to have T-bars? Its not that I'm scared of falling off T-bars, I just don't like them... in fact, I hate them. Give me a vicious button-tow any time. I'll take it, if it means not having to go near a T-bar. In my skiing experience up to now I've managed to avoid them except on two occasions; once in Cairngorm and once in Champoussin in Switzerland. Both times my thighs were on fire all the way up and Lel was unsympathetic. She told me to dry my eyes and stop behaving like a big girl's blouse and just relax, but I vowed never to go near the things again if I could avoid them.
The Kaprun trip started well and Easyjet got us safely to Munich. We split into a team of four and a team of three; Scott, Jess, Vinny and me as the pathfinders with Dan, Jeff and Keith as rearguard. Over the next couple of days we were joined by Beth, Grant, Deek and eventually Bill, who arrived on Saturday night just in time to wave us goodbye on Sunday as we left the resort to head home.
Our first challenge came with the hired Mercedes E-Class Estate when we struggled to get the luggage and my Sportorpedo tube loaded and still leave enough room for four of us. The next challenge presented itself as the driver (Scottie) couldn't find the controls on the Merc and the navigator (me) couldn't read German well enough to switch the SatNav into English. The fact that I drive a Merc and Scottie speaks and reads passable German seemed to escape us so instead of swapping places we both tried to help the other out while sitting in the wrong seats. The tension rose a notch and we transited out the airport, then back in again, then back out again but we ended up going in the right direction somehow. When I finally worked out that "Sprache" means "Language" it all became clear and the nice SatNav woman told us to "take the second exit from the roundabout and follow the B123 for 20 miles" instead of "just keep going".
Kaprun turned out to be a cute and compact Austrian Tyrolean town snuggled cosily under the Kitzstienhorn mountain. The route from Munich (the "fast route" according to the SatNav) displayed "Sound of Music"-style vistas as we passed through the more famous Austrian resorts of Soll and Kitzbuhel, both closed for the season. The pistes here, melt of snow, luxuriated in their spring growth and some meadows were awash with buttercups; no more skiing here until November at least. Kaprun though, is overshadowed by the 3.2km high Kitzstienhorn, with its Glacier and behind it, the Hohe Tauren National Park. The Glacier has permanent snow, 365 days a year and as we arrived, the spring melt was just beginning.
We were greeted by Herr and Frau Hauser, owners of Pension Hauserhof, in perfectly agreeable English, while my German refused to budge beyond "danke" for the whole time I was there. A mini crisis arose when sharing the room with Vinny also meant sharing the bed with him too; no single beds in this Pension! However, my honour remains intact as does his. We finished the day with some pre- apres-ski in town and a reasonably early night... for some!
I had brought my usual photography gear; the Canon 5D with a 24-105 L series lens, a flash-gun and the Drift 170HD PoV camera. The Drift performed better than it did in Val d'Isere and I got some very usable video. The battery life remains an issue when the camera hasn't been used for a while. The first proper use seems to drain the battery very quickly but once its recharged and used immediately I could get a full day out of it.
Thursday saw us climb the mountain; by bubble, as GletscherJet 1 then 2 transported us to base camp #1 then #2. The AlpinCentre hunkers down at base #2 with a low-rise profile and curving facade facing the hill (you can just see it at the bottom of the photo above). Its position protects it from the howling winds as it's the one source of shelter, food and alcohol reachable by all skiers, other than the Ice-Camp just a few hundred meters further up the hill. After that, the only cover on the Glacier is afforded by the lift stations as there are no trees this far up. The Glacier Visitor Centre takes a commanding position only 200m from the summit of the Kitzstienhorn and is practically unreachable by skiers unless they take the gondola from the AlpinCentre after which they have a tricky Black to negotiate to get back down. The Visitor Centre has a fabulous restaurant and there's a tunnel bored through the mountain to get to the Southern viewing platform which is well worth a visit but I recommend you wrap up well.
Scottie and Vinny were feeling the effects of their 3am tour around Kaprun as we stepped out of Jet 2 onto the half-melt that passed for snow around the AlpinCentre. The weather was blue skies with scudding clouds accompanied by a vicious wind that surprised us from time to time with its force. The weather was to get better the next couple of days with clear skies, no wind and a rising temperature. Down In the village, some 2,000m below us, Saturday had 24c temperatures and blazing sun. Skiing in shorts was a serious consideration - in fact Vinny bought some - and I skied on Friday & Saturday in T-shirt (see the pictures). On Sunday we had cloud and lower temperatures everywhere but still pleasant enough to wear only a fleece at Base Camp. When I went up to the summit to the Visitor Centre it was a different climate altogether and I could only stay outside for a few minutes as the wind and cold together conspired to freeze me.
Spring skiing offers variable conditions; high up on the Glacier the pistes were groomed hard, had an inch of powder and didn't cut up much. The skiing up there was glorious with wide pistes offering easy, long carving turns followed by steep ridges where you had to watch your speed a bit. The only problem was the T-bar lifts. As the altitude decreased so did the quality of the snow but the chair-lifts came into use. The sun and high temperatures had a fairly sudden and drastic effect on the snow. In the mornings, after a cold night the pistes were firm but they cut up during the day and by the end of the afternoon there was heavy slush and moguls on most pistes. Skiing through these conditions tested my technique and my fitness, both of which were scored as "could do better". My legs were sore and tired trying to work the skis and the Rossies are fast piste carvers and at 170cm are not easy to work with tight turns. My legs soon complained and I had to have frequent stops otherwise accidents were inevitable.
I made it easily through day one without any accidents or falls and I set a target of no falls in the three days skiing we had. I was disappointed on day two with a couple of falls caused by lack of concentration and tired legs at the days end. Day three I felt my technique was all over the shop and at the end I had a couple of major falls including one where I buried my head and shoulders fully in the off-piste slush-snow and lost both skis. But the most embarrassing fall happened right in front of a couple of hundred people at the apres-ski at the AlpinCentre.
I stopped at a small ridge some 100m up from the centre and tried to pick out where I was heading to park the skis as the rest of the team were there already. Skis were parked everywhere and I was tired and didn't want to wipe out folks equipment. The little traverse was well used and moguled but I should have just blasted down it; instead, I tried to carve it tightly and the legs gave up on the second turn and I found myself in a reverse snow-plough. The back of skis dug into a mogul and I fell, ungainly and both bindings popped as the pressure on them got too much. As I tumbled, arms and legs going in opposite directions I heard a shout of "There's Brian!". I dusted myself off and tried to put the skis back on but they refused to comply so I bailed and walked down the remaining 50m to the blaring noise that was Queen's "We Will Rock You" and much laughter from our team who had witnessed the whole show!
T-bars are used on the Glacier because the support frames can move with the Glacier. Chairs need a rock base and the average depth of ice on the Glacier is 40m and in some areas 100m, so rock foundations are out. The T-bars (there are five of them across the whole Glacier) do have front and back mountings set in rock at the bottom and top of the Glacier, but the middle frames are designed to move as the Glacier moves. T-bars are designed for two people, preferably both of similar height and weight and getting on them and off them is a phaff - getting off is particularly scary as the bar whips away and can catch you on the back of the head if you're not careful.
The problem with T-bars is that they're designed to have balance in use but in practice the mix of people, skis and boards means that they are usually unbalanced. Some people refuse to go on a T-bar with anyone else because if one falls they both fall. I fell twice on two separate T-bars; each time I was on my own and the fall was caused by a ski skittering off line slightly which unbalanced me and the T-bar offered no support so I ended up holding on grimly as the bar scraped me over the iced tram lines. I had no choice but to let go and both times I was half-way up the run. So, yes, that's why I hate T-bars.
The vistas up the hill offered some stunning photography. I haven't completed the panoramas yet but I'll publish them on a link when I do. I got some funny looks a few times when people got their camera phones out to take a snap or two while I un-packed the Canon and strapped on its big lens. The backpack weighs quite a bit but I'm so used to it I don't notice it. I used the Drift a few times to get some footage of Scottie and Grant and I think its pretty good. I followed them down the slopes trying to keep no more than 5m behind them which is pretty scary, all because the lens has a wide angle so if you're more than 5m behind them they just look small. As usual, I took pictures of the apres-ski activities, mainly at the AplinCentre and the Ice Bar. Apres-ski in the town is not extensive but there's a few bars and plenty of great restaurants; in fact, the food we had each night was superb.
The Rogues Gallery
Freestyle Skiing and Jumps. On Saturday it was a glorious day and I decided to try and get some pictures of the kids & youths who were doing some pretty spectacular stunts in the ski park. I spent an hour in the morning and a couple of hours in the afternoon. The morning session was disappointing because I had the wrong settings on the camera; the shutter speed wasn't fast enough to freeze the action, but I got that sorted in the afternoon once I managed to have a look at the pics properly. You can see the best shots by following this link. The first dozen or so are the best of the morning shots but its easy to see where the afternoon shots start because they're so much better, sharper and colourful.
3rd May 2012
This is the website and blog site of professional photographer, Brian Wilson, LSWPP. Brian has attended the Scottish Wedding Show as well as other wedding events in Scotland. Brian wants to provide his brides with the best Scottish wedding experience possible. There are many Scottish wedding directory sites listing other wedding services including wedding make-up, hairdressing and beauty, wedding dresses, wedding cars, wedding flowers and bouquets, bridal shoes and bridal accessories to wear on your wedding day. Brian has included on this site short blogs for many of the other wedding professionals he has worked with over the years.
Streetlife Photography Weddings by Brian Wilson LSWPP is an accredited wedding and portrait photographer in Edinburgh, Scotland, serving clients in Scotland, Scottish Borders, Lothian, Central, Fife, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Clackmannan, Ayrshire, Dumfries, Galloway, Argyle, Clyde, Forth, Highland, Tayside, Angus, Aberdeenshire, Northumbria, Cumbria, Yorkshire, Lancashire, North East England and North West England. Brian provides all types of photography including commercial, editiorial, sports, travel, lifestyle, urban, city, cityscapes, landscapes, fashion and art and serves towns and cities including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Falkirk, Livingston, Queensferry, Linlithgow, Bo'ness, Grangemouth, Dunfermline, Aberdour, Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes, Cupar, St Andrews, Kinross, Perth, Crieff, Dundee, Blairgowrie, Forfar, Carnoustie, Dunbar, Haddington, Gullane, North Berwick, Peebles, Melrose, Galashiels, Kelso, Biggar, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Coldstream, Hawick, Biggar, Langholm, Gretna, Longtown, Carlisle, Hexham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Brian photographs all aspects of weddings and civil partnerships including engagement, pre-wedding, boudoir, preparation, dressing, make-up, hair, manicure, ceremony, cake cutting, formal, informal, reportage, traditional, contemporary, fashion, reception, speeches, toasts, dancing and evening. Post-wedding services include trash the dress, dvd slideshow, album, prints, on-line, social networks, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, You-Tube, MySpace and others.
Brian has photographed couples in venues such as Caledonian Hilton Hotel, Balmoral Hotel, Prestonfield House Hotel, Oxenfoord Castle, Aberdour Castle, Famous Grouse Experience Perth, Crieff Hydro, Marlins Wynd, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, Parliament Square Edinburgh, Calton Hill Edinburgh. Brian has photographed brides wearing couture wedding gowns from Edinburgh bridal shops such as Emma Roy, Butterflies Bride, Jane Davidson and Susan Gregory.
All images images on th
is site are Copyright Streetlife Photography 2002 - 2010 unless stated otherwise. Site design based on the Rocket Theme Panancea Joomla! template. Site design by Streetlife / BigFrontDoor, 2010. Menu icons kindly provided by brsev from the Token Light scheme. See brsev.deviantart.com