Sep 152008
 

Clansi and I went down to the snow a week ago on Sunday for what will probably be our last skiing day for this season. The weather was spectacular, with no wind and extensive visibility; in fact, the sun was perhaps a bit too bright for the softening snow. By mid afternoon there were shiny patches of slush in places heralding the arrival of spring.

For a bit of fun, I took my GPS receiver with me tucked into the elastic band of my goggles (I have found that the device sometimes struggles to get good signals when it is in a pocket). I wasn’t afraid of getting lost, but the experimental scientist part of me tends to get excited about the datalogging capabilities of my GPS receiver. I was actually quite surprised at some of the information it recorded; for instance, I was a little unnerved to find that I had been travelling at up to nearly 50 km/h on the snow!

The best bit about GPS is of course being able to see a map of the day’s adventures. Here is an interactive zoomable map showing our entire day’s path colour coded by speed. It is superimposed on the Google aerial imagery, which must have been photographed during the summer.

One interesting thing that you will notice if you look carefully (and have some knowledge of the Perisher Blue ski resort) is that t-bars actually travel faster than chairlifts, except for the “express” chairs. Another very interesting set of recorded data was the elevation above sea level. I’ve included two separate altitude profiles, one as a function of time and the other as a function of distance travelled.

The profile against time seems to be in GMT, but shows the break in the middle where we stopped at Blue Cow Terminal for lunch. The other nifty part of this graph is that it shows the waiting time in queues for lifts. The profile against distance gives a better indication of the actual steepness of the slopes, but is not really big enough for analysis of this sort. Like the map, both altitude profiles are coloured by speed.

The immediately noticable saw-tooth pattern of the altitude profile surprised me at first, but is of course the natural fingerprint of alpine resort skiing: up lifts and down slopes again and again. If you want to identify the specific features, here is a full list of the lifts we caught:

  • Village 8 Express
  • Forester Quad Express
  • Blue Calf T-bar
  • Blue Calf T-bar
  • Blue Calf T-bar
  • Blue Calf T-bar
  • Blue Cow T-bar
  • Blue Calf T-bar
  • Blue Cow T-bar
  • Car Park Double Chair
  • Blue Cow T-bar
  • Blue Calf T-bar
  • Blue Calf T-bar
  • Blue Calf T-bar
  • Blue Cow T-bar
  • Summit Quad Chair
  • Terminal Quad Chair

Lunch

  • Summit Quad Chair
  • Terminal Quad Chair
  • Brumby T-bar
  • Pleasant Valley Quad Chair
  • Piper T-bar
  • Bourke T-bar
  • Kaaten Triple Chair
  • Bourke T-bar
  • Link T-bar
  • Telemark T-bar
  • Forester Quad Express (to mid station)
  • Mount Perisher Triple Chair
  • Eyre T-bar
  • Eyre T-bar
  • Leichhardt T-bar

Since it was our last day on the snow for this year, this is a good opportunity to share a summary of skiing memories from the season. On the whole we were very lucky with weather, and the only real exception to this was August 10 when Luke and I skied though falling snow. Although the visibility was poor, that day was considered one of the best ever in Australia for powdery snow conditions. It was the first time I have ever needed to use chains on the car.

Another interesting thing that I managed to do on the snow this year was record some video. The day I spent skiing with Luke we took quite a lot of footage on his waterproof and shockproof GoPro camera. I haven’t yet had time to edit the highlights together, and still need to work out a good way to present the videos online, but I hope to show some of that footage here soon. I spent the afternoon with Luke’s camera strapped to the front of my ski boot, and the success of “boot-cam” videoing has caused me to seriously consider purchasing such a camera.

Clansi and I have also used our compact Nikon Coolpix S51 to record some video of each other, and it provides good feedback as we strive to improve our techniques on the snow. For now, however, I’ll leave you with a photographic summary of our ski season.

20080810_skiing_perisher_16Snow drift on lee side of our carLuke after a day on (in?) the snow.  We were fairly anxious to get into the car.My first experience driving in the snow with chains on.Panorama of Perisher village from the top of the Forester Quad Express chairlift.  Rather soberingly, on this day 2 people died in the resort and another person was killed in an avalanche at Blue Lake.SnowgumClansi on Mount PerisherClansi on Mount PerisherFantastic weather on Mount PerisherClansi on Mount PerisherVery enjoyable snowSnowgum in late afternoon lightClansi after skiing our last day of the season.  Notice the cute and practical plaits.Clansi and I after our last ski day of the season.

  8 Responses to “Spring skiing spree and season summary”

  1. I love the expression on my face in photo 10….

  2. I did an experiment with posting video to the school’s internal moodle server. I successfully embedded a video hosted on Google video. You can set it up so that only those who know the link can watch the video which is an issue for an internal video.

  3. That GPS image is pretty impressive! Also love the pics. Pretty jealous that i live in the wrong state for skiing more than once a year!

    What model of garmin GPS did you have?? I am thinking of getting myself one before the end of the year to stick on my bike.

    What is actually the highest lifted point in perisher?? Must be close to the 2037 at the top of Thredbo.

  4. Clinton:
    Sounds interesting. My concern is in the other direction, however; I want the most freedom-aware solution. Currently, in my understanding, this means non-flash. I may have to resort to a flash version embedded for the convenience of lazy viewers with an ogg theora file freely available for download.

    Kristofor:
    My GPS receiver is the bright green little Garmin Geko 201. It is very simple and low on features (no colour screen, no stored maps, no routing, etc), but I got it for hiking rather than road navigation. Its a wonderful device, and if its features match your requirements then I definitely recommend it.

    And apparently the highest lifted point in the Perisher Blue resort is the top of the Mount Perisher Double Chair at 2034 m (checked here). So yes, that is very close to Thredbo’s 2037 m!

  5. I was looking at an old map of Perisher and it had marked next to the Eyre T-bar (which is just a few metres down from the Mt P chair) “Highest Tree in Australia”

    I thought that was pretty cool.

  6. Nice snow pictures. Impressed with map and graphs but too tired to take it all in now.

  7. This may be a first for the amount of technical detail for one day at the snow. I identified more with the photos and I thought they were great.

  8. That is very cool. It seems you covered a fair bit of ground in a day.

    You should check out this cool product at http://www.flaik.com/ It’s a more sophisticated version of your GPS strapped to your head and very funky. The company, SnowSports Interactive, that makes it, is based in Australia and I know the founder and one of the principal financiers – they are actually space engineers from Queensland!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)