The recent avalanche death on Anderson Peak, although sad, comes as no surprise. Randy Osterhuber (longtime Sierra Snow Lab guy) probably said it best when he was asked about the high avalanche activity that day: The signs were not subtle, and they were everywhere. The tragedy of Ms. Ewings death should not keep us from learning from it; thats how we stay alive in the backcountry. The news medias participation in this tragedy has too often consisted of re-iterating the expert status of those involved. The gist of Michael Terwilligers comments in his recent column (Expert? Think again, March 6 Sierra Sun) seem to strike a chord with those of us who have seen this tragedy repeat itself for decades. Experts are a dime a dozen. Skiers with solid skills and good judgment are, relatively speaking, far less common. Skiers with solid skills and good judgment dont need to call 911 to ask how to use their avalanche beacon when their friend is buried because theyve already spent dozens (if not hundreds) of hours training with their beacons over the course of many years. Better yet, they never get in a slide to begin with because they dug their avalanche pits, read the hazards written on the pit wall, and skied the low-angle slopes that day, or waited a few days until things settled down. Just being a good resort skier doesnt mean your skills are up to the level they need to be if you want to ski another year in the backcountry. Learn from others mistakes; take an avalanche class from an old avalanche hound, (Pennimans classes always seem to fill up early, so dont forget to register). Then practice your avalanche skills, practice some more, and practice some more and dig those pits. Chris Old Grey Coot on Skiis Rosamond Truckee
Kudos on your article about Frank Bragg. He truly loves to ski more than anyone I know (I know a lot of skiers and riders as I am in the business). I hope he will inspire people who think they cant ski for one or another reason, as there is no question it has improved his quality of life. If you can breath, you can enjoy skiing. There is a bit more to the story:1. Brian Dineen, longtime bartender at the Bar of America, calls Frank Vert because he regularly skis 2 to 3 million vertical feet per year.2. Cats wish they had as many lives, as Frank has come back from being dead 12 times!3. On the day Frank was to get out of the hospital a couple of years ago (from being hit on the slopes) I asked him what the doctors said (he coded three times during that visit). He told me they advised him not to ski for the rest of the year. I asked what he was going to do. He replied If Im out of here by 12, Ill be on the mountain by 1. You gotta love it!John PrattTruckee
Last week, a guest columnist asked Where has all the education money gone? in a My Turn piece. While the answer ought to be obvious, Ill try to explain anyway.First, public schools dont have the luxury of picking the students they will serve, like the parochial school that the writer apparently attended. They have to educate all of the communitys children, including those who cant afford to buy books, or in many cases, even lunch. Public schools offer a much wider range of classes for the wide range of students they serve. Vocational courses, for example, are very expensive. Few religious or private schools offer them.Of course, if the writer is suspicious that the money is being wasted, he should take a look at the district expense sheet. No one in their right mind would think the teachers are being overpaid, likewise the administrators, janitors, clerks and bus drivers. Then take a walk through the schools themselves. Truckee has one new school that replaced a worn and overcrowded middle school. The high school is gradually being remodeled, but the original structure is quite old. There isnt anything in the schools that is more than just adequate. Does the writer think the money going to the schools is somehow being hidden in a foreign bank account? Educating every child in the community, rather than just a select group, is expensive. Of course, failing to educate them would be vastly more expensive.Truckee has great schools, and its wonderful that the citizens passed Measure A so overwhelmingly. The people who are whining about the costs need to take a closer look at what the schools do.Frank AldridgeTruckee
When you see our local Girl Scouts selling cookies at booths around town, please consider purchasing a box or two for our troops in Iraq. The Girl Scouts have recently connected with a Truckee local who has generously offered to deliver the donated cookies to Vandenberg Air Force Base and arrange for their transport to the troops in Iraq. In past years, soldiers have written thank you notes saying that the Girl Scout cookies brought back warm thoughts of home. Cookie sales will continue until Easter (March 27).If you own a business, please consider purchasing a case of twelve boxes to send to the troops. For more information, please call Karen Lynch at 587-6978. Linda Lindsay and Karen LynchTruckee
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