Monday, January 30, 2012

Shaun White scores first perfect 100 in Winter X Games superpipe

Shaun White was told by his mother to slow down. He was 6 years old. Before the age of 5, Shaun White had already undergone two cardiac surgeries because of a congenital heart defect.

At age 6, Shaun White took up snowboarding and his mother was concerned for her son's heart, so she ordered him to slow down. His mother told him he could only snowboard backwards, aka switch riding or riding fakie.

Mother's edict, while it might have slowed him down in the beginning, actually helped Shaun White develop his snowboarding ability, and he hasn't slowed down since.

Certainly there was nothing slowing down Shaun White in the superpipe at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo., on Sunday night -- not an ankle sprain or the fact he'd already clinched his fifth consecutive gold medal in the discipline with a 94.00 on his first run.

Not one to slow down, in his third and final run, one he could've turned into a simple victory lap, Shaun White instead made an encore run for the ages.

This is perfection -- watch and be amazed by the 25-year-old Flying Tomato:





The ESPN announcer said at the end, "Whether it's scored the highest or not it’s hands down the best run we’ve ever seen in history."


Indeed, Shaun White's last run in the superpipe made history. He laid down a perfect 100.00 -- a first in the 16-year history of the Winter X Games.

Here's how James Sullivan from BNQT.com described it:
Shaun White broke new ground in the history of the sport. Combing jaw-dropping amplitude, text-book skill and style and a technical difficulty never before seen. White executed the first truly perfect performance in Winter X Games history including an 18-foot backside air, a 17-foot frontside double cork 1080, an 11-foot switch frontside double cork 1080, a 14-foot frontside cork 540, a 13-foot backside double cork 1260 and a 12-foot frontside double cork 1260 -- the first back-to-back double cork in Winter X history.

The judges concurred perfection was at hand and awarded him with an immaculate score of 100.

A surreal moment for the global audience but not a speechless one for Shaun White.

"It was bizarre - and my coach Bud Keene was saying 'They're going to give you a 100 if you make it.' I'm thinking he was very excited. But I don't know, I just came through it and everything felt perfect. I was landing the 10 at the top and the cab double came through perfect. I don't know if I have ever landed my double Mc12 as clean as I have tonight so that just set myself up perfect for the frontside double cork 12. I guess it's the first (time) ever to do back-to-back double cork 12s. What a night!"
On his Facebook page, Shaun White merely wrote, "X Games 16, what an unreal night!"

Clearly, Shaun White, himself amazed at his feat, has the heart of a champion. Thanks, in large part, to his mother.

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Great white shark surfaces in Ironman competition in Australia (video of shark surfacing)

A large great white shark is said to have surfaced just yards away from contestants paddling in an Ironman competition last week in Australia, but nobody noticed it until TV footage was shown later.

At least some believe it was a great white shark, supported by reports of a shark attack less than 10 miles away four days earlier.

Not everyone is convinced, however. Others claim it was a pilot whale or dolphin.

Take a look at the short video on YouTube and tell us what you think. Watch in the upper left-hand corner:





It was ironwoman Kirsty Holmes who first alerted organizers of the Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman Series about the surfacing of a great white shark at Newcastle Beach, located 101 miles north-northeast of Sydney.

From The Sydney Morning Herald:
“I was at home on Monday night and just watching a replay of the round on You Tube when I saw it,” Holmes said.

“I was actually looking at the top of the screen because at that stage I think I was coming fourth or fifth and thought I should be coming into picture, then all of a sudden I saw the fin and said ‘What was that!?’

“As soon as [I] saw it I thought it was a shark. I rang Zane (Holmes) and he agreed, saying it was either a shark or a pilot whale.

Folkard's surfboard
“I suppose it’s good for the sport because there’s now plenty of hits on YouTube, but the only reason I thought it was a shark was because it didn’t resurface, and normally dolphins and whales do.”
Just four days before this Ironman Series competition, surfer Glen Folkard was reportedly attacked by what was believed to be a juvenile great white shark at Redhead Beach, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Folkard told The Australian that the impact from the shark was like being hit by a car and being turned 180 degrees. The shark bite his right leg before he managed to climb back on his board and swim to safety, nearly bleeding to death.

Redhead Beach and Newcastle Beach are about six miles apart.

The Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman Series was unaware of the surfacing great white shark/pilot whale/dolphin.

From The Sydney Morning Herald:

“We didn’t know about it until after it happened and if we did know about it on the day we would have acted accordingly to what the authority - council lifeguard or surf lifesaving australia - required and they would have closed the beach and we would have removed our competitors,” a Nutri-Grain Ironman Series spokesman said.

“But we don’t think it’s a shark. It looks to be either a pilot whale or a false killer whale. Safety is always the priority. Our competitors encounter sharks and dolphins on a regular basis while training and if it hadn’t been for a shark attack the week earlier I don’t think we’d be talking about it.”
But then, who can dispute Kirsty Holmes? She ought to know a whale when she sees one, considering the two-time Open Ski champion was once knocked off her ski by a whale.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

X Games tribute to Sarah Burke

In a touching tribute, the X Games remembered legendary freestyle skier Sarah Burke on Thursday night in Aspen, Colo., with a ceremony on the halfpipe, where Sarah Burke built her stardom.

Friends walked or, on skis, glided down the halfpipe holding white glow sticks above their heads.

"Everything she believed in is on this mountain tonight," Winter X emcee Sal Masekela told the crowd, according to the Associated Press. "Competition, excellence, progression."

View the tribute to Sarah Burke here:





[A unique tribute to Sarah Burke on Facebook]

More from the Associated Press:
With light snow falling on them at the bottom, those friends embraced Burke's parents and her husband — all still mourning a week after the 29-year-old Canadian freestyle icon's death following a training accident on a halfpipe in Utah.

It was a touching moment in front of a normally raucous X Games crowd that fell silent while watching the tribute. It opened with a video remembrance of Burke, the four-time champion in skiing superpipe who used to save her best work for the fans in Aspen. [...]

Burke was the first woman to land a 720, then a 900, then a 1080-degree spin in competition. But the summary of Burke's life, Masekela said, will never be found in any stat sheet or record book.

"She was a superstar with the humility of a rookie," Masekela said.

Shortly after the tribute, with the competition moving on, Burke's name was briefly the second-hottest trending topic on Twitter — one small indication of what she meant to the action-sports world she helped shape. Meanwhile, all around Aspen, the new sticker that reads "Celebrate Sarah" was becoming an increasingly popular item. [...]
Even though it wasn't her best event, it was Burke's prodding that played a big role in bringing women's slopestyle to the X Games program in 2009. She had a similar impact on the International Olympic Committee, which voted to bring that sport, along with Burke's specialty, superpipe skiing, into the games beginning in 2014.
Sarah Burke once said in an interview years ago, "I just ski because I really like it. I'm not going out there to win the most money or make a big difference. I do it because I love it."

Because of her love for skiing, she did make a big difference. RIP, Sarah Burke.


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Coca-Cola polar bears to watch, react to Super Bowl live on Facebook

Bears are cute, as we know from this friendly bear that waves back to people and these fun-loving polar bears that mugged for the “Spy on Ice” Polar Bear Cam.

We also know that Super Bowl commercials are clever.

What does one have to do with the other?

For Super Bowl XLVI, Coca-Cola is combining cute with clever by having its popular polar bears watching the game live, and allowing human fans to watch their reactions on Facebook.

Essentially, it’s a continuous, game-long Super Bowl commercial, and it benefits the World Wildlife Fund. Sounds like it’ll also entertain those tuning in on iPads, iPhones, laptops and other devices. Oh, and the polar bears will also be tweeting during the game.

Ah, the beauty of social media. Here’s a preview:





This is how the Coke Polar Bowl is explained on Facebook, where you can also RSVP for the special Polar Bear Super Bowl Party:
On Feb. 5, the Polar Bears are throwing their first-ever Coca-Cola® Polar Bowl Party. They’ll be watching the game and chatting with friends from kick off until the clock runs out. RSVP now to hang out and chat with the Polar Bears during the game. Plus, with each RSVP Coca-Cola will donate $1 to World Wildlife Fund to help polar bears and their Arctic home.
USA Today wrote about the new concept of mixing Coca-Cola’s polar bears, the Super Bowl, Super Bowl commercials and social media to take advantage of today’s Internet and (Name the Device) Age.

From USA Today:

The computer-animated bears will appear in a video stream running throughout the game at CokePolarBowl.com, a site hosted within Facebook. The bears, appearing to watch the game, will respond in real time to the real game’s action, such as touchdowns, turnovers, bad calls and even commercials for other brands. For instance, if a sexy ad airs, an adult bear would cover the eyes of a baby bear.

The bears — programmed with hundreds of reactions — will be “puppeted” by Coke controllers. Coke will also post witty Twitter updates from the bears and encourage viewers to upload photos to be incorporated into the live stream.

“The trick is to be everywhere consumers are,” and that means having a presence on the TV broadcast, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other popular sites, says Pio Schunker, Coke North America head of integrated marketing platforms and content.
What’s next? A phone app to track great white sharks that are tagged? Oh wait, they already have that.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snowmobiler buried alive in avalanche, see dramatic video

Two snowmobilers race up the side of a steep incline. One motors to the bottom, the other falls off as his machine continues to the bottom of the hill. The tossed-off rider starts trudging through the snow toward his snowmobile.

A third snowmobiler races farther up the incline and charges down, passing above the walking rider.

A fourth snowmobiler waves his arms and points to warn them of impending doom.

Too late.

A small avalanche slides down and buries the walking rider.

And it was all caught on a helmet camera worn by the fourth snowmobiler who was trying to warn them.

Take a look at the dramatic video of the recent snowmobiling incident somewhere in Washington:


 



The YouTube posting of "Live to tell" included a post from Captain Swanson, the surviving snowmobile rider.
The guy on the white sled rode the avalanche down and knew right where to look for me. These guys saved my [expletive] and got me out fast. Seemed like a whole lot longer when in the snow but thanks for the quick work guys. Looking forward to the next ride with you beacon and all.:)
Good idea. Wearing a beacon is especially recommended when snowmobiling in avalanche-prone areas, such as a steep incline like the one in the video, which shows that it doesn't take much to trigger an avalanche and for an avalanche to bury someone.
 
Another no-no is riding above someone else on a steep slope. Doing so can trigger an avalanche, as you just witnessed.
 
It's probably not surprising to know that deadly avalanches mostly involve snowmobiles. From the Safe Riders Snowmobile Safety Awareness Program:
Snowmobilers top the list of those who get caught and perish in avalanches in North America. Understanding the basics of avalanche safety is important for those wanting to snowmobile in avalanche country. It is strongly recommended that you take an avalanche-training course with a field session to learn what to look for. Avalanches that involve people do not randomly occur. Over 90 percent of the time, the victims or someone in their group triggers the snow slide. This means that avalanches could generally be avoided if snowmobilers would learn to follow avalanche safety procedures. The following information is a general introduction to avalanche safety. For additional information, visit www.fsavalanche.org.
For more information on avalanche safety, go to the Forest Service National Avalanche Center.

Be safe out there, snowmobilers.

 
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Underwater video of killer whales off California coast

One voice among the group of whale watchers said it all: “It’s unbelievable. This is the best killer whale show I’ve ever seen.”

Indeed, when a whale-watching boat spots 40 killer whales on one trip, it really is unbelievable.

And to see some of the orcas from an underwater viewing station aboard the Manute’a? All the more incredible.

That’s exactly what happened last Thursday on a whale-watching trip with Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari out of Dana Point, Calif. Take a look at part of the trip on this YouTube clip from Captain Dave's:





Wildlife enthusiasts can take an African safari and see lions, elephants, giraffes and hippopotamuses, among other exotic animals, in their native habitat.

Most people only see killer whales, aka orcas, at Sea World. Same for dolphins. But on Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari, one can sometimes see hundreds of dolphins in one pod in the wild, and during the winter whale-watching season (which is now), possibly a handful of whales -- this only miles off the Orange County coast.

Seeing 40 killer whales is not a guarantee, however, but during the winter season you’re likely to see at least one or two migrating gray whales, with blue whales passing by on occasion in the summer months.

Which is why seeing 40 killer whales on Thursday was so rare, so special.

The underwater video was taken from the eye-to-eye underwater viewing pod, originally designed to view dolphins on the Manute'a.

The view of dolphins -- like the view of the killer whales you just saw -- is unlike any other in the world. Can't imagine seeing hundreds of dolphins at once? Then take a look at this KABC special report.

Captain Dave Anderson has also incorporated live streaming video online for those who can’t make it out to Dana Point. But if you're in the neighborhood, it's time well spent.

At the end of Thursday’s trip, three killer whales lined up, spouting water and slapping the water with their tails one after another, as if putting on a show.

You know, maybe they were.


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Monday, January 23, 2012

Narrowest trail in the world or scariest trail in the world? (videos)

Narrowest trail in the world? Or scariest trail in the world?

We don't know where it was, who it was or when it was, only that it looked extremely dangerous, this dirt biker performing a death-defying ride across the narrowest trail in the world. Or the scariest trail in the world, if you'd prefer.

The 1 1/2-minute video of the daring dirt biker was posted Friday and is making the rounds on the Internet.

Not much information was offered. All the poster said was "Dirt biker with a death wish rides on what appears to be the narrowest trail in the world with massive dropoffs on each side."

Take a look, and then compare it to the video below:



"I get vertigo from watching this," one commenter on thumpertalk.com said about "The narrowest trail in the world."

"Fish eye lense on camera makes it look gnarlier than it may be," said another. "Still not much room for mistakes, though."

No, not much room for error at all. Kind of similar to the narrow singletrack the mountain bikers had in this YouTube video, one simply called radwanderung or bike:





This mountain biking video was posted a couple years ago but not long ago found its way onto Adventure Journal, which called it "the most terrifying five minutes of singletrack on Earth."

It might be right.

So what say you? Which was the scariest trail in the world? Or was THIS the scariest trail in the world?

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Vail resorts to snow dance; Lake Tahoe ski resorts could use one, too

Lake Tahoe ski resorts, take note.

If you are lacking in snow for the winter sports season, as the ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe region are, hire a Native American to do a snow dance.

Are you listening, Squaw Valley? Northstar-at-Tahoe? Heavenly? Alpine Meadows?

Look what happened at Vail Ski Resort in Colorado.

Vail was reporting a 15 percent decrease in total skier visits at its six properties, and Vail’s popular back bowls had been roped off late into the season because of a lack of snow, according to The Wall Street Journal.

So what did Vail do?

It hired Eddie Box Jr., 66, a member of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe of Colorado, to do a snow dance, much to the delight of skiers and snowboarders.

Here’s how it went:





Since the snow dance was performed on Jan. 7, Vail has received at least 25 inches of snow, and the back bowls opened Thursday for the first time this ski season, the WSJ reported.

Apparently, this wasn’t the first time Vail brought in a Native American to perform a snow dance. Box’s father performed the first snow dance at Vail in 1963. By the end of that day, the mountain was covered with eight inches of snow.

Like other mountain resorts across the U.S., Lake Tahoe resorts are starving for fresh powder for the skiing and snowboarding season. The region just recently broke a record of 56 straight dry days, including a completely dry December. Can you say snow dancer?

Ah, but finally on Friday, the Tahoe resorts were starting to get some snow, according to Ski Lake Tahoe.

But if the Tahoe ski resorts really want a good dumping of fresh powder, they might want to call Vail to get the phone number for Box.

A snow dance sure couldn’t hurt.


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A poignant tribute to Sarah Burke, a freestyle skiing legend
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