What a humdinger of a movie this is. My expectations were low: obviously low budget, a no-name cast and some of the special effects were, well, not so special, but, DAMN, it told a great story.
The premise is simple. Three kids talk their way onto a ski lift for one last run, only to get stuck aloft with no hope of rescue for days since the resort is closed during the week. This is another one of those little TEotWaWKIs of which I wrote recently. They were so focused on getting one more go at the slopes that they lost track of what was truly at stake. They had plenty of warning. The operator told them a storm was coming. The lifts were obviously empty for quite some time. And one of them was a beginner. Ah, but kids always think they're invincible.
The movie also raises another issue to consider. What if your only apparent option is one that involves a serious chance of death? Do you wait as long as possible to see if any other opportunities arise? But what if your energy is waning? The longer you wait, the less likely you'll succeed. This is a tough call and harkens back to our discussion of time scale in my review of the TV show After Armageddon. If you're 100% certain rescue will come in the morning, you'll wait, but what if you're wrong?
Do watch this movie. It will scare the crap out of you. Make sure you're bundled up, though, the story seeps into bones like a deep chill. And don't be the last one on the lift.
We had a freakish snowstorm here last week. Reminded me that the little decisions we make every day could lead to tragedy. Here are some every day things you can do to lessen the chances of that happening:
Keep your gas tank full
For some, a 1 hour drive home took 7 or more. You don't want to run out of gas when it's significantly below freezing, you're in the middle of a desert or a bad neighborhood.
Keep your cell phone charged
When the poop hits the fan, you're going to be making a lot of calls and frequent references to your GPS map. The latter, especially, drains power. Make sure you walk out the door fully charged. Also, it wouldn't hurt to bring along a chord to charge up if you get the chance.
Keep abreast of the weather
This has to be more than just listening to the updates on the eights. I mean, grok the weather. What are the experts predicting? How could the forecast vary? What is the worst case scenario? Act accordingly.
Keep abreast of the news
Related issues can have a significant impact. Does your jurisdiction have enough budget for plowing? Is there unrest that could escalate in an emergency?
If in doubt, stay home
Seriously, is what you're doing something for which you should risk your life?
This idiot's story is a case in point. Was going to work that day worth what he risked? I mean, c'mon, he made a dash across an interstate highway!
OK, before the first wise guy comments, I know winter is nearly over. I had considered writing this article in November, but I realized that it's too late at that point to prepare. You need to start now if you want to be ready for the next winter.
These are some basic steps to help you make it through the cold, dark months:
Plan for the long haul. Assume you're going to be isolated, without chance of resupply, for at least 6 months. Sure, this may be more than enough even for the Canadians, but you shouldn't count on a normal winter pattern. Make sure you have enough food, water, heating supplies, sheltering material and entertainment (don't forget about mental health). Even if you over plan, you have left over stuff. That's certainly better than the alternative.
Establish more than one location. That effort you did up in step 1, repeat it at least once more. The last thing you want is to be forced to abandon your shelter in the middle of sub-zero temperatures with no other place to go. This is a very real possibility: You could be attacked by others or maybe you just got careless and burnt your house down. Having the option may save you from risking your life unnecessarily.
Do not reveal your presence. Smoke discipline is a year-round skill you probably have already mastered. Snow tracking, though, can trip you up. Try your hardest not to leave any tracks in the snow around your shelter. I realize that this might not always be possible. Judicious use of hedges can hide your trails in such cases. If that doesn't work, then go to the other extreme. Leave tracks all over to make it appear that large numbers of folks frequent the area.
There is no guarantee when it comes to winter. The meteorological gods may be against you such that no planning would suffice. However, if you think it through ahead of time, you can increase your odds.