Here’s looking down Big Horn at Whitefish Mountain, yesterday afternoon:
Ethel likes to say that her husband “skis off of cliffs”. Now, I think that that’s a misleading statement, to some extent, in that I’m not flying off of forty foot tall overhangs, like a Warren Miller ski star.
But, when I was looking down Big Horn yesterday, it occurred to me that she’s almost right – or maybe just right, but let’s not make too much of it. And it’s an important distinction between “off of” and “down”.
The definition I saw of “cliff” this morning was:
a very steep, vertical, or overhanging face of rock, earth, or ice : precipice
Given that, then, yes, I do ski off cliffs, since there’s no stated minimum height.
From this aspect of Big Horn, above, when I come off of that lip, I won’t hit the snow for five or ten feet, depending on how quickly I slide off. So, there’s that. If you want to call that skiing “off of” a cliff, then, okay, but it ain’t much.
But that works for the “vertical or overhanging” part of the definition. But, taking the “very steep” meaning, then, well, all of Big Horn is a “cliff”. It’s pretty darn steep. It’s steep enough that I don’t think I would want to try to go down it, in the summer, without a harness and top rope.
In the winter, though, in deep snow, on a pair of skis? It’s just heaven 🙂
So I only ski off of very small cliffs, but I do ski DOWN some cliff-like surfaces.
I’m pretty tired, today – I’ve skied over 100K of vertical in maybe four days this week. And a lot of it has been down Big Horn, or other faces along the same ridge line on the north side. I’m pretty tired – but now comes the weekend, when I’ll spend most of the day skiing blue cruisers with my darling bride!
…and she does not ski “off of” cliffs. Or even “down” them 🙂