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October 17th, 2001 Ted Katauskas | Outdoors
 

The Danger Starts at Home

     
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The doorbell rings. I spring down two flights of stairs, almost breaking a leg when my feet shoot out from under me on a frictionless edge of carpeting. Of course there's nobody at the door by the time I answer it. A curiously plump FedEx envelope waits on the welcome mat.

This, from the press release tucked inside: "Based in Jackson, Wyoming, Teton Gravity Research produces, directs, and edits the premiere adrenaline-sport films in the industry...TGR lives with, participates in, and represents a fresh look into cutting-edge gravity sports. Its group is compromised of the most talented athletes on the planet, including world extreme skiing and snowboard champions, Gravity and X-Games champions, world-renowned surfers, Olympians, BASE jumpers, and kayakers."

There's also a shrink-wrapped videocassette, a copy of TGR's latest, Mind the Addiction ("In the year 2001, 12 of the world's best athletes travel the globe, pushing the limits. Enter their minds, live their lives, feel their addiction.") I hobble upstairs and load it into my VCR.

Instead of the usual sternly worded copyright notice from the FBI, the following SERIOUS WARNING flashes on the screen:

All of the situations depicted in this film are potentially dangerous. All of the riders depicted in this film are experienced athletes. Do not attempt to duplicate any of these stunts. The producers and sponsors are in no way responsible for any damage or injury suffered as a result of viewing this film.

This, I figure, has to be good.

But first, trailers, for upcoming TGR productions. Kayakers nosediving down waterfalls. Surfers riding tsunamis.

Then, our feature presentation.

A lone figure teetering on a knife edge of snow. Voice-over: It's always exciting when you're going somewhere totally new. Nobody's ever seen it before. You fly over the ridge in the helicopter and all of a sudden, there's a big amphitheater of spines.

The lens goes wide-angle, revealing an endless wall of nearly vertical snow below.

Another voice.

It still baffles me that snow can stick to something that steep and not just fall off the mountain...

Then, the story unfolds in a blur of music (Zebrahead, Flightcrank, Flybanger...) and motion--teenagers doing the things that inspired that warning. One kid who says, "I'm now competing a little bit, not quite as stoked on it," cartwheels over a schoolbus, end to end. Another ("Aw, man, I did this cliff drop in Glory Hole. Musta been a hundred feet!") hurls his backpack off a cliff, then follows it, in a head-first freefall.

Not surprisingly, two of the heli-hellions in the pack end up taking a one-way trip on a med-evac chopper.

"I want to have a good year," says Gordy somberly, after a bedside visit with a fallen comrade. "But I also want to walk home at the end of the year without a limp."

Thanks to TGR, I already have one. And ski season is still a month away. If it were up to me, I'd change the name of the film to Mind the Stairs.


Join TGR bigwigs, athletes, and the Bad Girls of Lethal Sports at the Portland premiere of Mind the Addiction Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St., 225-5555. Doors open at 7 pm, and the movie starts at 8 pm, followed by a party with music by Eye Lid Up and DJ Dr. DVS. $17.


First person to call my new voicemail number gets my review copy of the film for free. Losers can buy it for $22 from Teton Gravity Research, www.tetongravity.com , (307) 734-8192.


According to the Farmer's Almanac, the 2001-2002 ski season promises to be a wet one. If that's true, drought-stricken Timberline (222-2211, www.timberlinelodge.com ), where the Palmer Lift, idle last season for the first time in 25 years, should be up and running by Thanksgiving Day.


Mount Hood Meadows (337-2222, www.skihood.com ) plans to open by Nov. 17 at the latest, with young-adult season passes slashed from $700 to $395. At Bachelor (541-382-2442, www.mtbachelor.com ), which promises to open by mid-November, geezers like me can still buy discounted adult season passes--$860, as opposed to $910--for the rest of the month. It just doesn't pay to get old.
 
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