Closed book, no device exam of three (3) hours
Design a thought-activated avalanche airbag backpack that fully inflates in <300ms, protects the vital organs, ensures non burial and requires no notification when flying with major airlines. Retail price should be <300 Euros. And weight <2 kgs. (Provide 3D schematics, tooling, Gant chart of product development. 10 points out of 100)
Who is the greatest skier of all time? Justify your choice. (1000 words – 5 points)
Bluff your way into VIP parking at each of Canterbury’s commercial ski resorts. (Practical – 15 points)
Survey the last 6000 years of skiwear focusing on those periods when that which was practical was also fashionable. (1000 words – 5 points)
Design and build an accurate global snowfall forecasting app. (Provide source code – 10 points)
Describe the ways in which a ski club committee always knows best. (10,000 words – or more if required – 1 point)
Sketch the limits and complexities of ski competition; quantitative (measured) vs qualitative (judged) – which is the most legitimate? (2000 words – 5 points)
Summarize the cultural and technological cross pollination between skiing and snowboarding since 1985. Provide a timeline. Which sport got the better deal? (1000 words – 10 points)
Defog a pair of goggles on a chairlift. In a storm. (Practical – 5 points)
Graph the average velocity of gold medal winners of the Olympic Downhill (male and female) over the history of the winter games. Elucidate the various factors – technical, cultural and technological – that increased average speed of competitors focusing on paradigm-shifting athletes. (Graph + 1000 words – 9 points)
Describe in detail how a three-antenna avalanche beacon works. Start at the atomic level and work your way up. (2000 words – 5 points)
Locate all parties of a deep, widely dispersed, multiple-burial avalanche scenario. In a white out. By yourself. In under seven minutes. (Practical avalanche beacon search – 20 points)
Once all this shit is over…come fly the friendly skis!
Fat Cantab Airways launches with the following routes:
Springfield to Castle Hill (non-stop overnight)
Darfield to Glenthorne Station (one stop – Terrace Downs)
Oxford to Cass (express service)
Rangiora to the Bealey Spur Hotel
Switch – The bit that gets spilled when you’re gender fluid.
Dub – Various strains of tweaked BBQ reggae made by bearded white people in Wellington.
Rail game – Generally played with a mirror and lines of MDMA until nobody can stop dancing.
Frontside switch up – An amorous meeting in the fleshpots of Asia where you get more than you bargained for. A surprising nocturnal ladyboy encounter the photographs of which you may choose not to post on social media.
Over shoot the landing – Successful conclusion to a sexual encounter by practitioners of the Withdrawal Method (AKA Vatican Roulette).
Double Daffy – When driving at speed while heavily under the influence of drink and drugs, the technique of covering one eye with your hand to prevent double vision.
Screamin’ Seaman – A painful inflammation of the urethra caused by a bacterial infection accidently picked up off a toilet seat. In a brothel. Named after 1970s pro freestyle skier Curt Seaman; a frequent visitor to Amsterdam.
Cossack – Traditional shock troops of the Russian Tsars and a spread eagle taken past the point of no return that would make Rasputin wince.
Cork – The kind of off-axis trick that opens champagne bottles at the Olympics.
Nose butter – Nothing that can’t be fixed by a strong course of antibiotics.
Shifty – That friend with a migratory-bird-like homing instinct that draws them to the red-light district of a foreign city within 15 minutes of alighting their plane.
Zero Spin – A trick you only see when the subject under discussion isn’t controversial.
Tail grab – No longer seen on the competition circuit due to the success of #metoo.
Critical grab – A misogynistic seduction technique as practised by the leader of the free world.
Knuckle – An area of the landing zone, or someone’s hand, that it’s best not to connect with your eyebrow.
Spread eagle – A star jump on skis. Get your mind out of the gutter FFS.
Flair – A certain flamboyance in dress and manner that is all perfectly acceptable nowadays.
Half pipe – Shunned by the more sophisticated crack smoker as only 50% full.
1. In skiing, as in life, it’s always best to take the high traverse.
2. Ski better than anyone who enjoys it more, but enjoy it more than anyone who skis better.
3. You can have as many friends as you want on a powder day, if you always drop first.
4. DIN settings reflect your commitment to the sport, and reconstructive knee surgery.
5. It’s always better to find deeper snow than buy skinnier skis.
6. When powder skiing (or using inappropriate metaphors) don’t leave fish to find fish.
7. It is a Fat Cantabrian duty to poach other people’s photo shoots. Don’t explain, don’t apologize; they should have hired a helicopter if it’s that important.
8. If you’re queueing up on a powder day then you’re at the wrong resort.
9. Don’t be afraid to pluck the low hanging fruit; be it in a dive bar, a couloir or the boudoir.
10. Repeat after me: “I pretty much rip.”
Some racers wield their skis like rapiers, an artful duel at speed: the thrust and parry leaving the curved mark of Zorro on the piste. Maier was quite the opposite. He bludgeoned the race course in a festival of destruction that bent the gates, his competitors, and the mountain itself to his will.
It seems perverse to find beauty in the whirlwind of hatred that passed for Maier’s average ski run, but there was something graceful in the gratuitous violence. The connoisseur of devastation will, however, always find something striking in the wreckage the Herminator left behind; smashed course infrastructure, broken ski equipment, wounded spectators and the lifeless husks of his adversaries.
This combination of controlled rage, hard yards, competitive acumen and rock-solid talent made Hermann Maier the best all-round ski racer ever. Not even the deeply cynical Fat Cantab editorial team can dispute his record: four overall World Cup titles (1998, 2000, 2001, 2004), two Olympic gold medals (both in 1998), and three World Championship titles (two in 1999 and one in 2005). Let’s not forget his 54 World Cup race victories: 24 super-G, 15 downhill, 14 giant slalom, and one combined. Slalom, then as now, was hardly considered a legitimate sport.
A beast both on and off the race course the Herminator’s training regime was legendary: from hours spent on his stationary bike (“I already know how to ski”) to juggling shotput balls. Like every Fat Cantab hero he valued strength over technique, attack over defence and gonads over style. His backstory is equally compelling: Maier never had it handed to him on a silver platter. Raised in a mountainous region in Austria without electricity or paved roads, the entire valley only had a few dozen chromosomes with which to fashion a genome. Maier spent years working as a brickie before breaking into the Austrian national ski team at an age (24) when most pundits thought he was long past it.
The Herminator’s technique defies analysis simply because most of the time he had no idea what he was doing. Never was pure animal instinct more devastatingly deployed for sliding down a mountain real quick. Days before a race the brick-with-eyes would enter a strange trance and not talk to anyone but his ski tuner. Maier’s mind was already ‘on course’ with a visualisation so intense he was unable to switch off even when things didn’t go according to plan. He often mounted the winners’ podium after crashing out of an event and invariably broke the medal presenter’s hand when shaking it. When he challenged Arnold Schwarzenegger to an arm wrestle who do you think won? *
Maier was a poor traveller. His limited understanding of the world beyond the sheltered valleys of Uber Altdorkenstein resulted in repeated diplomatic faux pas on the race circuit. During the 1998 Nagano Olympics he was formally introduced to the Emperor and Empress of Japan in the Chiyoda Palace. Unfortunately, he mistook a tatami mat for drug sample tray and curled one off in front of most members of the extended Imperial household.
No such boundaries existed on the snow. Maier’s career zenithed in an arc of repeated victory rarely seen in sport. Sports writers punched the hot key for ‘thesaurus’ in their quest for ever more ludicrous superlatives. He appeared unstoppable. What could possibly go wrong?
On the 24th of August 2001 a car smashed into the Herminator’s custom Harley Davidson motorbike on the way home from training. Austrian TV broke their regular programming to deliver the news. Maier was something of a big deal in the small mountainous country whose only other contribution to global culture is the invention of the break-away ski gate.
Initially doctors were more concerned with saving his life than his leg. On impact his right leg had been almost severed and, for a time, doctors feared they would have to amputate below the knee. After they had picked all the paint chips from his wound, the surgeons spent seven hours rebuilding his leg with titanium pins. Their hope was he would walk again.
The pundits believed Maier’s racing career was over, and he had to sit out the 2002 season, missing the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. All rehab is slow and lonely; the sponsors stop calling, suspicious race-team colleagues avoid you like the plague, and coaches pat you on the head with pity as they eye the next young buck on the Austrian Ski Team conveyor belt.
Maier returned to international competition in January 2003 in Adelboden, Switzerland. Just two weeks later during a raging blizzard, he shocked the skiing world with victory in the super-G at the spiritual home of ski racing in Kitzbühel, Austria. During the press conference Maier choked back the tears at the most amazing comeback in sporting history. Naturally Fat Cantab doesn’t condone this display of pathetic emotion in the sporting arena.
In 2004 the Herminator, in his first full season back, took both the super-G and overall titles and received the Laureus World Sports Award for the "Comeback of the Year". He hasn’t had to buy a drink since these heady days at any resort in the world and remains the single biggest point source for the consumption of schnapps in Europe.
Hermann Maier – Fat Cantab salutes you.
* Hint: it’s not Arnie…
Fat Cantab has been a huge supporter of snowboarding over the years. We watched in awe in the early days when Jake Burton invented snow and Tom Sims glaciated Mt Kilimanjaro. It is a fact, usually unacknowledged by the snowboarding mainstream, that many of the pivotal moments in the sport were aided and abetted by Fat Cantab staffers. After a particularly long lunch contributing editor Reg Asquith named two early snowboard tricks; ‘roast beef’ and ‘chicken salad’. We’ve been there for the highs and the lows, offering a shoulder to cry on when sought, and a staunch paternal hand when required.
Despite this multisport love-in, Fat Cantab has always maintained that snowboarding is a piss-poor way of moving about in the mountains. Long traverses, short inclines and any kind of flat spot leave our knuckle-dragging compatriots floundering like a hapless evolutionary offshoot on the Tree of Life. Even those snowboarders in possession of a fully functional set of bindings struggle when presented with such unusual mountain terrain features as an uphill bit. Removing the bindings renders what was barely plausible simply impractical. This hasn’t stopped a paradigm-busting explosion in the popularity of no-boarding as frustrated modern riders seek to capture the lost ‘soul’ of snowboarding.
Like the Pre-Raphaelites and Gothic-revivalists before them are no-boarders enlightened folk harkening back to a superior time in the distant past, or just a bunch of wankers who can’t hack the pace of modern life? In a first for Fat Cantab we actually did some journalism stuff, rather than just post a sprawling opinion piece, and went to find out.
Unless you have been living under a rock, in a cave on a desert island you will have followed the no-boarding craze with wonder. The sport stands in noble contrast to our otherwise pathetic and unfulfilled lives. Currently the fastest growing sport in the world, no-boarding is an adrenaline-fuelled cultural mega-phenomenon. Bindings are replaced with a studded, plastic mat. A rope is used to hold the ‘no-board’ to the soles of your boots; thus serving exactly the same purpose as traditional bindings but in a much more ineffective fashion. Truly pro-level no-boarders take the next logical step and dispense with the board altogether. These ninja-like super athletes form the bulk of the pictorial accompaniment to this article.
Expert ‘no-boarders’ are a sight to behold, mainly because of their rarity. Watching a bunch of novices, however, trying to make a short section of piste and instead launching directly to eyebrow is just the kind of entertainment Fat Cantab enjoys on the way up the chairlift.
Discovering the ‘soulful’ roots of snowboarding is a trend that Fat Cantab fully endorses. We love that shit. It was a simple time, with a cheap do-it-yourself ethos and a taste for rebellion against the harsh strictures of the Fascist ski industry. Although these outlaw values still bedrock the snowboard industry; it will now cost many thousands of dollars for a complete no-boarding setup.
Monoskiers have long searched for effective game-improvement technology. For the last thirty years this was achieved by closely mirroring the advances in traditional alpine equipment. During this period innovative monoski designers integrated side cut, twin tips, rocker and metronomic anti-vibration devices into their product. There was, however, always something holding monoskiers back from realising our vast potential. Monoskiers sacrificed a significant amount of “feel” and control over the monoski by using conventional ski boots. The dual foot print of regular ski boots interfered – sometimes catastrophically - with torsional and longitudinal rigidity. Edging was imprecise and “mono-steeze” was severely compromised.
The solution, while obvious in retrospect, required years of post-doctoral research and development by European genius Igor Ridanovic. In its initial form the monoboot was a simple, yet elegant, solution to the problems that had long plagued monoskiing. When the final prototypes were finished Igor wept at the beauty and sophistication of his creation - a watershed of modern design. A swag of design awards followed including the BMW Award for Technological Innovation (Sports) and the Per Gustafson Fellowship – a prestigious Swedish grant that includes an apartment in Stockholm and 70 hours of sex therapy.
By allowing for the instant transmission of micro-movements to the monoski this new technology has unleashed a revolution in the sport. The monoboot makes Alaskan big mountain descents and freestyle trickery possible. In the same manner that a lot of skiboard pros made the switch to twin-tips in the late nineties so many of today’s top professional skiers are in negotiations to “go mono”. The X-games will introduce a monoski division for the first time in 2018 although the International Monoskier’s Federation has not yet accrued the funds to bribe their way into the 2018 Olympics (“The Franchised Games”). As usual Fat Cantab remains in awe of the technical expertise and visionary fashion sense of our European cousins.
For more information, or to place an order, go to www.monoboot.com