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Safety

Ski Bum at Sea: Dan Egan's adventures in the Marion-Bermuda Race

Posted by Dan Egan June 13, 2013 08:16 PM

Well, the ski bum is going to sea!

That's right: I’m sailing to Bermuda this weekend in the Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race. Since 1977, the Marion-Bermuda Race has been a premier 645-mile ocean race and sailing event that appeals to a broad range of cruising and racing enthusiasts.

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The Marion Bermuda Race is organized and run entirely by hundreds of volunteering members of The Beverly Yacht Club (BYC), The Blue Water Sailing Club (BWSC) and The Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club (RHADC) for the Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race Association.

I’ll be sailing on a J 122 sailboat named August West, and you can track us and all the boats on the Marion to Bermuda website. Here is a great video on what a J 122 looks like:

Thanks to my sailing friends at Sperry Top-Sider, Atlantis and Gowire Insurance, as well as the Lake Winnispaukee Sailing Association.

I'll be sending updates from the trip via satellite phone. Tune into RadioBDC and Boston.com on Edging the Xtreme for video, images and updates with Adam 12 and I all weekend.

Here are some more pictures, to keep you on your toes:

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Innovative airbag helmets could be the next big thing in cycling

Posted by Dan Egan April 29, 2013 09:50 PM

A new Swedish helmet, complete with airbags and fashionable enough to be a scarf, is a radical departure from familiar, bulky biking helmets on the market today.

But research shows that innovations in cycling gear could be very trendy in the near future. The inflatable Hovding Helmet, which is worn around the neck and is specifically designed for the cycling commuter, is already selling in Europe and is coming soon to North America.

Invented by two Swedish students, Hovding is covered by a removable shell that can be changed to match an outfit, and new designs will be launching all the time. Hövding is a practical accessory that's easy to carry around, it's got a great-looking, yet subtle, design – plus, it might save your life.

Sensors around the rider's neck can sense a quick or unusual movement and will trigger the helmet to inflate. The sensors read body movements 200 times per second, and when it senses danger, the Hovding helmet inflates like a hood.

There are some draw backs, however, as consumers can not repack the “air bag” once it is deployed.

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The company that manufactures Hovding was recently honored at the Tribeca Film Festival, in partnership with the GE Focus Forward Film Series, which highlights innovative ideas, such as the ergonomic, practical, and subtle Hovding.

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There are plenty of stats that tell us that wearing a helmet while cycling is a good idea. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2011 there were 38,000 cicyclist injuries, and 91 percent of bicyclists killed in 2009 reportedly weren't wearing helmets.

The US Department of Transportation conducted a survey in 2011 which found that the biggest area of accidents on bikes was in traffic. So even though only 5 percnet of the people surveyed were commuters, they were at the greatest risk. The Hovding helmet was designed specifically for commuters, and in test after test, the inflatable helmet rated higher in safety than traditional helmets, when it came to head injuries.

Airbag technology has been revolutionary in other sports as well, such as skiing and snowboarding, where avalanche airbags have a 90 percent survival rate when deployed in avalanches. The inventors of the Hovding helmets are already getting requests from other helmet-wearing sports, such as skate boarders, equine riders and winter riders.

If you just look at the traffic safety data from airbags in cars you can see that this company is onto something big.

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It's hard to argue against innovation especially around safety.

Listen to the entire interview with Anna Haupt, inventor and co-founder of the Hovding Helmet on RadioBDC:

Follow Dan Egan on Twitter at @SkiClinics and Like SkiClinics on Facebook.

Ride Safe, Ride Hard, Avalanches and Survival from New England to the Alps

Posted by Dan Egan April 10, 2013 05:49 PM

Avalanches are serious business. Even a moderate one can knock down trees, destroy houses, and virtually clean out anything in its path. The misconception is that they only happen in the back country. However, last year an avalanche in France wiped out a moving chairlift with 41 people on it.

Here in New England, New Hampshire’s Presidential Range are the most avalanche-prone mountains east of the Rockies. The website for Mount Washington states, “Since 1954 there have been 10 avalanche fatalities and many other avalanche accidents in the Presidential Range. Historical data indicate that avalanche accidents have increased in the past decade, mirroring the national trend in recreation related avalanche accidents in the United States.”

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When it comes to avalanche training and information, most of it can be very technical and sometimes hard to understand, but in the last few years, there has been a trend to focus more of the information toward the growing number of recreational and advanced skiers that are venturing off into the backcountry.

Henry Schniewind has been on the forefront of this movement since the late 1980s, after he graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Snow Science.

Armed with a passion for skiing and his degree, Schniewind moved to Val D'Isere, France, where we carved out a niche for himself by creating awareness for vacationers from around the world on the dangers of avalanches.

What started out as an afternoon presentation at a popular bar in Val D'Isere has grown into a full fledged company that does presentations around the Alps and the United Kingdom. What makes Schniewind's avalanche program so different is his focus on providing useable information for the everyday skier that saves lives from the Alps to New England.

His company motto is “Ride Hard, Ride Safe." On his website, where his main theme is “Safety is Freedom," skiers and riders can find information on weather, conditions around the Alps, access his blog and watch videos all designed to keep skiers and snowboarders on vacation safe.

Schniewind is originally from Newton, Mass. and has a teenager's race at Green Mountain Valley School and at Blue Hills. Once an employee of the former Ski Market retail chain, Schniewind has been recognized as a world-wide leader in avalanche safety. He has given over 750 talks and courses in the last 20 years, including presenting at international snow science conferences. He has published many papers and articles, and is motivated by the fact that that nine out of 10 victims of avalanches trigger the avalanche themselves and their injuries could have been avoided.

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In the Alps each winter there are an average of 100 deaths per year. And when you add up that figure to the deaths in North America and beyond, it's clear that avalanches present real danger. Henry’s Avalanche Talks (HAT) is an easy-to-understand voice amongst the technical and often complicated snow science information that tends to be distributed by avalanche sites and experts.

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Schniewind has been a long-time friend and ski partner of mine for over 30 years and I featured him on my long-running television series Wild World of Winter.

Hear the entire RadioBDC interview with Henry Schniewind on Edging the Xtreme with Dan Egan:

Follow Dan Egan on Twitter at @SkiClinics and Like SkiClinics on Facebook.

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