Felix Baumgartner prepares to fall back to earth. PHOTO: COURTESY OF RED BULL

One Small Step(/Fall) for Man, One Giant Leap for Sugar Water

A burrito was a baaad choice…

We can't post this week's Base Grind without reminding readers of the heroically-executed aeronautic stunt undertaken by Red Bull's private space operation this past Sunday. While the purveyors of fine sugar water owe themselves a pat on the back for setting a record that had previously only been attempted by the United States Air Force, there was considerable irony in watching Felix Baumgartner breaking the speed of sound.

He set a new world record not in a graceful head-first dive as us amateur skydiving enthusiasts might expect but rather a vomit-inducing death spiral. Felix later commented that he was having issues with his helmet visor fogging up, no doubt from a fresh hurl of taurine at 800 mph.

A Miracle In Product Evolution

GoPro released their Hero 3 point of view camera this week, with such refined optics and such high resolution that it's been found to bend the space-time continuum and reveal embarrassing personal secrets about those in the frame. Unfortunately, GoPro didn't add my two requests in their upgraded features: A built-in denial of service feature for when people try to flood the Internet with their hideously boring vacation/awesome pow day/amateur park skiing video uploads, and a pocket-mounted fist that punches the consumer in the face when they ask "Is this thing on?"

evo’s People’s Pick: The Ski Brand Throwdown
Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. —Franklin Delano Roosevelt

It’s election season, and it’s your civic duty to vote. For your favorite ski brand anyway. evo is hosting a battle of the ski brands, or at least the ones they carry. Vote here and you’ll be entered to win a $1,000 evo gift card. Check out the current results here. My money is on the local favorites, K2.

Dunfee Hates Fun

Halloween 2011 | Alpine Live Media from Ryan Denning on Vimeo.

See, I love skiing early season!

Earlier this week, I was called out by some readers for being a "downer" for telling people to avoid opening day at their favorite resort because it would suck. I stand by my decision, mostly because I am a miserably sarcastic person who never sees the light of day and only shows up at the hill to ride the chair with optimistic young skiers so I can crush their dreams and make them want to quit skiing. However, for the record, I went out of my way to skin a small hill in New Hampshire on Halloween last year after it snowed, thereby proving my willingness to go out of my way to enjoy skiing. The rest of the time, I've just been counting my gold coins and yelling at Christmas carolers to get off my lawn. Bah humbug!

Columbia Sportswear Ski Bum Scholarship

Attention unemployed miscreants! Columbia Sportswear is running a contest sure to stoke out every recent college graduate already stoked out on graduating from college and freeing themselves of essays, dorm food, tests, and possibilities for decent employment. The Ski Bum Scholarship will award lodging, lift tickets, rental car, and expenses for three nonstop months of ski bummery in the high peaks of beautiful, colorful Summit County, Colorado. All you have to do is submit a short video outlining the defense of your candidacy with humor and dramatic license. Something tells me showing a little skin might help, too. Bros should be warned that Columbia hasn't quite caught up with all the dub step and tall t’s you people are wearing, so put on a nice cable-knit sweater for God’s sake and get a haircut. Still no word, however, on whether booze, drugs, and heli-skiing will be available for itemization under "expenses." Apply here.

The Smoothest Skier

A recent poll on POWDER's Facebook page is asking who readers think is the smoothest skier since the twin-tip evolution. Answers have revolved largely around Candide Thovex, Eric Pollard, J.P. Auclair, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa, and Erik Hjorleifson. Be sure to weigh in with your favorites.