The Yeti Survival Guide
After experiencing a little real life drama earlier this year, I'm putting safety first this season and here's why.
In the Whistler, B.C. mountain bike park, riders sometimes share their trails with the notorious and fearsome black bear. So, what's the natural reaction when a bear appears on a trail in front of you? I found out at the end of last summer and the answer is very simple - panic and slam on the breaks! I'm proud to say that I earned several conservationist points, as the bear remained unperturbed and continued to relax in the comfort of its own surroundings. I, however, lost several mobility points, as a flip over the handlebars on to a considerately placed rock left me with three spinal fractures, concussion, a broken tooth, a punctured tongue, whiplash, a broken bike and a seriously dented ego.
Lying in this attractive heap on the ground, I started to wonder – if a black bear can cause so much havoc without lifting a paw, then what kind of destruction could a Yeti affect, roaming the slopes and catching snowboarders and skiers off-guard? If you find it hard to believe in the Yeti you’ve never seen, just imagine a black bear, or its grizzly counterpart with a dusting of snow and grumpy with cold. Or even yourself, at the board park, after you fail to stomp the landing on a Big Air for the tenth time - all with a bunch of 8 year old ‘Go Pro’ boarders watching.
To help other sports enthusiasts in their encounters with dangerous beasts, I came up with these four rules.
1 – DON’T PANIC
2 – THINK TWICE
Once you have controlled your fear, and bodily functions, you need to assess the situation. Ask yourself the following questions (generally the quicker the better)…
- Is your Yeti black and relatively small (approx. 200-300 lbs)..?
- Is your Yeti caramel brown or white in colour and relatively large (approx. 600-800lbs)..?
- Are there any mini Yetis around..?
If your Yeti is black, smaller and/or there are cubs then you should Make noise, wave your arms and back up slowly.
If your Yeti is caramel brown or white in colour and much larger then you should Avoid eye contact, talk quietly and back up slowly.
If you didn’t quite manage to not panic and can’t tell black from brown, back up slowly is always a good option.
In a perfect world, with predictable Yetis who do what they should, thinking twice should suffice. You can go back to shredding and leave the Yeti to maul the next guy who didn’t read this article. However, bumping into Yetis on the slopes suggests this is not your perfect day and you best remember to...
3 – BLUFF IN THE FACE OF DANGER
Yetis often perform a loud, grunting charge, a convincing bluff to scare you off, before they resort to violence. You have a couple of possible responses and once again your decision depends on the Yeti in question. Is it black, brown, white, large or small…?
Brown/white/Large Yeti - Counter-intuitively, the best thing you can do is stay absolutely still, avoid eye contact and stand your ground. Bluff him right back.
Black/small Yeti – start shouting, waving your arms, generally pretending to be intimidating. Think Gandalf facing the Balrog. Only don’t slip.
N.B. Even Mo Farah can’t outrun a Yeti.
4 – THE LAST STAND
You’ve made all the right moves but this incorrigible Yeti is dead-set on confrontation. You know the score now, two different, grueling options for the two different, grueling types of Yetis you’re most likely to meet:
Black/small Yeti – Punch your Yeti in the nose or claw at its eyes. These Yetis have surprisingly sensitive noses and one good shot can be enough to vanquish a Yeti. Which brave person found that out?
Brown/white/large Yeti – Sometimes, it’s harder not to strike back. The harrowing but sensible thing to do if a big brown Yeti attacks you is to lie down and pretend to be as dead as he’d like. Make sure to lie face down, link your fingers behind your neck to protect vital areas, and cross your ankles. In fact, cross everything - at this stage it is 50/50.
Well fellow ‘Shred Heads’ I hope you all now know what to do if you encounter a Yeti whilst out playing in nature. Just remember if you are planning to stray off the beaten path into areas where there are natural dangers e.g. (Bears, Cougars, and other Yetis) make sure you go prepared. Tell people where you are going, don’t travel alone, and remember a little Bear/Yeti spray goes a long way. It could mean the difference between living to tell the tale or ending up in some fat Yeti’s litter box. Just make sure you take lots of pictures either way…
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