Friday, March 26, 2010

Glass Tunnel

Another novelty spotted during our recent ski holiday.

Several very long shiny transparent tubes crossing the snow just below Val Thorens.

Turned out to be Travelators.
I had seen shorter, exposed versions in several resorts, where they are particularly useful for getting absolute beginners, mainly kids, back up the nursery slopes.
But these are the longest I have seen, and the only covered ones.

Parting thot: "Where a new invention promises to be useful, it ought to be tried." - Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hot Seat?

Puzzle picture from last week's skiing holiday…

When I saw these devices on ski-lifts for the first time this year, I first thought they might be loudspeakers (perish the thought, there was already "musical" noise pollution from several mountain restaurants).
Next I guessed "heaters?" – but no.
Finally I saw the explanatory signs – they are powerful electro-magnets to stop kids falling off!

Sure enough, ski school classes of smaller kids could be seen wearing the special vests, presumably with metallic inserts, which go with the system.

I didn't actually see how it worked in practice.
Are the kids snatched into place from wherever they sit?
Can they get locked solid in grotesque contorsions?
Are they gently realeased or flung off at the end?
Is there an emergency release button?
Who knows.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are warning signs about not using those seats if you have a pacemaker…

Parting thot: "Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible." - Dalai Lama