For The Record: May/June 2001

Fall Line

Poles Apart

Ed Scott didn’t invent the aluminum ski pole, but he darn near perfected it. His genius was to taper the shaft, use thin-walled tubing and design the three-spoke basket to decrease swing weight. Scott traveled the country demonstrating his product in the late Fifties. “I’d go into a shop and ask ‘What’s the best pole you carry?’ I’d have them hold two of my poles in one hand and one of their best in the other,” Scott recalled later. “Their eyes would bug out at the difference.” Scott Poles instantly became the standard. Scott, 86, died last spring in Boise, Idaho.

The Perfect Winter? The snow is melting on what may be the busiest season in the history of skiing. Resorts nationwide are poised to surpass 54.6 million skier visits (the record from the 1993-94 season), with some insiders predicting up to 57 million skier visits. The snow has been deep in the East and Midwest, but only average in the Rockies and Far West. After two thin snow years, however, the dam apparently blew behind an ocean of pent-up slope demand.

Queens Of The Hill The Mt. Blue High School girls ski team won its 10th consecutive Class A state title this season, making it the most successful sports program in Maine schoolgirl history. “They annihilated the competition,” says racer parent Gary Guyette. The team clubhouse is tiny Titcomb Mountain, on the edge of Farmington, Maine, where a season pass for a family of four costs $268. The Cougars graduate nine seniors this spring, but the competition shouldn’t rejoice. The Mt. Blue girls middle-school ski team won the state championship, too.

Talking Trash

A Bud bottle dropped at the base of Mt. Rushmore National Park will be around long after Lincoln’s nose falls off. The National Park System includes 83 million acres, which seems like a lot of space for a few beer bottles until you realize nearly 300 million recreational visitors drive, bike, hike or otherwise stomp through national parks annually. Visits rise with the temperature, peaking at 45 million in July. Here’s a list on how long it takes detritus to decompose. Tape it to your Explorer’s dashboard-and don’t let it blow out the window.

Banana and Orange Peels up to 2 years
Cigarette Butts up to 5 years
Plastic Bags 10-20 years
Plastic Film Containers 20-30 years
Nylon Fabric 30-40 years
Wool Hiking Socks 50 years
Aluminum Can Tabs 80-100 years
Plastic Six-Pack Holders 100 years
Glass Bottles 1 million years
Plastic Bottles Indefinitely
Videos of Survivor Reruns Not soon enough