Wind has quite the maligned reputation. Its unyielding blow annoys, destroys and for a skier, flattens fields of untouched powder while almost illogically creating dangerous avalanche conditions the next ridge over. It does not have the linked effect of pleasurable outcomes quite like the rain, snow and sun do. But even so, Salomon Freeski TV dedicates its fifth episode to this vilified element and slows things down to make you think a little bit longer about El Vuelo (the wind). The edit features skiers Alexi Godbout, Vincent Gagnier, and Leo Ahrens traveling to the Chilean Andes in search of snow. In honor of this episode, I decided to give wind a fair shot at redemption with the best decision-device of all time: The pro and con list.
Pro: If there was no wind, there would be no storms, no snow, no rain. Everything from surface winds created by high and low pressure variances to upper level jet streams help propel storms.
Con: It's annoying. It's the Chinese water torture of weather. It sandblasts exposed skin, sounds like a haunted white noise TV cranked up to 11 and blows over skinny people -- okay, well, that's kind of funny.
Pro: Without wind, the sensation of speed and flight would be greatly reduced. When the fastest human on earth, Felix Baumgartner says, "I [didn't] feel anything -- no indications, no noise. There is only nothingness," about his sound-breaking freefall from the stratosphere you learn that your 35 mph groomer bombing feels faster than his 833 mph skydive.
Con: Hardpack. Chasing that piece of garbage that got blown out of your car. Avalanches. Leaves all over the place. Wind moves stuff around. Usually for the worse.
Pro: More sports. Windsurfing, kitesurfing, sailing, hangliding, paragliding, air ballooning, kite fighting.
Con: Studies have shown that prolonged periods of wind show a correlation between high anxiety, stress, depression, road accidents and higher suicide rates.
Winner: Wind! All but the suicide rate seems to show that the pros of wind heavily outweigh the cons. Congratulations wind, you have won America's heart once again.