Maxed out 

Salvation from within

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I think now might be a good time to bear in mind the sage words of Donald Rumsfeld who displayed an uncanny grasp of the obvious when he said, “Stuff happens.” Stuff does indeed happen.

Or we could try to find solace in the anonymous words — though I like to think they may have been first uttered by Galileo when word reached him that higher-ups in the Church had gotten wind of his Earth-revolves-around-sun proof — “All publicity is good publicity.”

While there may be, admittedly, slim solace to be found in the attendant publicity swirling around Excalibur’s — choose your words carefully here, Max — brush with erectile dysfunction, the warm glow of bonhomie lavished on Tylenol some decades ago when they very positively and very humanly reacted to poisoned product leaps to mind. Knowing what I know about the obsessive dedication the top guys at the Mothercorp share towards safety issues, especially lift safety issues, and their ability to be honest brokers, I believe the cost we will all pay for Tuesday’s detowering will be as low as possible.

And let’s not lose sight of how horribly worse the outcome might have been. Everyone walked away, injuries were minimal, safety engineering and redundant systems kept the rest of the lift upright, future adventure stories bordering on the mythological were created and no animals were harmed.

Still, the timing sucked.

Of all the things we needed this year, something to remind everyone of the inherent risks associated with the sport we love the most, especially the ones we give virtually no thought to, was not among them. Snow, we needed; visitors having the time of their lives, we needed; high spirits and a festive glow, we needed; a buoyant holiday to take our collective minds off the world economic meltdown, we needed. Media vultures of the if-it-bleeds-it-leads school of journalism, we needed about as much as a drowning man needs a glass of water.

This seems destined to be the season that tests the stuff we’re made of. The snow is coming late and largely out of snowguns, although the blessed white stuff is, for the moment, once again falling from the sky. The predictions coming out of all governmental and quasi-governmental bodies are uniformly gloomy. Massive financial frauds are popping to the surface like bloated corpses after a flood as the reality of asset deleveraging makes everything — with the possible exception of anything I buy at the grocery store — worth less and less with each passing day. Jobs, savings and hopes are vanishing like farts in a stiff wind. Fewer people are thinking ski vacation while more and more people are feeling they’re trapped in a low-rent version of Survivor : Everywhere.

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