Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Job is Almost This Cool

Here's a quick look at how beautiful my country is in the winter, and at how obsessed we are with hockey. I get to fly over these same panoramas, and while we don't get to organize alpine lake hockey games, we do choose our restaurants on playoff nights to ensure we can see the games. We can also get the scores from air traffic control if we have to fly during a game. I know of at least one tower that used their local hockey team's name instead of a letter of the phonetic alphabet to designate the ATIS, just to oblige the pilot of the visiting team's jet to say it.

Yes, my job is nearly this cool, and often a lot colder. See them wearing toques in the helicopters? The other day I was wearing a full-on men's parka, complete with the stereotypical fur around the edge of the hood. The fur is removable, but when it's really cold, they haven't made an artificial material that stays soft and doesn't chafe your skin. (Ever notice how much of the really premium stuff is made by animals? Leather, fur, wool, silk, cream, steak, caviar ... I'm surprised there isn't a chocolate beetle).

That lake in the shot is amazing, before there are any skate marks or ice-testing holes on it. Often as we fly over lakes in late fall we're trying to gauge whether they are frozen or not. You see a little bit of white at the edge of the lake and it's difficult to tell if it's ice just beginning to form, or if it's a little bit of snow on the edge of a completely frozen lake. I'm glad it's never been my job to determine if one is safe to land on. Speaking of safety, before you criticize the flight safety involved in a helicopter playing hockey, see the behind-the-scenes planning from this blog entry.


Sarah said...

Gorgeous video. I don't know about skating, but I know some people who would absolutely love to drop iceboats onto that ice. Clear, smooth, unblemished ice with NO SNOW on top!!

Stay warm and out of polar vortexes.

RTD8450 said...

Awesome concept, with safe, creative, and skillful execution. Only in Canada, eh?

majroj said...

Fur edged parka hoods…apparently wolverine fur doesn't ice up, but it is illegal to wear it in California. USAF used to have two versions of their parka….

Aviatrix said...

Are wolverines endangered in California or do is it just illegal to be so big a douchbag that you wear a fur-lined parka in California? Although I can see someone from a warm climate needing a decent jacket in Yreka in February, you hardly need to worry about your eyelashes freezing to your parka hood and getting ripped out.

Anonymous said...

No safety concerns from here: If it was not (reasonably) safe... and a fun video. Thanks.

majroj said...

Well, try the top of Mt Whitney in a winter windstorm, or Desolation Wilderness west of Tahoe…if you are unfortunate or silly enough to go there in the first place. But generally we wear hod dies into any weather, along with droopy basketball shorts and Birkenstock sandals (socks,too, if it's really cold). ;)

We exterminated the state animal (grizzly bear) and wolverines are extremely rare.

USAF issued them if you flew for periods over, or might be expected to land in, areas above a certain latitude. Most had synthetic fur, some had wolverine.

(Yreka…funny, that!).