Very late on the night after Christmas, I was scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed. It was late, and I was doing my typical “one last” jaunt through my friends’ posts. I found this incredible NYTimes piece written by John Branch.
Fair warning – it will take you about an hour or more to read the article, watch the video, and the documentary at the end.
But it’s absolutely worth it – all 16,000 words and an incredible multimedia experience. The integration of these elements is outstanding and points to how well they can and should be married to on-line journalism and story-telling.
It’s an amazing presentation of excellent writing, interactive graphics, photography, and video, documenting the tragically compelling story of back country skiers who were chasing newly fallen, deep powder. I’m not sure if I’d call them crazy-brave, or just plain crazy. The narrative hangs on a slowly building sequence of detail, questionable judgement, self-consciously uncertain deference to assumed experience and expertise, as well as a spot on description of the sort of group-think peer pressure that never has a happy ending. I’m not a skier, but if I was, reading the descriptions of the three who perished in the avalanche, and the account of the woman who survived, just might persuade me to stick to the marked slopes.