THE FAFF FACTOR AND HOW TO AVOID IT
It takes a brave - or stupid - man to faff in front of Robert de Niro holding a rifle, as Mike in The Deer Hunter. But Stan is a serial faffer. As Mike comments, while sitting on the bonnet of the old 59 Cadillc, 'Every time he comes up he's got no knife, he's got no jacket, he's got no pants, he's got no boots'.This is classic faffing. While everyone else is changing out of the previous night's tuxedos from the wedding, getting ready for the hunt - or in de Niro's case, ready and waiting - Stan is faffing about trying to borrow some boots and Mike is not about to lend his spare pair. 'You got to learn, Stanley'.He then holds up a bullet, 'See this. This is this. This ain't something else.'
Everyone knows a Stan in the ski and snowboard world- or may be is a Stan - forgetting their jacket, mobile or skipass. And, on a bluebird day with fresh powder, there's nothing more annoying than missing first lifts because of a faffer who doesn't know 'this is this'
Here are 10 ways to avoid the faff factor:
When you have a plan for the morning, prepare everything the night before. And, keep 2 in mind.
2) CLEAR HEAD
If you go out partying the night before you're just going to end up like Stan - and have a friend like Mike smugly ready, telling you 'this is this'.
3) KIT REDUCTION
The more kit we have, the easier it is to get confused. Right boots for right bindings? Owning one set of skis and boots for all conditions is always less of a faff, though less interesting. And having only one ski/snowboard jacket means that, at least, you'll always find your ski pass in the pocket.
4) CHECK LIST
It might be anal, but a check list is always a good way of making sure you have everything. Just don't lose the list. You could, at the risk of being completely anal, write SKI PASS, GLOVES, GOGGLES on the a piece of paper taped to the back of the front door.
Keeping everything together and in the same place prevents endless searches around the apartment/chalet/car. Put all your kit on one shelf including socks, buff, sunglasses.
6) STAY CALM
Panic creates faffing - and vice versa. Even if Robert de Nero is waiting with a rifle in his hand while you find your boots, panic won't help.
7) ADAPT QUICKLY
It snows, it freezes, it thaws. Plan A becomes Plan B. You might decide against lightweight touring skis and go for fatter powder ones. But don't spend half an hour trying to decide what to do - and changing kit.
8) PRE PACK BACKPACK
Keep your backpack or avy bag packed with essentials such as a spare pair of gloves, Buff and energy bar. So if you forget any of these it's not a disaster. But don't overdo it - light is always right.
On a freezing summit with friends waiting, is not the place to put together your splitboard for the first time. Nor to figure out your touring bindings.
10) GET UP EARLIER
If you have a tendency to faff or didn't prepare the night before (but why not, hmm?), then set your alarm half an hour earlier than everyone else - so you'll be ready. Then hope there isn't a Stan in your group.