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Episode 1217—Air Date: April 22, 2012

This week on National Geographic Weekend host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about surviving an avalanche while skiing in Washington, meeting an "eco-warrior" bent on saving the environment and winning the Stanley Cup, dodging tornadoes in Kansas, uncovering the tombs of powerful women in the Andes, paying tribute to a pair of fallen photographers, sleeping on a stranger's couch in Bermuda, herding reindeer in the Russian arctic, and holding the jaws of crocodiles while we test just how hard they can bite.

HOUR 1

• Professional skier Elyse Saugstad was leading a tour in the backcountry at Stevens Pass, WA when disaster struck. One of the members of her group triggered a slide. Elyse and four other skiers were below. And for a few horrifying seconds, she tumbled 2600 feet without knowing which end was up. Fortunately, Saugstad had a inflatable backpack that helped float her to the top. She tells Boyd about the experience.

• Professional sports teams in North America carry a large carbon footprint. The size of the leagues and their rigorous travel schedules require a lot of flights. But five years ago, Andrew Ference helped lead 500 NHL players to purchase carbon credits to offset their footprint. The "eco-warrior" stars in National Geographic's web series Beyond the Puck, which shows how Ference and his family live an environmentally friendly life. The Boston Bruins defenseman took time from the NHL Playoffs to visit National Geographic Weekend's studio.

• Last weekend 100 tornadoes ripped through the Great Plains states in a 24-hour period. Winds of over 200 miles per hour were recorded in Wichita, Kansas. Cities and towns were devastated, but there weren't as many casualties as have been in the past. KSN TV meteorologist Mark Bogner tells Boyd that despite a recent uptick in "storm chasers," Kansans respect the tornadoes more than they used to and take proper refuge to keep safe.

• Before the Incans built Machu Picchu, the Peruvian Andes were controlled by the Moche civilization—a society of people whose city-states dotted the mountains from the 2nd to 9th centuries A.D. Luis Jaime Castillo has spent he last two decades excavating Moche tombs and villages. He says that high-ranking women acted in many cases as heads of state who determined political allegiances among the separate towns.

David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, joins Boyd to discuss the possibility that if the Titanic crossed the North Atlantic today, it would encounter more icebergs than it did on its fateful crossing 100 years ago.

HOUR 2

• Many musicians write songs that have a personal meaning—love, loss, and lust have all driven creativity for centuries. But Clarence Bucaro was so moved by some recent events that he wrote several songs for his new CD. Photographers Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were killed last year in Libya while covering that country's civil war, inspiring Bucaro to write "Two Men Down" for his new CD, Walls of the World, which he performed in National Geographic Weekend's studio.

• To see a city as a local is to truly know it. Patricia Marx took that bit of conventional wisdom to an extreme, when she logged on to Couch Surfing's website. She stayed in the homes of strangers in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Iowa City, and Bermuda, and says that while she might not travel that way again, she had a positive experience and met nice—and normal—people.

• The life of a reindeer-herder is not easy. Their commitment to the animals that rely upon them is a difficult relationship that requires living away from people on the frozen Russian tundra. Russian director Aleksei Vakhrushev provides a glimpse into the life of these nomads who struggle to get their children interested in following in their reindeer skins. His new movie, The Tundra Book: A Tale of Vukvukai—the Little Rock, shows that once the children leave for boarding school and bigger cities, they often do not return.

• Evolution felt the crocodile was complete 85 million years ago. The lizard's powerful jaws have kept it in business unchanged. Crocs have a bite force that is the most powerful ever recorded: 3,700 pounds of pressure. Once its jaws clamp shut, National Geographic grantee Greg Erickson tells Boyd, there isn't an option to let go. He tells about how he tests the bites of these animals and why his was a study that he isn't eager to replicate.

• In this week's Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd shares his own experiences with tornadoes growing up in West Texas and how fears of nuclear war with Russia also helped folks dodge tornadoes.

Listen to National Geographic Weekend

Episode 1217—Air Date: April 22, 2012

  • 00:11:00 Elyse Saugstad

    Professional skier Elyse Saugstad was leading a tour in the backcountry at Stevens Pass, WA when disaster struck. One of the members of her group triggered a slide. Elyse and four other skiers were below. And for a few horrifying seconds, she tumbled 2600 feet without knowing which end was up. Fortunately, Saugstad had a inflatable backpack that helped float her to the top. She tells Boyd about the experience.

  • 00:09:00 Andrew Ference

    Professional sports teams in North America carry a large carbon footprint. The size of the leagues and their rigorous travel schedules require a lot of flights. But five years ago, Andrew Ference helped lead 500 NHL players to purchase carbon credits to offset their footprint. The "eco-warrior" stars in National Geographic's web series Beyond the Puck, which shows how Ference and his family live an environmentally friendly life. The Boston Bruins defenseman took time from the NHL Playoffs to visit National Geographic Weekend's studio.

  • 00:06:00 Mark Bogner

    Last weekend, 100 tornadoes ripped through the Great Plains states in a 24 hour period. Winds of over 200 miles per hour were recorded in Wichita, Kansas. Cities and towns were devastated, but there weren't as many casualties as have been in the past. KSN TV meteorologist Mark Bogner tells Boyd that despite a recent uptick in "storm chasers," Kansans respect the tornadoes more than they used to and take proper refuge to keep safe.

  • Before the Incans built Machu Picchu, the Peruvian Andes were controlled by the Moche civilization - a society of people whose city-states dotted the mountains from the 2nd to 9th Centuries A.D. Luis Jaime Castillo has spent he last two decades excavating Moche tombs and villages. He says that high-ranking women acted, in many cases, as heads of state who determined political allegiances among the separate towns.

  • 00:03:50 News - April 22

    David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, joins Boyd to discuss the possibility that if the Titanic crossed the North Atlantic today, it would encounter more icebergs than it did on its fateful crossing 100 years ago.

  • 00:11:00 Clarence Bucaro

    Many musicians write songs that have a personal meaning -- love, loss and lust have all driven creativity for centuries. But Clarence Bucaro was so moved by the news that he wrote several songs for his new CD. Photographers Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington were killed last year in Libya while covering that country's civil war, inspiring Bucaro to write "Two Men Down," for his new CD Walls of the World, which he performed in National Geographic Weekend's studio.

  • 00:09:00 Patricia Marx

    To see a city as a local is to truly know it. Patricia Marx took that bit of conventional wisdom to an extreme, when she logged on to Couch Surfing's website. She stayed in the homes of strangers in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Iowa City, and Bermuda and says that while she might not travel that way again, she had a positive experience and met nice - and normal - people.

  • The life of a reindeer-herder is difficult. Their commitment to the animals that rely upon them is a difficult relationship that requires living away from people, on the frozen Russian tundra. Russian director Aleksei Vakhrushev provides a glimpse into the life of these nomads who struggle to get their children interested in following in their reindeer skins. His new movie The Tundra Book: A Tale of Vukvukai, the Little Rock shares their struggle.

  • 00:08:00 Greg Erickson

    Evolution felt the crocodile was complete 85 million years ago. The lizard's powerful jaws have kept it in business unchanged. Crocs have a bite force that is the most powerful ever recorded: 3,700 pounds of pressure. Once its jaws clamp shut, National Geographic grantee Greg Erickson tells Boyd, there isn't an option to let go. He tells about how he tests the bites of these animals and why his was a study that he isn't eager to replicate.