Check Out Our Shop
Page 1 of 8 1 2 3 4 5 6 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 185
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    6,781

    How Much Risk Is Too Much Risk in Extreme Sports?

    In an effort to take the discussion about what constitutes an appropriate, inappropriate, reckless, reasonable, etc level of risk out of RIP and celebration threads and put it somewhere where it can be fully discussed I offer this thread. Argue about going big, social media, progression etc. here.

    I'll seed the conversation with this: I read a great article a handful of years ago about how the focus on "progression" had driven gravity sports like skiing and mountain biking to a place where in order to do something new and progress the sport you now have no choice but to risk death. Things have gotten that big. I remember distinctly when, as we aged out of our twenties, my group of friends that had previously pursued speed and amplitude started, one by one, switching over to the art and smoothness and aesthetics of lines instead. I'm not certain if that was more age driven or more risk driven: ie, our skill level had gotten to the point that an end goal of "bigger and faster" introduced levels of risk that were not really acceptable. To be clear, this was a group with very high risk tolerance going through this shift. I've since ponder it and I kind of think it was a combination of those two factors.

    All that said, people here seem to have opinions to share and work through about what is reasonable and what is not on this front. We've seen a number of deaths form people that were pushing the limits of their abilities or physics or both.

    Start the discussion/argument/bitch session/insults or whatever else seems appropriate.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    cow hampshire
    Posts
    8,500
    Thanks.

    I feel the majority of risk taken is inherent and done for selfish personal reasons to achieve an endorphin rush. Not for the outside world or anyone else. Not to say that once you've achieved this personally, various times and maybe various ways, that an outside influence (friends) could potentially influence you further than you'd typically go just due to the overall stoke factor involved.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8395983/

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Not in the PRB
    Posts
    33,264
    I watch those Red Bull Rampage bike videos and think to myself "how do they do that? how can they do that? It literally looks death defying to me." I get that they can do that because they have massive skills I do not, but how did they acquire those skills? I think of the slow progression, doing bigger and bigger jumps into gnarlier and gnarlier landings. Is there anyone competing at the top of action sports like this that has not broken multiple bones on multiple occasions? How does that physical damage make sense?
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "everybody's got their hooks into you, fuck em....forge on motherfuckers, drag all those bitches across the goal line with you." - (not so) ill-advised strategy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    31,390
    back in the day my country support tech a very logical guy said something about the extreme sports and I said well its not extreme, he pointed out no danger/extreme=no adrenaline and I had to agree with him but I think there are degrees of it

    A psychologist type in the WW paddling club pointed out that everyone of the paddlers exhibited ADHD tendancies, not to a huge degree but bits and pieces that a psch pro could pickup, sometime later she was talking to another pysch pro about ADHD and they asked how/where do you observe this behaviour ?

    she said simple WW kayakers, skydivers, extreme skiers

    she was actualy kinda boring
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    DownEast
    Posts
    3,349
    Risk tolerance and acceptance of consequence is a personal choice… until it isn’t and people are carrying your ass, dead or alive, to an evacuation site.

    In the backcountry, I try not to assume that everyone in the area has signed up for carrying me out and adjust my thinking and/or include the folks in my party in my thought process and decision making.

    Maybe I’m just getting old… or years of marriage counseling has imprinted itself.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Tahoe
    Posts
    16,170
    Much of this has been discussed recently here - https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...33-Tof-Henry-(
    powdork.com - new and improved, with 20% more dork.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Where the sheets have no stains
    Posts
    22,341
    Before I discovered skiing and was living in Indianapolis I was into caving. That morphed into vertical caving; rappelling into underground pits to check them out and then ascending the rope back out.

    Never seemed dangerous at the time. After I moved west and took a couple of rigging for rescue classes it dawned on me that we really did not know what the hell we were doing and what had seemed benign was actually very dangerous. 500' up an 11mm rope in the dark using equipment that we only sort of understood.

    What brought that home was dropping a pit in Alabama and then climbing back out. About 3 hrs later another group was doing the same thing when a large block fell from the roof and crushed 2 of them. We had been standing in the same spot a few hrs before.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

    "Happiest years of my life were earning < $8.00 and hour, collecting unemployment every spring and fall, no car, no debt and no responsibilities. 1984-1990 Park City UT"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    14,054
    Plenty of people, myself certainly included, are chasing that dopamine hit. It's a large part of the reason why I don't nordic ski or spend time on a gravel bike - there's no payoff; no endorphin reward.

    There's plenty of trails and features that I ride my bike on regularly that don't really give me much of a rush anymore, but numerous people have severely injured themselves on those same exact features. And there are plenty of features that I won't hit, but that better riders hit without a second thought. Which is to say, it's entirely possible to injure or kill yourself just about anywhere. People like to focus on the risk of the line or the risk of the feature, but it's all relative to the skill and experience of the rider / skier, and armchair quarterbacks are inevitably bad at assessing that metric.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    slc
    Posts
    18,141
    IIRC, 20-ish high school athletes die every year doing normal non-extreme sports. Marc-Andre Leclerc did some of his craziest stuff with no cameras present. Some people are just internally driven to get after it for the pure love of it--it's not all for the 'gram.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    northern BC
    Posts
    31,390
    and then some people just don't see the risk

    we were doing this Mtn bike DH course, the trail was exaclty 1 bar width wide between a sheer wall and a sheer drop off, so at the bottom I asked bro how it went with the trail/ sheer walls and he said

    what wall ?
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    N side, Terrace, BC
    Posts
    5,236
    From the Tof thread powdork mentioned:

    Originally Posted by Spooky:
    "Ostensibly true, but when you understand the realities of the high altitude environments in which she pursued her main objectives, was she actually engaging is less risky/reckless behaviour? I'm not so sure. The additional objective hazards on those 8000+M peaks are so pronounced, with altitude and weather systems alone removing your safety margins so significantly, that going after such ski descents on those peaks is so inherently dangerous that I sadly was no more surprised at her demise than Tof's. RIP to both - I have huge admiration for both even though their pursuits raise difficult questions about risk."

    Posted by me in the Tof thread:

    "Re Tof, it's a damn shame alright and condolences to friends and fam. But it was hardly a surprise. Just as it's not a surprise when base jumpers who push the envelope on proximity flights buy it. Super tragic, but no surprise."

    The "risk" thing means different things to different people. Those red bull rampage cats are talented, fit, they train, have worked their way up to the madness/radness that is a rampage run. Do they do it into their 50's? No fucking way. Just as a beginner mountain biker would look at us doing a black diamond trail as super human, we look at the rampage riders the same way. Way too much risk for one of us to attempt a typical rampage run, way too much risk for a beginner to do a black trail we think nothing of. Same thing as a typical FWT run. I would likely be mortally injured attempting to ski the shit those guys do. They've worked their way up to it where hucking a 60ft backflip of a cliff and sticking it is their normal. No more risky than me ripping (or my version thereof) my favorite double black in powder.

    Over the years our tolerance for risk changes. I used to ski "fall you die" lines and couloirs. Not no more. Not just because I've got a wife, kids and grandkids who would miss me, but because my risk tolerance has changed as has my physical and mental ability to actually ski that shit without falling and dying.

    How much risk it too much risk? IMO a personal choice certainly, but putting other people in mortal danger because of the shameless pursuit of self promotion, well I call bullshit. Tough conundrum though - is it fair to leave children behind without a parent because your chosen profession has a high probability of death? Should a sponsored base jumper quit his profession because he has kids? A big mountain skier? A fireman? A logger? Don't know the answer, but I'm sure some of you smart folk do.
    “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    cow hampshire
    Posts
    8,500
    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    and then some people just don't see the risk

    we were doing this Mtn bike DH course, the trail was exaclty 1 bar width wide between a sheer wall and a sheer drop off, so at the bottom I asked bro how it went with the trail/ sheer walls and he said

    what wall ?
    That's just vision with 100% confidence in your ability.

    My years in Jackson were spent skiing with many of the kooks in the first tgr flick and everyone was doing it for themselves. No cameras were around until Wade heard of x, y, and z ripping rowdy lines and connections were made. It was just pure stoke for the rush of what is just epic skiing. I'm not sure what in life is more fun and fulfilling than skiing a line down thru a cliff area.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Not Brooklyn
    Posts
    8,393
    Context matters:

    Are you executing a rad first descent or trick that you've been planning and training for for months?
    Or are you ignoring the persistent weak layer on the 35 degree pow slope you're about to ski poorly?
    Are pushing closer and closer to the limit on a regular basis because you get off on it?
    Do you have kids?
    Are you a kid who doesn't know any better?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    slc
    Posts
    18,141
    Quote Originally Posted by jackstraw View Post
    I'm not sure what in life is more fun and fulfilling than skiing a line down thru a cliff area.
    That moment when you leave the takeoff of a big air and your speed, balance, and angle are perfect and you know you're going to stomp it stretches on like an ocean of time. There's no past, no future, just the perfect unending present.

    Of course, when things aren't perfect that ocean of time is decidedly less idyllic. I can't imagine what was going through that poor kid's head as he saw the guardrail approaching. You know the instant you take off whether you're going to make it or not.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    236
    Thanks for creating this thread; it does raise some tough questions. I don't really understand how one can simultaneously cheer on Candide (we all worship him, right?) for his massive double backies across houses, canyons and whatnot , while (implicitly) calling someone stupid for coming up short on a consequential road gap. I think you're right that the sport has progressed to a point that risking death is required to push the envelope.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    cow hampshire
    Posts
    8,500
    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    That moment when you leave the takeoff of a big air and your speed, balance, and angle are perfect and you know you're going to stomp it stretches on like an ocean of time. There's no past, no future, just the perfect unending present.

    Of course, when things aren't perfect that ocean of time is decidedly less idyllic. I can't imagine what was going through that poor kid's head as he saw the guardrail approaching. You know the instant you take off whether you're going to make it or not.
    Yeah, having ragdolled down faces and stomped a couple I know the feeling. Although, I limited my risk to a certain degree, especially with air involved. Skis on the ground I took more risk I suppose because I was more confident. Airs always had that +/- variable if the landing wasn't what you thought or you were just off in the air. For me that was a scary x factor that I didn't push too far. The difference between launching in places like JH or Squaw vs a Taos is quite different. Big wide open run-outs are nice. Trees are sketchy and I was typically a no go. When I see vids of sending into tree lines it turns my stomach a bit. Margin for error is so small.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    the big dirty
    Posts
    726
    Clicks, views, and comp results are how we have decided to distribute resources: money, free equipment, film trips to one athlete and not another. If someone isn't taking the risks, someone else will take their place. They have made it to the top because they are willing to take more risk than the next guy. Maybe this is changing with the influencer/vlogger model where more relatable influencers are eating the lunch of extreme sports athletes.

    But that doesn't mean there isn't a way to make things safer. I was watching old alpine races, even from the 80's and the poor quality of the courses made it seem like they were straight lining through moguls. Maybe it's a wash as the speeds are high today, but there's something to be said about more manicured courses and better fences.

    There are ways to push the sport forward while still having better safety margins: Cut the guardrail away, do the physics to make sure you have enough speed, hit a similarly sized drop, do a trick off of a smaller jump with less consequence, etc...

    Gap jump vs table top. The forces and sensations experienced by the body are the same, but the risk is much different.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    1,499
    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Plenty of people, myself certainly included, are chasing that dopamine hit. It's a large part of the reason why I don't nordic ski or spend time on a gravel bike - there's no payoff; no endorphin reward.

    Not to derail things, but unless there's actual science about this to prove me wrong (and if so, please share), physiologically, there's likely zero difference between the endorphin rush someone receives from doing those sports vs. say mountain biking at a high level. To think you can't get an endorphin rush from somethig is typically more of a personal problem than sport wide issue. Case in point, I ain't getting shit out of taking my kids ice skating, but I'd guess the endorphin rush from winning a gold medal in figure skating blows away most anything on earth.

    But to bring things back to a broader risk analysis perspective, I'd argue that the belief that you can only get endorphins from one sport, done only in an specific and increasingly risky way, is a logical fallacy that at best ends in burnout, and at worst in injury.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    14,054
    Quote Originally Posted by kathleenturneroverdrive View Post
    Not to derail things, but unless there's actual science about this to prove me wrong (and if so, please share), physiologically, there's likely zero difference between the endorphin rush someone receives from doing those sports vs. say mountain biking at a high level. To think you can't get an endorphin rush from somethig is typically more of a personal problem than sport wide issue. Case in point, I ain't getting shit out of taking my kids ice skating, but I'd guess the endorphin rush from winning a gold medal in figure skating blows away most anything on earth.

    But to bring things back to a broader risk analysis perspective, I'd argue that the belief that you can only get endorphins from one sport, done only in an specific and increasingly risky way, is a logical fallacy that at best ends in burnout, and at worst in injury.
    Sure - different people get their kicks doing different things. That seems fairly self evident.

    But this thread is about people that get their kicks from risk. And while nordic skiing / gravel riding / etc. may fire off those pleasant hormones for some people, it's (as best I can tell) not because of the risk associated with those sports. And to be clear, that's a good thing. If we could all get the same dopamine fix from non-risky activities, threads like this probably wouldn't exist.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Keep Tacoma Feared
    Posts
    5,387
    It's ball juice. Same reason the majority of our prison population is 15 to 30 year old men. Chop off their balls and you won't have young men trying to road gap anymore.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    slc
    Posts
    18,141
    In our deep evolutionary past taking a certain degree of risk was required to eat and stay alive, and successfully navigating that risk surely came with strong neurological and psychological rewards. That hasn't gone away and some people fall way out on the bell curve.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    8,333
    It's all about impressing the ladies, or the men if that's your thing.
    "We don't beat the reaper by living longer, we beat the reaper by living well and living fully." - Randy Pausch

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Geopolis
    Posts
    16,341
    when you’re successful you’re a legend.

    if not you’re then the biggest moron on the planet.

    i think it was once called kodak courage but the stakes have been the same for a long time, maybe there are more people playing now?
    j'ai des grands instants de lucididididididididi

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Boise
    Posts
    115
    Quote Originally Posted by altasnob View Post
    It's ball juice. Same reason the majority of our prison population is 15 to 30 year old men. Chop off their balls and you won't have young men trying to road gap anymore.
    These conversations always lack for policy prescriptions. Way to get the brainstorm rolling.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Before
    Posts
    28,178
    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    In our deep evolutionary past taking a certain degree of risk was required to eat and stay alive, and successfully navigating that risk surely came with strong neurological and psychological rewards. That hasn't gone away and some people fall way out on the bell curve.
    One way to look at that is that the people who took some calculated risk survived, they filled some ecological opportunity.
    So, some of us need to do that, take risks, which is increasingly difficult and stupid in modern life.

    As for me, after tearing a bunch of shit in my knee, I don't ski fast anymore and I don't jump anything bigger than 10' or so. But I fucking love that pull of the gs in a good turn. And I have a ratpack to belong to.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •