Today’s reader question:
With all the injuries and fatal accidents with athletes in snowboarding, how do you deal with the high risk that comes from doing a sport like snowboarding? When you’re hitting a big jump how do you handle knowing the increased danger and risk that comes with what you’re about to do?
Well… snowboarding is dangerous. We hike into deep snow, hit icy jumps and slide on metal rails. When you compare it to sports like tennis or basketball, the risk we take on a daily basis is far higher, especially for those of us who enjoy the freestyle side of snowboarding.
So the real question is how do you deal with the increase risk and how do you stop it from becoming a fear that stops you from progressing and attempting new tricks?
It’s always in the back of your head
Well the truth is the danger is always there and every snowboarder is always aware of it. Avalanches happen. People break their backs and necks. Fatalities happen. It’s an unfortunate part of our sport and when we stand in front of a big jump or some other big obstacle, we’re always going to be aware of the increased risks we’re taking.
The key to dealing with that danger is acknowledging it and preparing to limit the danger without running away from it.
The fact is you can’t run away from danger in snowboarding. You’re going to be in danger every time you snowboard. If you don’t want any danger you better swap to table tennis because there’s no way to avoid danger if you intend to keep snowboarding, much less if you want to learn freestyle.
Respect the danger
It comes down to respecting the dangers of our sport. Do you go into the backcountry without proper avalanche training? No. You respect the fact that what you’re doing can be risky and you’re preparing and limiting the risk you take.
The same goes for hitting big jumps or trying new tricks. We don’t randomly hit a 70 foot jump before we’re ready. We build up to it by mastering jump technique on smaller jumps first.
Dealing with the dangers of snowboarding is not about ignoring it or avoiding it, but rather it’s about knowing it’s there, preparing for it, and knowing that you’ve done what you can to limit the risk.
At the end of the day when you want to take a bigger risk such as hitting a big park jump you need to ask yourself if you’ve taken the danger seriously and prepared appropriately.
Once you’ve prepared for the risk you can stand there ready and knowing that the risk is there, but that you’re ready to face it. At the end of the day facing those challenges and overcoming them is a big part of what makes snowboarding so fun.
We’re snowboarders and we don’t run from danger. We manage our danger and limit our risk while pushing ourselves in a sport we love.