Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How extreme is extreme skiing?

This is the kind of question that one has time for in a pre-season never ending high pressure system… Anyway, ever since Patrick Vallençant, Pierre Tardivel and others launched the movement while people like Doug Coombs, Shane McConkey and others brought it further, extreme skiing has fascinated a lot of people including this writer. Incidentally all these people and many more died on the mountain. A question that I think is not fully answered is: What is extreme skiing? We all heard of the easy clear sounding definition “if you fall you die”. That would somehow settle it; that If you are on a line where a fall could/would be fatal you just skied an “extreme” line. Alright, so is it any-fall-on-this-line-will-kill you or is it a fall-on-this-line-can-kill-you? I think the difference is not insignificant as a lot of places you could die on are not necessarily that extreme. Also, what is an extreme skier? Someone that got lucky a couple of times on some hardcore lines or should it be a more regular occurrence? If so, how regular? Is an extreme skier someone that does X number of descents down a Y degree line or higher that are no shorter than Z elevation loss? As a caution to anyone feeling frisky you can see Garett Bartelt's fall by clicking here.

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