here's a shorty i wrote last year:
Because terrain parks have become larger and now include rails as well as aggrandized jumps, freeskiing has become extremely dangerous. The danger is enhanced when fledglings attempt to emulate professionals, disregarding their own abilities. Even though professionals can do all sorts of flips and spins while incorporating difficult grabs with extreme style and ease, it does not become apparent to the average skier how much time and effort they have put into skiing to become so smooth and disciplined.
Nowadays, it is extremely rare to visit a ski are that does not have a terrain park. While some ski areas have one large terrain park, others may have several smaller ones. There are even mountains that have numerous larger terrain parks. With the addition of terrain parks, ski areas are now seeing a considerable hike in insurance rates. This is because the insurance companies have realized how dangerous terrain parks can be, and are forced to raise insurance rates to guard against lawsuits and other claims. Also, most mountains have a division of employees titled â€œpark rangers,â€? who simply ski or snowboard through the terrain park, checking on people and altering jumps to make sure everything is safe. This is just another sign shows how potentially dangerous terrain parks have made freeskiing become. However, ski areas need to cater to the â€œnew schoolâ€? style of skiing, so terrain parks will be around for a long time.
Rails are another aspect of skiing that if done incorrectly, could be extremely hazardous. There are many different types of rails, some of which are easy while others require a seasoned veteran to be conquered. One type of rails is called a â€œsex changeâ€? rails, which is exactly what could happen with the slightest mistake. Because these rails stand anywhere from four to six feet off the ground, it is pertinent that the skier fall to the left or right of the rail, avoiding potential serious injury. Other rails are in the shape of an s, hence the name s rail. These are extremely challenging and require the skier to lean and transfer body weight in the curves. Like all rails, there is the possibility that with the slightest mistake the skier could fall and smash their head on the rail, causing severe damage. Rails are just another reason as to why freeskiing is so dangerous.
Not to be forgotten when considering how dangerous freeskiing is are the size of the jumps. Most ski areas have smaller jumps for less experienced skiers and large jumps for those who are more proficient. The size of the jumps at some mountains makes my jaw drop in utter disbelief. It is so difficult to fathom the size, regardless of the stunts they perform while in the air. Some of the jumps are so big that the skier must literally hit the jump at 40 or 50 miles per hour just to reach the landing ramp. Because these jumps are so extravagant and humungous, the dangers of freeskiing are elevated greatly.
Throughout the past few years, the risks of freeskiing have increased dramatically. The jumps have become immense, the rails have become more technical, and the terrain parks are practically taking over the mountains. If this trend of bigger is better does not stop, then the injuries and possibly even deaths in the sport of freeskiing will continue to rise.
Golden Wheelchair Honorable Mention- August 1, 2004
Are Dumont and Wilson enemies like Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter?- K2ripper