No one likes being injured! At this time of year the Village starts to look like the outpatient ward at a MASH unit with people on crutches hobbling around, while others cruise by with the flappy arm and bulging jacket that can only be the trademark of the one armed puppy smuggler or someone with an arm in a sling. Being injured sucks, it means missing out on mid-season powder days, blue bird park sessions not to mention the pain and discomfort of the whole deal. What’s worse is that more often than not a few simple steps could have prevented the whole bone crunching, ligament ripping episode in the first place.

The stories that really get me are the ones where people get wrecked on features they never bothered to check before sending. We work hard to design and build parks that are fresh and creative, we rebuild features or change them up daily and the result is different speed, approach angle or pop than what was there the day before.  We have evolved jump designs to include roll able backs so you can check the speed of the in-run and feel the angle of the transition before jumping and ride off the back. In the jibbing world I have heard people mid-slide going “whoa!” when they suddenly see the rail they’re on is actually a combo they weren’t expecting. If everyone did at least one warm-up lap before riding park and inspected the line they plan to ride, I bet there would be a lot less people broken out there right now.

Think about it on these terms; when you roll up in a new skate park you generally cruise around and look at the spot. You check how many stairs are in the set to see if the gap is something you want to tackle. You look how deep the bowl is and whether some idiot has tossed a beer bottle into it creating wheel bite death traps. When you go surfing you sit on the beach and watch the sets before charging out. You look for the sections on the wave, the easiest paddle out and where to sit in the lineup. The bigger the waves the longer you sit and watch.

Surf and skate is where park riding came from. Let’s learn from these pioneers and make good decisions out there on the hill. It’s February and the parks are big and hard, ride smart and ride long friends. See you out there, BF.