Exploring the outer reaches of human movement.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Afraid to Bail

It was a big jump, over 40 feet from lip to knuckle.  The in run was long and steep, but not enough for a 10 year old to generate enough speed to clear it – at least not on a warmer day when the snow was slow.  Starting on the hill above the run in, he skated, then tucked through the line up carrying enough speed to air over the normal take off point.  Approaching the jump, he prepared for his maneuver.  Then, abruptly, the skis were thrown sideways and as he made an emergency stop inches from the lip.

Disappointed, he slowly skied back down the jump ramp and to the side of the run.  Head hung low, he slowly side stepped up lip of the landing and gently skied to the waiting area.

Moments later, an older and heavier rider got into his tuck and gunned it for the jump.  Good speed, good pop, but not enough. Coming down hard on the knuckle, his knee buckled.  His friends were there first, but patrol and their toboggan were needed to get him to the aid room.

It’s easy to get big air.  It’s also easy to get disappointed when other riders are taking it higher or farther.  Given the choice between short term disappointment and a season ender – make the smart choice.  Yes, skiing and snowboarding are risk sports.  Injuries can and will occur.  But, know your limits and know your game.  Scope it out, check your speed, make a plan and be aware of changing conditions.  If you’re not feeling the love, call it off.  Don’t hit the (insert the feature of your choice here).

We can all learn a lot from the 10 year old who bailed at the last second.  He’ll ride the rest of the day and the rest of the season.  And, I’ll put money on him learning more tricks this season than the kid on crutches.

Happy (and safe) riding!

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