And It really doesn’t matter what your winter extreme sport of choice may be: snowboarding, ski jumping, snow kiting, ice diving or snocross (just to name a few). The common denominator is three-fold: the challenge, the unmatched thrill of the experience and gritty determination.
The immense speed, the power, the magic of man vs nature and the feeling of departing the earth and taking to the sky are just some of the sentiments extreme winter sport risk-takers will mention after a day on the slopes.
When seeking a winter outdoor extreme sporting thrill, there is a broad variety to suit every level of risk taker. Besides the obvious – snowboarding and skiing – there are a few winter extreme sports that really push the limits.
Adventure winter extreme sports are dangerous, life-threatening and risky. But it is not madness that motivates adventure enthusiasts to pursue such pastimes. There is something more than high-risk athletes blindly chasing the thrill.
“Research by Bruce Ogilvie PhD. – sometimes referred to as the Father of North American Applied Sport Psychology – suggested that risk-takers push their physical, emotional and intellectual limits to escape the tensionless state associated with everyday life. And according to 2013 research in the Journal of Personality and Psychology, feeling trapped or stressed out are some of the most common reasons people continue an extreme sport, in addition to the physical sensations and the ‘buzz’.” Men’s journal.com
Obviously, the relationship between fear, courage and risk-taking is highly complex. But stamina, perseverance, focus and self-directedness are a few character traits that extreme athletes score high on. They are not motivated by fearlessness but rather by the challenge to test, respect and master nature.
“I think you’re always scared. You don’t lack fear—you have to have fear out there. That’s what keeps us safe and helps us make the correct decisions. For most people, it’s going into a bad neighborhood at a certain time of night that may be scary. I just think we play on a different scale.” –Cody Townsend Professional free skier driven by the challenge and beauty of the mountains.
Winter extreme sports and associated cold-related injuries – including hypothermia and frostbite – are serious factors when taking to the slopes. Extra demands are placed on the body in extreme temperatures.
“The one time I went flying off the side of a mountain on skis, I certainly didn’t mean to. Before I hit the ground, there was a surprising amount of time for reflection—and more on the long painful schlep down to the ambulance.” –Hilda Bastian
When it comes to winter extreme sports injuries, snowboarding ranks the highest with bobsledding, luge, ice hockey and short-track skating all coming in at a close second.
Because cold muscles and connective tissue have less elasticity in below-freezing temperatures, sprains and strains are more common. Head injuries are also more likely due to the high speeds of snow extreme sports.
But most winter and snow sports injuries can be prevented with adequate preparation, the proper equipment and the appropriate protective gear.
In the Northern Hemisphere, an adventurous outdoor life is associated with heading for the slopes and taking part in some form of winter extreme sport. The challenges, the people, the thrill and the glorious scenery all make it worthwhile and keep the enthusiasts coming back for more.