When it comes to Action Sports, athletes are accepting huge risk for huge reward.
Athletes like Shaun White have made fortunes from extreme sports, but many have ended up on the complete opposite side of the equation with massive injuries and even death.
One man stands alone on the sideline of the injured, handing out "High Fives" for recovery.
Roy Tuscany who suffered a spinal cord injury while training in 2006 at Mammoth Mountain in California decided to pave a way for the survivors of action sports injuries from traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries and beyond.
In 2009, he founded the High Five Foundation to provide grants and gifts to injured athletes who need financial help during their recoveries. He doesn't stop there, and is a spokesperson for safety and most recently launched a "Helmets are Cool" campaign sponsored by the National Ski Patrol, POC Helmets , Snocru, Squaw Valley, and Alpine Meadows.
The CR Johnson Healing Center is named after famed freeride skier CR Johnson, who was an X-Games champion and well-known skier who pioneered new tricks in and out of the half pipe. He suffered a TBI while filming a ski movie when Kye Peterson landed on CR's head after the two skiers jumped off of the same back country kicker.
Johnson died four years later attempting to revitalize his ski career at his home resort of Squaw Valley, Calif.
Listen to my interview with Roy Tuscany in the player below.
The Boston Ski and Snowboard show is being held through Sunday at the Seaport World Trade Center.
This is the place to go for preseason deals on equipment, clothing and ski area specials. The annual gathering of ski and snowboard enthusiasts showcases the who, what, and when of skiing in North America and around the globe.
Look for me on Friday around the show floor. Ticket are only $12 and kids under 12 are free.
If you miss me there I’ll be emceeing the Warren Miller movie showing Sunday night in Duxbury. Go to tixbeast.com for your tickets.
When you are there, make sure you check out the new generation of the SkiTips apps series for iPhone and iPad, which will be debuting at this year's Boston Ski & Snowboard Show, with all proceeds going to local charity Christopher's Haven.
The SkiTips concept of self-teaching apps includes a complete course on snowboarding from beginner to expert by Olympic medalist and 36-time World Cup winner Mathieu Bozetto, while the five skiing apps cover every level from first-timers to telemark, off-piste and back-country touring.
The SkiTips team is working with Christopher's Haven to help raise money for this extraordinary Boston institution. All proceeds from sales of any of the SkiTips apps during the show will be donated to the Haven.
United We Ski is a new film by T-bar film and it looks at the community ski areas that still exist in Vermont. United We Ski includes Hard'ack, Northeast Slopes, and Cochran's Ski Area. The film also explores lost ski areas as well as secret ski tows hidden among the sugar-bushes of Vermont.
Listen to my weekly reports on RadioBDC ...
Shane McConkey was a real-life action hero in the world of extreme sports. His career ran for two decades, and he was known for his innovation on and off the slopes.
As a skier he pioneered fat skis, invented and marketed reverse camber skis, and became the name and face for ski-BASE jumping around the world.
Off the snow he founded an organization for freeride skiers, carved out new sponsorship deals with mainstream sponsors such as Red Bull, and was a family man.
His life ended in an accident in Europe when he attempted to ski off a cliff and wing-suit away and then eventually parachute to safety. Unfortunately, due to equipment failure, Shane McConkey jumped his last cliff March 29 2009 in the Dolomite mountains in Italy.
A new documentary film entitled "McConkey" is a heartfelt examination of the legacy one athlete left on the progression of his sports, and the path he took to achieve his dreams.
McConkey is revered as a pioneer of freeskiing and ski-BASE jumping, and through his talent and ability to use his trademark irreverent humor, he inspired countless lives.
Featuring incredible action footage and Shane’s own home videos, "McConkey" offers a rare look at his most intense risks as well as an intimate portrait of his personal life.
Through interviews with friends, family, and other action sports legends, the film celebrates Shane and the way he lived.
It is playing in Boston Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. at John Hancock Hall. Click here to view the movie trailer.
Click here for Boston tickets: http://mcconkeyboston.eventbrite.com/
Edging the Xtreme caught up with long-time skier and filmmaker Scott Gaffney for insight in to this film. Listen below:
If you're heading down to South America this season, you'll find fresh snow to ski on, and long runs to check out. Our group of compatriots has been great this year, tearing up the mountain and gliding through the powder together.
I'll let this video and the photos below speak for themselves. If you're interested in checking out what we do, follow me @SkiClinics on Twitter.
Standing at 12,500 feet in the Andes Mountains in Chile, staring down a steep narrow rocky chute, I was thinking to myself, "What a perfect summer." This August included, I've been skiing in South America since 1989 and I have never been sorry to leave the beach behind.
It's not the heat of the summer that drives me to the southern hemisphere nor is it a burning desire to relive the chill of a howling winter wind. Rather, this yearly pilgrimage has been more about the experiencing the look on the faces of my clients, who come to Chile with me. There is a certain magic that happens somewhere between South American hospitality at a middle-of-nowhere resort and being stranded at 10,000 feet in a driving snow storm.
Check out this video from the past week's skiing adventures:
Sure I love to ski, but this trip is more about the overall experience of the people, the place, and the time of year. This year has been extra special because I was joined by some long-time friends of mine: Jeff, Kate and I all ski raced at Babson College back in the '80s, so sharing memories from back in the day and catching up on family life now has been a blast.
Listen to the mid-summer's ski report on Edging the Xtreme on RadioBDC:
Jimmy Chin is one of the most sought-after adventure photographers in the world. His work has appeared in National Geographic, and he has been featured on the cover of Outside Magazine and others.
He has summited and skied Mount Everest, and has followed climbers to the top of El Cap and beyond. He has dedicated his life to capturing the human spirit communing with nature in some of the most extreme places on earth.
Listen to the entire Edging the Xtreme Interview with Jimmy Chin here on RadioBDC.
I met Vasu Sojitra last Friday while he was hiking up to ski Tuckerman Ravine. He was celebrating the end of his college career at UVM with a pack of friends, a typical thing to do on a beautiful spring day in May. Except Vasu only has one leg!
At nine months, Sojitra had his leg amputated, but he's never looked back. He climbs mountains, hikes and skies, and isn't deterred, although he does say he needs to eat more than your average person.
Listen to the most recent installment of Edging the Xtreme to hear more about the amazing backcountry accomplishments of this extraordinary young man.
The famous Mount Washington “American Inferno” race started in 1933. It was a top-to-bottom race from the peak to the valley floor. Toni Matt won the race in 1939 when he “schussed,” or skied head-on, the head wall by accident. It was a foggy spring afternoon and Matt won the 8 mile race in a record time of 6 minutes 29.2 seconds, with an estimated top speed of over 85 miles per hour.
The 2013 race showed just how tough this competition can be, with freezing temps and high winds the competitors battled it out the entire way up and down the mountain, through Tuckerman Ravine.
Years later, Matt said that when he reached the floor of the headwall, at the transition from steep to relatively flat, he felt lucky to be "nineteen, stupid, and have strong legs."
Charlie Proctor and John Carleton were the first men to ski the steep head wall in 1931. “We skied it out of necessity, simple as that," said Proctor in an interview with me back in 1992. He said he “just wanted to get home.”
Proctor and Carleton's first tracks down the steep, icy face gave birth to a New England tradition and Matt’s record breaking run not only earned him a place in skiing history, but more importantly created international folk lore that exists to this day.
Friends of Tuckerman Ravine is an organization with a mission to “seek and preserve the historic recreational use of the Tuckerman Ravine and Mount Washington.” And it is in this light they still hold the Tuckerman Inferno pentathlon each year.
The race is open both to teams of five (one of whom must be of the opposite sex) and to solo TuckerMen and TuckerWomen competitors.
The Tuckerman Inferno pentathlon consists of an 8.3 mile run, a 6 mile kayak race down the Saco River, an 18 mile bike race north through Pinkham Notch, a 3 mile run/hike up the Tuckerman Trail to Mount Washington's Tuckerman Ravine and a 1 mile ski/hike giant slalom to the floor of the ravine.
This is an amazingly hard event, as hard as it was skiing the head wall on wooden skis and leather boots back in 1931.
For the full results of this year's race, check Facebook.
Listen to the interview on the race and on activities on the Saco River on Edging the Xtreme on RadioBDC:
Avalanches are serious business. Even a moderate one can knock down trees, destroy houses, and virtually clean out anything in its path. The misconception is that they only happen in the back country. However, last year an avalanche in France wiped out a moving chairlift with 41 people on it.
Here in New England, New Hampshire’s Presidential Range are the most avalanche-prone mountains east of the Rockies. The website for Mount Washington states, “Since 1954 there have been 10 avalanche fatalities and many other avalanche accidents in the Presidential Range. Historical data indicate that avalanche accidents have increased in the past decade, mirroring the national trend in recreation related avalanche accidents in the United States.”
When it comes to avalanche training and information, most of it can be very technical and sometimes hard to understand, but in the last few years, there has been a trend to focus more of the information toward the growing number of recreational and advanced skiers that are venturing off into the backcountry.
Henry Schniewind has been on the forefront of this movement since the late 1980s, after he graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Snow Science.
Armed with a passion for skiing and his degree, Schniewind moved to Val D'Isere, France, where we carved out a niche for himself by creating awareness for vacationers from around the world on the dangers of avalanches.
What started out as an afternoon presentation at a popular bar in Val D'Isere has grown into a full fledged company that does presentations around the Alps and the United Kingdom. What makes Schniewind's avalanche program so different is his focus on providing useable information for the everyday skier that saves lives from the Alps to New England.
His company motto is “Ride Hard, Ride Safe." On his website, where his main theme is “Safety is Freedom," skiers and riders can find information on weather, conditions around the Alps, access his blog and watch videos all designed to keep skiers and snowboarders on vacation safe.
Schniewind is originally from Newton, Mass. and has a teenager's race at Green Mountain Valley School and at Blue Hills. Once an employee of the former Ski Market retail chain, Schniewind has been recognized as a world-wide leader in avalanche safety. He has given over 750 talks and courses in the last 20 years, including presenting at international snow science conferences. He has published many papers and articles, and is motivated by the fact that that nine out of 10 victims of avalanches trigger the avalanche themselves and their injuries could have been avoided.
In the Alps each winter there are an average of 100 deaths per year. And when you add up that figure to the deaths in North America and beyond, it's clear that avalanches present real danger. Henry’s Avalanche Talks (HAT) is an easy-to-understand voice amongst the technical and often complicated snow science information that tends to be distributed by avalanche sites and experts.
Schniewind has been a long-time friend and ski partner of mine for over 30 years and I featured him on my long-running television series Wild World of Winter.
Hear the entire RadioBDC interview with Henry Schniewind on Edging the Xtreme with Dan Egan: