Friday, January 20, 2012

Your Life is More Important than Skiing.

After numerous deaths this season, Rocky Mountain Ski Culture needs a reality check.


  1. On November 18th, 20-year-old Evan Massini died after hitting a tree on the edge of the Northstar trail at Breckenridge.
  2. On January 15th, 25-year-old Sydney Elizabeth Owens died after falling and sliding about 1500 feet on Silverton Mountain.
  3. On January 18th, a skier was killed in a sidecountry avalanche near Snowmass Village.
  4. On January 19th, Canadian Freestyle Skier & Olympic Medalist Sarah Burke died after she hit her head on the icy sidewall of a half-pipe on a training run.
  5. And there are numerous others...
Too many of us in Rocky Mountain Ski Culture take way too much risk in this sport we love. We justify our self-destructive and often-deadly behavior by lying to ourselves in countless ways:
  • "I feel more alive when skiing like this."
  • "This kind of skiing is what life is all about."
  • "I know what I'm doing and I've accurately assessed the risk in this situation."
  • "I need this run/this trick/this shot/this footage so that I can get the approval I need from others in order to feel good about myself."
  • And there are numerous others...

So, my ski-loving friend, start repeating this mantra: "My life IS more important than skiing."

Repeat this mantra because this mantra is true. Your life is more important than skiing. Regardless of how you might feel at the top, in the middle or at the end of a run, your life is more important than skiing. You are more than your experiences. Your life has meaning and purpose apart from skiing. There are other things worth living for.

Sure, people are saying nice things about Sarah Burke all over the internet this week. But not everything being said is true. Her death is a tragedy. She did not have to die the way that she died. Neither did any of the other skiers we've lost this year.

I may be obsessive about skiing, but more importantly, I am alive. I want you to be alive too.

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