All around Utah and the world, athletes are reaching new heights in sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking. Park City has become a central area for all of these extreme sports due to the fact that it has some of the best terrain in the country. The backcountry skiing is some of the finest in the world, and resorts such as Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort have terrain parks that rival any other. To top it off, during the summer all of this great terrain turns into extreme tracks for mountain biking.
In fact, many students in Park City High School are determined to test the limits every single weekend. If one were to go to Park City Mountain Resort on any given Saturday, he or she would see many students in line for the terrain park or the more extreme runs on the mountain. However, if one were to simply go down the basic runs they would most likely not see a single student from the school. Park City students are constantly pushed to the edge by peers and will not stop until they accomplish whatever feat they are working on.
While these athletes are determined to test their limits and not stop at most signs of danger, there is always the question if extreme sports are too dangerous. Is the potential for serious injury, with the possibility of lifelong disabilities worth the risk? Many people would say that it is possible to be safe in all of these sports and that if one is prepared, they will not get hurt. While being prepared and knowing what one is doing is very crucial, it is still hard to deny the danger of these sports. Every year there are stories of horrific tragedies that occur because of extreme sports, such as avalanches in the backcountry or a fatal accident.
Personally, I believe that there is good compromise between going out and performing these extreme sports and remaining safe and intact. I think that it is truly important for one to recognize all the inherent risks when stepping out into the backcountry or exploding down an extremely steep hill on a mountain bike.
It is impossible to completely stop people from participating in extreme sports, but I think there are things we can do to better protect them from serious danger. Many of these athletes are students, and it would be beneficial to better educate them about the risks of these sports and encourage preventative measures. This would simply make them aware of what they are doing without actually telling them to stop.
I believe that as a community we can work together to make extreme sports safe, but still as fun and crazy as ever.
Jason Barth is an editor for the Park City High School newspaper The Prospector. To see more of his writing and articles by other students log on to http://parkcityprospector.com/ or check them out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ParkCityProspector