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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Above the Mountains: Sarah Burke

Life is dangerous. There is an element of risk in all of our daily actions, and in all activity. On Thursday January 19th, The ski world lost an amazing athlete who truly helped elevate woman's freestyle skiing, and subsequently female snowboarding. Sarah Burke was an incredible athlete who truly pushed the limitations of woman's action sports.

As a girl in a very man driven sport it can be hard to prove yourself. You want to keep up with boys. If you are slow you will be left behind. You want to fit in so you mute your self, you don't complain you just troop. As a girl you have to work twice as hard, and push your self in comparison to the boys. It is survival, and it is the only option. Because your love is for the mountain and sport first.  You want to ride as hard as you can, and you want to master every angle of the mountains you call home. It's not about being a girl, it's about being in love with something bigger; and hoping to inspire others to fall in love with your beach.

Sarah Burks tragic fall has been broad casted across main stream media news stations. Her fall has triggered debate into the safety of freestyle skiing and snowboarding. Media stations have been falsely reporting on her fall. Sarah was in the super pipe at Park City Mountain Resort. She had just landed a trick that she was working on, and was coming into the flat bottom of the pipe when here weight was a little too forward and she clipped an edge. Her fall, at first did not look serious; it was an edge catch not an 20ft inverted aerial gone wrong. Her fall was unlucky in every sense of the word. When her edge caught she fell forward, and the whiplash tore a critical artery in her neck that supplies oxygen to the brain. Sarah did not loose control in the air.

I had only met Sarah a hand full of times, but I do know that her love was for the sport. If her accident spurs any action against the sport of freestyle skiing and or snowboarding I can only imagine how livid and hurt she would be. Sarah spent her career pushing the limitation of female action sports, and she pushed for the equality of female athletes in winter sports. The features in terrain parks are getting larger and the air that recreational skiers and snowboarders are catching is being inflated. Skiing and Snowboarding are extreme sports. I believe that skill, and technicality should have a higher importance that sheer amplitude. I believe that ski resorts terrain parks are resulting in more injuries because many users of the terrain park neglect the importance of developing strong fundamental ski/snowboard skills. One should be able to ride a chair, and turn comfortably down the mountain before entering the park. Sarah was an incredibly talented skier, who's ski ability was not confined to the terrain park. She could ski, and she loved to ski.

I am grateful for what Sarah accomplished for females in winter action sports. I admire that she was able to incorporate her personality into her brand, and into her athleticism; proving it is okay to be girly and a serious athlete. Thanks Sarah! I'll see you on the flip side- still riding hard.

If you would like to show your support to Sarah and her family please go to:

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