Why do Ski Bums Ski?

Who thought skiing was a good idea? It is expensive, dangerous, and freezing. I mean attaching two pieces of plastic to your feet with uncomfortable boots and then speeding down steep mountains is not a smart idea? It is just insane! Yet millions of people, including myself, go up every season to try our hand at the frankly foolish sport and why? Well, I have determined that skiers go for the adrenaline-rush that they feel as they maneuver down the snowy slopes, for the breath-taking scenery, and because of their passion for the exciting and adventurous sport. 

According to experts, interviewed for a Bloomberg article, the average recreational skier may spend $600-$800 on skis, boots, and bindings. That cost estimate is expensive and it does not include lift tickets (with an average cost between $100-250 for a full day), poles, or snow gear (ski pants, warm jackets and layers, helmets, or goggles). These average costs are outrageous, but skiers find them worth-it because the sport atop white capped mountains and the experience is priceless. 

Not to mention, skiing is dangerous. Ski-related deaths remain pretty low averaging about 40 per season (Zimba Law Group Stats), but injuries are common. According to John Hopkins, about 600,000 injuries per year. Being an experienced skier, I was the victim of an injury this past month. I have skied for 6 seasons in 8 years, over which I gained a lot of skill, confidence and ability. However, I took a pretty bad fall skiing faster than I should have, overrun by the rush of feeling unbreakable. But, I am. I fell, twisted my knee, and had to be sledded down the hill. Hours later, of traffic and long wait-times at urgent care, I found out I sprained my MCL. Meaning crutches and a few weeks to recover. It made me think about how dangerous and deranged skiing truly is. But, even though I was left with a painful and swollen knee, I found myself more upset that I had missed half a day of perfect conditions. 

Skiers not only risk injury, but they voluntarily choose to go to extremely cold mountains, where ideal temperatures are below freezing. Skiing brings risks like avalanches and unpredictable conditions. Last month, the New York Times reported on a fatal avalanche killing 4 skiers in backcountry Utah. Even though they came prepared with location-signaling beacons and shovels to dig themselves out, 4 people died in the unexpected disaster. With this said avalanches are unlikely, and many skiers are willing to take that risk, for the cherished lifelong memories and unforgettable experiences you gain at these mountainous resorts. 

I guess us skiers just enjoy the feeling of living on the edge, or the gorgeous land, because with the price, dangers, and conditions skiing does not seem logical or rational to any sane person. Which must be why they call us ski bums, because we are just crazy.

Abby Armstrong is a junior at Rio Americano High School and an avid skier.