When Fearless Snowboarders Discover What’s to Fear

It takes a fearlessness to snowboard well, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to fear. Parker Roose and his friends discovered this at Terry Peak.

By Parker Roose

There is no feeling quite like the one I get from arriving at a ski resort with nothing on my mind except the intentions to shred powder and have a good time with my friends. While we never think about them, really, the consequences we could face while riding are sometimes worth a second thought. Jaden, Jacob, and I have definitely been introduced to how dangerous snowboarding can be.

Upon arrival, we always enjoy our normal Terry Peak routine in the morning. First a warmup run down Kussy, then to the terrain park, and finally the trees. I don’t know what it is about the trees. Maybe it’s the unlimited options that only we can design for our run. Whether it be the smooth tree jibs, the kicky side hits, or the set up picnic tables, every run promises to be the best yet. Almost. With snow dumping on the ground our sophomore year, visibility was minimized but we didn’t care. We were just happy that this “peak” was finally getting some sort of precipitation.

Even more than the trees, we love flying through them. It’s always a race, and it was on that day too. In fact, when we got off of the chair lift, we didn’t even take time to sit down to strap in.  We were too exited to dive in. Little did I know, that this run would prove to me that the trees may not always be as friendly as we anticipate. As we descended into the thick, Jaden and I were neck and neck and Jacob had ventured off on his own. The fresh was too deep for any of us to not be reckless, but with just one slip up, the whole game changed. What happened next had my eyes and ears in disbelief.

Usually my friends and I hide away in the shadows of the mountain from the red jacket ski patrol, but now it was my mission to find them.

A corner cut too tight just caused Jaden to taco (fold) around a telephone pole guy-line and I was the only witness. My first thought was nothing. Pure shock. The sound of his femur snapping alone could have made me faint. Never would I have thought that I would be in that situation. Now usually my friends and I hide away in the shadows of the mountain from the red jacket ski patrol, but now it was my mission to find them. Pretty ironic, huh? Just like how we avoid police at all cost unless we actually need them. Every time I ride it’s always a blast, but not that time. That was a frantic descent to find help. I was worried and I had every reason to be; my friend was by himself on the backside of a mountain in excruciating pain and I didn’t know how long it would be before I found help. I found a red jacket at the bottom and I told him Jaden’s location. In short time, he zipped up the hill on his snowmobile, and I rode the chairlift back up. Thankfully, they were already finishing up when I arrived at the scene. To these guys it was like clockwork. Slip a splint on, give him some pain meds, load him in the toboggan, and ship him off in the ambulance.

I never would have thought that a perfect day like that could be ruined, but it is always a possibility. This doesn’t only imply to snowboarding. Any sport, any reality, really. Through this experience, my eyes have opened to the risk my friends and I take every time we step foot on the slopes. Will it change the way I go about riding? Probably not, but for Jaden, it’s a bit different. “Snowboarding for me has definitely changed,” he said. “It’s not the same to be riding relentlessly when the thought of crashing is always in the back of my head.”

Maybe one thing will change for me from this experience. Instead of asking for the newest GoPro for Christmas, maybe I’ll ask for some riding padding and a nice, fitted helmet.