Extreme Exposure: Hoefler wins SLS title, another skydiving tragedy, more
Welcome to another edition of Extreme Exposure, a weekly column bringing you the best photography and news from the world of action and outdoor sports. This week, Erik Roner’s death marks a dark year in the air, Nepalese officials propose new Everest regulations and more.
From rookie to world champ
Suffice it to say, Street League Skateboarding rookie Kelvin Hoefler made a huge impact on the 2015 tour. The 21-year-old Brazilian qualified for the tour at the Tampa Pro in March, then made the finals of every Street League stop save for Barcelona. And on Sunday in Chicago, he sealed up a world championship, outlasting Nyjah Huston—who bobbled the landing on a nollie backside lipslide—with two nine-point rides thanks to big rail tricks. But Hoefler’s 8.5 on a frontside flip where he ollied the SLS logo sealed the deal for him. “I like skating more rails,” he said. “I don’t normally skate jumps or stairs.” But stepping outside his comfort zone and going to the air is what won Hoefler the title Sunday.
Brazilians swept the SLS Super Crown podium as Leticia Bufoni took home the women’s title.
The action sports community mourned the death of Erik Roner this week after the 39-year-old was killed in a skydiving accident. Roner was part of a four-man crew that jumped from a plane during the opening ceremonies of a celebrity golf tournament in Squaw Valley, California. The accident is still under investigation and had many of his friends perplexed: the jump was considered innocuous compared to some of his other stunts. Roner missed the landing zone and struck a nearby tree.
Roner was a gifted athlete: a professional skier, he played college soccer at BYU (his brother Chris played for San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS) before filming segments for Teton Gravity Research and other production companies. Along with Shane McConkey, he helped develop the fringe sport of ski BASE jumping. Roner became a member of the Nitro Circus crew, with stints on MTV and the group’s touring show after he assisted Nitro Circus head Travis Pastrana with a Grand Canyon stunt in which Pastrana jumped motorbikes over the canyon, BASE jumping off the bikes.
“Erik was an amazing person who made everyone and everything around him better,” Pastrana said in a statement on the Nitro Circus website. “His smile, laughter and personality will be missed by everyone. Most importantly he has a beautiful wife and amazing kids that will miss him dearly.”
It’s been an incredibly tough year for BASE athletes—Dean Potter and Graham Hunt were killed this spring in Yosemite, Jhonny Florez was killed in July and just last week, 23-year-old adventurer Johnny Strange died wingsuiting in Switzerland.
- MORE EDGE: Making the case for more Ironwomen in Kona
Not on this mountain
Nepalese officials this week announced they would be banning inexperienced climbers from attempting Mount Everest after several deadly incidents in the last few years on the world’s highest peak including avalanches and an earthquake in April. According to The Guardian, climbers will have to prove they’ve scaled peaks higher than 21,000 feet in order to obtain a permit. The very young, old and disabled will also be banned. Disabled climbers who don’t have to be carried will still be allowed on the mountain.
The regulations aren’t official yet but problems stemming from overcrowding have become very real. Massive amounts of climbers have flooded the mountain in recent years, creating a waste problem in the Khumbu region, as well as a safety issue: inexperienced climbers are ill-equipped to save other mountaineers if something were to go wrong, not to mention putting local guides, or Sherpas, in danger. “We cannot let everyone go on Everest and die,” said Kripasur Sherpa, Nepal’s tourism minister. “If they are not physically and mentally fit it will be like a legal suicide. The disabled or visually impaired people usually need someone to carry them, which is not an adventure.”
Similar rules have been proposed before but were quelled due to pressure from human rights activists.
The fast lane
Being stuck in traffic is bad enough when you’re commuting to work. But when you’re bogged down during your commute to play it can be absolutely soul-crushing. The Colorado Department of Transportation is hoping to solve that problem with a soon-to-be-opened express toll lane for skiers and riders that will cost between $3 and $30. The toll lane, which spans a 13-mile stretch on I-70 between Denver and the Eisenhower Tunnel, could cost around $2.31 per mile, making it the nation’s priciest toll. According to CDOT, the hotly-debated lane will only operate during peak times in the winter and will save snow aficionados at least a half hour as they travel to resorts like Vail, Arapahoe Basin and Keystone from Denver.
A snowboarder heads down a run, past running snow making equipment, underneath the Summit Express lift and the River Run Gondola at the Keystone Resort December 2, 2014. (Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post) @akakross #keystoneresort #rockymountains #wintersports #summitexpress #gondola #snowboarding #snowboard