From mutant waves in Newport Beach to avalanches in Colorado, everything you need to know in the week of action sports.
Every Friday in The Weekender we take a look at the best videos and news from the week that was—like the Wedge in Southern California lighting up with southern hemisphere swells—and give you a preview of some of the most important events in the world of action and outdoor sports coming up this weekend.
Adventure seekers at Yellowstone causing problems
Unfortunately, it’s been a rough few months for outdoor recreationalists in Yellowstone National Park this year. Visitors have been continually warned by park officials to stay away from wild animals, as park administrators have witnessed several potentially dangerous incidents. Then, a father-son duo actually put a baby bison in their car after thinking it was alone and cold—it later had to be euthanized. Shortly afterward, four men were caught on video walking across the sacred Grand Prismatic Basin hot springs, which are off limits to tourists.
And then this week, tragedy struck, when Portland, Ore.-native Colin Nathaniel Scott fell into the boiling hot Norris Geyser Basin. Scott had reportedly been hiking near the basin when he stepped off the path and slipped into the hot pool. His remains have yet to be recovered. It was a grim reminder of the importance of using caution when exploring Yellowstone.
A photo posted by Yellowstone National Park (@yellowstonenps) on
America’s favorite mutant wave is back
Footage of the Wedge in Newport Beach, Calif., never gets old. A wave that was once exclusively the territory of brave body surfers is now regularly overrun with boogie boards and surfboards and skimboards and standup paddle boards. And they all contribute to the carnage (yes, some skilled waterman actually catch a few quality waves). The Wedge has been lighting up again the last few weeks as swells from the southern hemisphere have reached California beaches. And it makes for great viewing. Here’s a little taste as wave riders brave the sizeable surf.
Inbounds avalanches—resorts are no longer liable
In a somewhat controversial ruling last week, the Colorado Supreme Court said that ski resorts are not liable for deaths or injury due to inbounds avalanches. In a 5–2 judgment, the court said that resorts are shielded under the Ski Safety Act created in 1979 that protects resort owners and operators working to keep skiers and snowboarders safe in terrain that is inherently dangerous.
The ruling was in response to a case brought to the court by the family of Christopher Norris, who was killed in an inbounds avalanche at Winter Park in 2012. The family had been seeking $250,000 in damages.
Litigation is rarely a good thing, as the costs are often passed onto the public in the form of increased prices on the hill. But the ruling did create a contradiction: in northern California, Christian Michael Mares is being charged with a felony for cutting a rope at Sugar Bowl resort and skiing terrain that was deemed off limits. He caused a slide, and his video of the incident went semi-viral online. So if resorts aren’t liable for in-bounds avalanches, should resorts be able to charge customers who are footing the bill when they make a mistake and ski off-limits terrain? It’s a conundrum that will continue to be debated.
The chairlifts are closed, so be sure to check the avy report before you #earnyourturns this week. Yesterday, a natural persistent slab ran on Scarp Ridge and there were wet loose avalanches on steep, sunbaked slopes. All the details at www.cbavalanchecenter.org
A photo posted by @cbavalanchecenter on
What’s On Tap
UCI Downhill Mountain Biking World Cup
RedBull.tv | Sunday 8:30 a.m. EST
The best downhill riders in the world head to Leogang, Austria, for the next World Cup stop on a course that isn’t quite as gnarly, but allows for incredible speed.
WorldSurfLeague.com | Friday 3:30 p.m. EST
The World Surf League has been on hold at the Fiji Pro, waiting for an impending swell to start Round 3 that looks like it’s ready to light up Cloudbreak. Check the morning show to find out if the contest is running.