Though it’s become much more accepted in recent years, snowboarding has always been a sport that’s attracted rebels. At more classic sport competitions such as the Olympics, its competitors have sometimes received criticism from more traditional sport followers for not taking things seriously enough. What they don’t understand is that the sport isn’t so much about being the best; it never really has been and probably never will be. It’s about pulling off that great trick or watching and cheering as your buddy does, riding the perfect line, or hitting some fresh powder before anyone else does.
The spirit of snowboarding may not be any better personified than in the backcountry. In backcountry snowboarding, its practioners seek out remote locales in constant search of that perfect ride. Hours or days can be spent getting to a starting point, and oftentimes snowmobiles or other transportation is brought in out of necessity. Today, we take a look at some of the most incredible backcountry snowboarding pictures we could find. Enjoy, and be sure to share them with your friends.
Planning a tropical getaway? Relaxing on the beach with a good book and a cold drink sure sounds like a nice time… just go ANYWHERE but Ilha da Queimada Grande, or as it’s better known Snake Island.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Snake Island just sounds like a cheesy name from a bad movie from the 80s but the name could not be more spot on. If anything, the name does not quite fully express things. You see, Snake Island didn’t gets its name just by having a large number of snakes on it — Snake Island is said to have an astonishing 5 snakes per 1 square meter! (Scientists say this estimate is too high, and it’s more like a mere 1 snake per square meter, but that still makes for 430,000 snakes.)
Snake Island, home of over 430,000 golden lanceheads
As if things could not get any worse, the type of snake, golden lanceheads, which inhabit the deadly island off the coast of Brazil are extremely dangerous even when found alone. Their venom is extremely poisionous and the genus which they are a member of is responsible for 90% of deaths by snake bite in Brazil annually.
The island is considered so dangerous these days by the Brazilian government that their citizens are forbidden from accessing it, but at one time there was a lighthouse keeper whose family lived with him. Stories say that the family met their fate one night when the man, his wife and three children were sleeping peacefully when they were awaken by lanceheads pouring in through their open windows. Their attempts to flee to safety were hopeless, and they became victim to the terrifying island.
Its genus is responsible of 90% of snake-related deaths in Brazil every year
When the rush of jumping out of an airplane thousands of feet above the ground was no longer enough for a group of adventurous thrill seekers, a new off shoot sport was born: BASE jumping. The sport is a derivative of its parent sky diving. Its participants put themselves at significantly greater danger than those that jump from planes, as they jump from a fixed object a thousand feet or two above ground rather than the ten to fifteen thousand feet from a plane used by skydivers. Severe injury or death is a common fate for many but this serves as little deterrent.
BASE is an acronym which stands for the four types of objects the participants jump. Buildings are preferred to be jump when they are still under construction, as upon completion security make’s a successful trip much more difficult. Antennas are a favorite because of this since they normally have little to no security. Spans (or bridges) offer amazing scenery for jumps and also have little to get in the thrill seekers’ way. The final category of base jumping is Earth where sites such as cliffs or canyons are used.
The sport of BASE jumping was created by those looking to push things up another notch, so it is no surprise that this has continued as the sport has matured. Jumpers increasingly look to make the lowest, riskiest, and downright coolest jump. There is one drawback to the sport other than its danger however, the low heights they jump from lead to exhilarating but very short experiences. It is here that one a tool they share with traditional sky divers comes into play: the wing suit.
Wing suits are specialized suits which provide the wearer with a much larger surface area, creating a significant amount of lift. With their creation in the late 1990s, the length of time jumpers could spend in the air increased by a huge margin. The benchmark for a truly remarkable jump rose to levels never before seen. Wing suit jumpers were traveling farther distances for longer periods of time than had ever been thought possible. Their tricks became massively more incredible – and dangerous – as well. A practice which has been the cause of some of the sport’s most amazing videos, and unfortunately deaths as well, sees the daredevils aiming to come as close to objects on the ground while flying at high rates of speed. Jumpers will perform such stunts as going under bridges, between trees, or riding just feet above the ground before shooting off into the air again.
In today’s video, we’ll ride along with one of the sport’s practitioners Jeb Corliss. He has jumped from such sites as the Eiffel Tower and the Space Needle. Watch as he strafes close to the ground at death defying speeds, flies within mere feet of cliff faces, and even cuts the strings of balloons a man on the ground is holding! It is simply unreal and while surely not the same, I’m perfectly happy experiencing it through video.