The Dangers of the Mountains

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Andrea Binning, kora ambassador

This is somewhat of a morbid topic but one you can’t ignore.  Just today I find out that someone has died in the mountains in Chamonix. This life that was here last weekend has now left us. My thoughts automatically go “I really hope it is not someone I know” but the thing is, he is known to many other people and this is such a great loss to all his family and friends.  He was riding the fresh powder that had fallen, but due to a bad decision and riding on an unstable aspect he died.

Avalanches kill. I had a narrow escape from one 10 years ago now and it really felt like life as I knew it was over.  It’s a somewhat un-nerving feeling that I don’t think will ever leave me.  The snow that had felt so stable underneath my skis one moment, is suddenly moving all around me like a water fall. Its power is overwhelming; I had no control. It is a strange feeling to give yourself over to fate, but within those few seconds I felt somewhat relaxed and time felt like it almost stopped. It’s a horrible feeling that I do not wish upon anyone.  I was taken about 1000ft from the top of my line to the bottom, When everything stopped moving I was ok, aside from a torn ACL, which was a blessing. I could have chosen then to stop what I was doing and move onto something else. But I didn’t.

Why did I choose to continue this sport? Maybe it’s an addiction that I can’t live without, maybe it’s the lifestyle that I have lived for too long and I don’t know how to break away from. Maybe it’s the friends and the bonds that I have made during my years as a skier that I could not face to walk away from. I guess you could say it’s a selfish sport that sucks you in and like a drug you can’t easily walk away from without some kind of serious withdrawal and complete lifestyle change.

I love this world of snow, the people and the energy they carry, the experiences and memories that I get from living day to day in the mountains.  I don’t plan on ending life early, I have taken a step back since having a child and don’t venture as deep as I did before into the mountains. But I still go out and ski, I don’t think this is something I could ever live without, It is a part of me, it is who I am.