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.