"The guys who are making these incredible jumps should not be dismissed as daredevils or as athletes whose main talent is "balls". They are talented skiers who usually have a lot of backcountry experience. These jumps are heavily scouted and studied often for years. They do everything they can to minimize the risk."

In some cases, yeah that's true. But, in a LOT of cases I don't think so. Especially as the number of people doing this stuff increases you have many guys my age that get all hopped up on adrenaline and testosterone then attempt things they otherwise wouldn't. Add a camera and you double the ego effect. I'm sure the big Kitchen Wall jump in that video was scouted thoroughly (I'd bet they actually had to cut trees to make the takeoff), but these guys aren't drawing vector diagrams of their takeoffs and landings. They might toss a snowball and probe the landing in advance, but that's the extent of it. In the end it comes down to the previous experience and confidence of the jumper. You start small and work your way bigger, and at some point you probably get burned.

Then you have guys like Jeff Holden who supposedly puts his faith in some higher power and his dead grandmother when he takes off on a 180 footer...

Yeah, cliff jumping is fun to watch and do, but at a certain point it becomes no different than Russian Roulette. Unfortunately, the experience is addictive and only leads to bigger and more dangerous leaps. That progression, and the feeling that once it's started you're compelled to keep pushing, is what scares me the most. Sometimes, I wish I stuck with ski racing at a younger age. It's dangerous too, but advancing as a racer doesn't necessarily mean spinning the barrel each time you step it up a notch.


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