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Odd sport: glacier skiing

by Megan Anderson

Glacier skiing: a sport that takes skiing to a whole new extreme. This sport tests one’s ability to go beyond the groomed runs, and take on the sides of the mountains. Extreme skiers challenge themselves to go where many others wouldn’t even attempt.

However, the people attempting such extremities are professionals, and have been skiing for a majority of their lives.

The risks that this sport requires is tremendous. Take pro skier Ian McIntosh, as an example. He was in Alaska’s Neacola, being filmed by Teton Gravity Research for their movie called “Paradise Waits.” This movie captured the willingness that a group of pro skiers and snowboarders take on during the winter season. While skiing down a particularly steep incline, McIntosh stumbled along the way and fell 1,600 ft. Not only did he survive this fall, but he was able to drag himself out of the snow to receive help. A fall like this, however, happens often and is almost an expectation, considering they are plowing down the side of a cliff.

Equipment necessary to become a glacier skier isn’t as taunting as one might imagine. Skis (or a snowboard), boots, a helmet, gloves, and a ski coat and pants, are all necessities for getting on the slopes.

Contrary to popular belief, this sport doesn’t have to just take place during the winter season. In fact, due to Zermatt’s extreme altitudes, they keep lifts running during the summer. Early in the morning the snows tends to be icy, but by midday the snow becomes heavy and slushy. However, those passionate about skiing or snowboarding are out on the slopes no matter what season it is.