Every serious snowboarder has at least one moment during their slope-riding tenure when their heart drops down to the pit of their stomach just after narrowly avoiding disaster. That’s par for the course, regardless of skill or experience level. What’s not so much par for the course is seeking out these moments with seriously dangerous tricks and stunts. No, that initiative takes a special kind of thrill-seeker who’s more daredevil than the traditional adventurers. One thing is for sure, these thrill-seekers can sure put on one heck of a show.
Here are five of the world’s most dangerous snowboard stunts.
The Train Jump
It may be hard to believe, but what you’re seeing is not the result of hours of computer graphics wizardry. Pro boarder Trevor Jacob and his team traveled to Tahoe to prep for Jacob’s jump over a moving train. As if considering a snowboard stunt like this isn’t crazy enough, Jacob then went through jumping said train, filling the sizeable footsteps of boarding legends Andy Hetzel and Temple Cummins who were the first snowboarders to jump this (or any) moving rail car in 1996. Despite the terrifying horn blow at the tail end of the video, Jacob still manages to land his jump–a magnificent achievement for so many reasons.
The Highway Trip
It’s hard to say whether or not this video was inspired by our coverage of this epically daring near-death snow tubing exhibition, and we’re not sure which stunt’s more dangerous. One thing, however, is for certain: It’s never a good idea to practice snow sports on rock-hard asphalt highways where a tumble taken at 56 miles per hour results in injuries that are a whole lot worse than broken bones. We’re just thankful he didn’t attempt any ollies after the 0:10 mark. With stakes as high as these and physical mechanics this complex, there’s no room for error or focus on anything but surviving the task at hand.
The Dazzling Trick
Had it not been for its appearance in the widely-circulated 2006 snowboarding compilation film, Draw The Line, Kazuhiro Kokubo’s infamous 900 tailgrab may’ve been the stuff of lore. Unlike its two predecessors this list addition has nothing to do with environmental oddities – there are neither trains nor highways. No, our decision to profile Kokubo’s storied trick that carried him a stunning 57 meters (187 feet) through the air rests solely upon our appreciation of athletes pushing themselves to achieve in the face of their sports’ inherent dangers. There may not have been an incongruous environmental circumstance affecting Kokubo’s trick, but any mishap that could’ve befallen him while undertaking a feat of such magnitude would’ve been severe.
The Speedy Descent
Most people don’t consider traveling at high speeds to be a stunt. Tradition has it that trickster Adrenalists who seek accolades must perform some sort of breathtaking maneuver while going fast in order to gain any notice. Late snowboarder Darren Powell proves that’s not necessarily the case – as long as you’re going extremely fast. Powell, a 7-time World Championship Speed Snowboarding winner, set the world record for fastest snowboard run in 1999 when he bulleted down a French Alps Les Arcs ski resort trail at 125 miles per hour. Yes, you read that right. For reference: our highway snowboarder traveled at a top speed less than half that.
The Avalanche Escape
If you were to look up the phrase “presence of mind,” you should come across this video footage. Seconds away from being buried alive, this unnamed New Zealand shredder looks completely unphased as he narrowly escapes what looks to be a pretty serious avalanche. He even throws up his arms in celebration after he’s made it down unscathed, as if in victory. He must’ve been nervous, but he never let that fear impede his focused performance. Let that be a lesson to all Adrenalists: confidence and well-developed skills are the best defense against disaster.
Have any other ridiculous snowboard stunts to share? Send them to us @DegreeMen or in the comments below.