Snowboarding and other extreme sports have come under a bit of scrutiny recently, with many Adrenalists asking if extreme sports are worth the risks. While the debate and controversy stirs for daring competitions and stunts, snowboarding airbags are providing an outlet for Adrenalists to practice their most extreme moves free from the risk of injury. Tyrol Basin, a premier snow resort in Wisconsin, has introduced a permanent snowboarding airbag to their famous slopes.
In December, Tyrol Basin opened up the 10-foot-high airbag to the public, and skiers and snowboarders all over the Midwest have flocked to it’s cozy confines in an attempt to take flight without the hassle of sticking a landing or the danger of smashing the ice. A 15-foot jump opens out on the airbag, which deflates out of side pockets and quickly refills after each landing. Snowboarders are flipping, spinning and twirling in the air before landing in all manner of awkward positions. But not a single injury has occurred on the jump since the airbag made an appearance.
The Wisconsin State Journal visited Tyrol Basin in mid-January and talked to Don Hill, the hill’s general manager. “We’ve seen people hit in pretty much every conceivable crash position. It’s pretty funny sometimes because they’re not getting hurt, but if they were landing like that on the snow, there would be a parade of ambulances out here,” Hill said.
Tyrol Basin doesn’t have much airbag competition from surrounding ski areas in the Midwest. Only Buck Hill ski resort near Minneapolis owns an airbag, and even though traveling companies with airbags visit other resorts in Wisconsin, the $40,000 investment Tyrol Basin made for theirs will likely be recouped by the end of the ski season. The Wisconsin State Journal also spoke with Kyle Onesti, a 19 year old from Oregon who attends nearby University of Wisconsin, Plattville. Onesti switched to snowboarding three years ago after skiing since he was a toddler, and he was pretty ecstatic about what the airbag allowed him to do.
“It’s like landing on a cloud. You’re pulling flips and not worrying about coming down on your head or screwing up a shoulder. I think it will bring in a lot better riders because now they can start pushing themselves and not worry about wrecking it on their first attempt,” Onesti told the Journal.
With so many concerned officials worried about injury when skiers and snowboarders attempt wild aerial stunts, an airbag can be the perfect means to throw caution to the wind without sacrificing safety.