How much is too much?
On March 26, the skiing world lost visionary Shane McConkey in a base jumping accident. Even if you aren’t a skier, you’ve probably seen a clip of the sub-sport of ski basing.
After news of his death broke, a Facebook Group formed thousands strong. Message boards exploded with thoughts for his wife and young daughter. Warren Miller even proved that octogenarians know how to use Facebook. Tahoe came out in force to support its local legend. McConkey’s enthusiasm radiated through ski films and stood in stark contrast to many professionals’ aloof natures. He took an industry that had grown static, shook it on its head, poked fun at it and somehow managed to find a way to do what he loved on a daily basis. If you’re riding fat skis – you have McConkey to thank.
While most of the Internet chatter was sad yet supportive, there were others who questioned whether a parent had any place ski basing off a Dolomite Tower. How much risk is too much? It’s such a complicated issue with a hundred different points of entry. Certainly, the shock wave of his passing rippled through our community, but it crashed into his family. We lost a legend. McConkey’s family lost a father, a husband and a son.
A lot of us have taken risks in the mountains or in the oceans. We’ve gotten ourselves into and out of trouble. Most of us define our own clear lines when it comes to risk, so much so that when we look at someone like McConkey it’s tempting to say he was way past any normal threshold. It’s tempting to say that the risks were too great, the reward so little. Take a step back though. To someone with no roots in the outdoor world, a day of Sunday afternoon top-roping looks extreme. Is it just a matter of perspective?
We could post one of those corny little polls, but that’s not what the Outdoor Parent is about. This site aims to elevate the conversation. How much is too much? How do you define or assess an acceptable amount of risk? Did that line become clearer when you became a parent? It will be interesting to hear your thoughts.
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