Will belay for food sign_rock climberAn “internet sensation of 2004” called parkour is described by The Office’s Jim Halpert as “get[ting] from point A to point B as creatively as possible.” In the backdrop of this explanation, Jim’s coworkers, Michael, Dwight, and Andy are somersaulting over desks, launching themselves off the walls, and leapfrogging through their comrades’ work space in the pursuit of no apparent object.  Their adventure comes to an abrupt and anticlimactic end outside when Andy gamely jumps from the top of a semi-truck into a deceptively empty refrigerator box, grunting the word, “parkour” before he is presumably hospitalized.

Flash-in-the-pan internet trends do not typically determine the actions of even the most weak-minded individuals.  it takes a strong will to put your life on the line for an adrenaline rush when so many extreme sports can be indulged safely with the right resources.  Utah, for instance, is a terrific vacation destination for such “adrenaline junkies,” whether their preferred activity is helicopter skiing, BMX racing, white water rafting, or skydiving.  “But it you are game for one of these sports, remember: Insurance exists for a reason.”  While some danger comes with extreme sports, this does not necessarily mean taking needless risks.  For a list of the most extreme sports in Utah and how to minimize the associated risks, read on:

1. Winter Sports

In general, wiping out in a snow bank is not going to harm more than your reputation as a natural.  Still, 36% of emergency room visits for recreational injuries are for sledding or snowboarding accidents.  While you are more likely to sustain an injury while snowboarding, skiing puts you at particular risk for more serious injury from hard impact at high speeds—in fact, 10-15% of skiing injuries are head injuries.  Activities like skiing and snowboarding demand much from the athlete’s balance and coordination if such injuries are to be avoided.  Poor equipment, failure to wear a helmet, and badly-kept trails increase the already-inherent risks.

2. Rock Climbing

When it comes to full mind-and-body engagement, you could hardly ask for a better occupation than rock climbing.  Happily, Utah’s own Red Rocks, Zion, and other national parks provide stunning settings for this activity.  While rock climbing is virtually risk-free when undertaken with proper preparation, the consequences of inadequate preparation can be severe—falling rubble or malfunctioning equipment can lead to muscle strains, broken bones, or even death.  For best results, avoid rock-climbing in bad weather, carry a first-aid kit, and inform others of your whereabouts.

3. White Water Rafting

Utah’s rafting and kayaking areas vary widely in the level of skill required for their safe navigation:  whereas Fisher Towers and Labyrinth Canyon allow for leisurely perusal of the scenery, other areas feature sudden drops which are not for the faint of heart.  For any rafting trip, you need a sturdy vessel not easily punctured by hidden obstructions, life preservers, and a guide to the river’s foibles.

4. Helicopter Skiing

For those bored by the prospect of skiing in areas touched by the mark of civilization, there are opportunities for helicopter skiing in the Wasatch Mountains.  You could be deposited directly into a pristine mountain environment via helicopter and brave the risks a resort would remove.  While the same helicopter that deposits you hovers about to monitor your progress, Time Life Insurance gives this activity the highest rating for level of risk.  Helicopter skiing should only be attempted by level-headed experts.

Extreme sports are not an automatic death wish; nor should they be treated thus.  Just because an activity is risky does not mean that every risk is invited—sometimes things go wrong that should not.  When all imperative safety measures are not observed to the letter, and someone is injured as a result, that person and/or their loved ones are entitled to compensation.  When normal avenues for relief are obstructed, it may be necessary to hire a personal injury attorney to defend that entitlement.

For more information on personal injury claims, request a free booklet from Christensen & Hymas at UtahAccidentBooks.com or by calling 1-800-LAW-BOOK.

Image courtesy of Peter Stevens