EXTREME Extreme Sports

New York City readers will hopefully already be aware that Red Bull, the drinks company that also sponsors a lot of sport, has installed a three-story “snowscraper” in the East River Park, at FDR Drive and Houston Street (right where I used to play football for years). Last Thursday night, Feb 5, they used it to host a major snowboarding competition: Olympics Gold Medalist Shaun White was knocked out in the first round, the prize going to local boy Shayne Pospisil, who was raised on the Jersey shore, one town down from my in-laws, in Mannesquan. Knowing the coastline there, I’m not surprised to read that Shayne gravitated to snowboarding from surfing.

We watched the competition Friday night and I have to say, it made for a wonderfully incongruous site, to see a winter sports ramp set-up in Manhattan, and it was clearly well supported, too. (Anthrax closed out the night.) With the temperatures in the teens, it was also perfectly timed to ensure that the predominantly fake snow stayed firm and true. Campbell must have been subconsciously impressed, as Saturday on Hunter Mountain he gravitated to the terrain park and practiced his jumps. I’m seriously impressed by how much air he’s getting these days, and the confidence with which he rises into it. One of these days maybe we’ll post our own video. In the meantime, here’s the official highlights from the Red Bull Snowscrapers web site.

Saturday morning, a friend sent me a video link that puts White, Pospisil and co. in the shade. You’ve probably heard of cliff-skiing: people who are brave and skilled enough to ski off the edge off a cliff and onto the snow a considerable drop below. You may even have seen footage or film along the way. You have probably never previously seen anyone kick off their skis mid-fall and start flying like a bird. In short, who needs jetpacks now we have Wingsuits? Those who suffer from vertigo will probably want to make sure they’re sitting down before they watch this.

wingsuit base jumping from Ali on Vimeo.

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3 Comment(s)

  1. tadpoles

    9 February, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Wow!! Puts bungee jumping to bed!

  2. 9 February, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I had no idea. My deepening insular life. I’ve got a six month old excuse. Or is it the geo-political situation weighing ever heavier?

  3. baby jebus

    9 February, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    It’s not actually a sport though, is it? The loonies who leap off cliffs don’t actually compete against each other in any meaningful way. They just do what they do, and if anyone else gets to peel their tatty remains off a mountain, then that’s a bonus. God bless those nutters. Great footage.
    Now darts, that’s a real sport, and considerably more skillful too.

    Tony- it’s interesting you use the words ‘the teens’ to describe temperature. My whole life I’ve always used zero centigrade to describe freezing, but am still stuck to fahrenheit for heat (though anything over twenty five c is too hot for me…)

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