Mountain Biker Dies Following A-Line Crash

Oct 16, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  
A bike park staple known across the world

A mountain biker has died in Whistler following a crash on A-Line on October 9. The man is thought to be 35 years old and is from Burnaby, BC however he has not been formally identified at this time.

A statement released by Whistler said the man was "transported to the Whistler Medical Clinic, after Whistler Mountain Bike Park Patrol responded to the accident on A-Line in the Bike Park. After further emergency care and evaluation, the guest was transported to Vancouver General Hospital where he unfortunately succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead.”

piquenewsmagazine.com were the first publication to report the news yesterday after they learned about it from a public tip-off, nearly a week after the incident. Whistler Blackcomb’s policy is to only notify media of on-mountain deaths upon request.

Geoff Buchheister, Whistler Blackcomb's chief operating officer, said: "Whistler Blackcomb and the entire Vail Resorts family extend our deepest sympathy to the guests’ family and friends."

We have reached out to Whistler and Vail Resorts for further details and will update this story when we get them. Our thoughts go out to the rider and his family and friends in this difficult time.

Regions in Article
Whistler Mountain Bike Park

Posted In:
Industry News



299 Comments

  • 571 3
 This is extremely sad news, even if this rider wasn't as well known as Jordie Lunn, in the MTB world there are only a few degrees of separation and it hits just as hard. My sincere condolences to his family and close ones. I think it's good opportunity to take some time and reflect, but I don't think prospective visitors to whistler should to avoid making the trip.

Whistler is the most popular bike park in the world, and A-line is arguably the busiest jump trail in the world. With the amount of traffic it gets, it's almost statistically impossible for this not to happen at some point (it still sucks). I've ridden a lot of different trails, and A-line, even with how big some of the jumps are, A-line is amongst the safest jump trails I've ever ridden. Well built lips, wide landings, predictable building style, good visibility, and well-signed features contribute to that. I really have to commend the trail crew.

That being said, I do have some recommendations for riders. Having been to a number of bike parks I see a fair amount of riders trying to progress a bit too quickly and rider outside their league. Finding the balance between pushing your limits, and being safe can often be hard. Remember a lot of the Pros have been riding and refining their skills for along time. I've been riding for over 20 years and I'm still refining my skills. I'd much rather see more a rider case a jump with control than clear a jump while out of control. Focus more on perfecting the small jumps before sending the big jumps. Learn to jump the small jumps at different speeds, pop off the lip slow speeds, and to squash, the jump will go a long way. All the while you're developing a sense of the speed needed to hit features of different sizes, which can only be learned through experience.

Safety equipment is very important, but it should be our 3rd or 4th line of defense.
1st. Risk assessment Is that feature near or within your skillset? Work your way up to doing bigger features.
2nd. You will crash at some point. Knowing how to bail, ditch the bike, tuck and rolling will get you out of a lot of bad situations.
3rd. When you inevitably do crash, our pads and safety gear will act as the saftey net that catches the crashes that slip through the other lines of defense

Sorry for the wall of text, but I thought this information was worth sharing.
  • 90 481
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 9:08) (Below Threshold)
 I think some of this falls on the designers of the parks too. Its very important that these places give riders the proper features to progress on every step of the way leading up to the big stuff. There needs to be trails and features of gradually increasing size, not just some small beginner stuff and then the big lines. I feel like that intermediate step gets ignored at times.
  • 238 46
 @sino428: Spoken like a true American, blame it on the designers. As an American myself I disagree. If you’re ballsy enough to attempt some of these lines, then you accept the consequences when your skill comes up short. Leave the designers out of it. It’s us that decides to ride the line, it’s us that decides to commit to a feature, it’s us that gets hurt when we crash. Designers have no factor in OUR decisions we make as a rider on the trail.
  • 29 10
 @sino428: there are tons of other jump trails, joy ride park, family cross, etc etc. Even dirt merchant and ripping rutibegga aren't as big as a-line.
  • 88 1
 @sino428: Whistler has full progression trails, you can slowly build up your skill there
  • 27 264
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 9:45) (Below Threshold)
 @h20-50: f*ck off. I'm not blaming anyone. My comment had nothing to do with this or any specific incident. It was a general in response to Phils comments about proper progression.
  • 44 75
flag h20-50 (Oct 16, 2019 at 9:50) (Below Threshold)
 @sino428: A bit emotional are we??
  • 21 196
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 9:51) (Below Threshold)
 @h20-50: No just don't need a d-bag comment from someone who has no reading comprehension skills.
  • 10 9
 @sino428: I also knew this person
  • 25 20
 @sino428: You may want to go back and re-read what I wrote, don’t think you’re comprehending it at all. Appreciate the name calling though, pretty sweet of you!
  • 33 0
 @sino428: Whistler definitely knows this. They have a very clear, very public progression. The explicitly rebuilt crank it up to address the green to blue+ gap, and trails like aline have no mandatory gaps so you can case everything as you work at improving, I'm not sure what else they could do beyond graduated licensing.
  • 48 4
 @plyawn: still think A-Line needs better squirrel catchers. A LOT of people riding it should not be...its just too accessible and frankly those people rolling slow, casing everything are a bigger threat to others than themselves usually.
  • 25 3
 @sino428: Have you ridden Whistler? I'm about the most average intermediate minus rider around but I've ridden the park several times. Progression paths are not a problem here. Without knowing the details of what happened, if you're willing to say "that intermediate step gets ignored at times" I would have to say it was the rider's choice to ignore it, not the park designers or trail crew. All that said, I don't know how you know this person but I'm sorry for your loss.
  • 39 1
 @PhilKmetz bang on.

@sino428 - Whistler of all places does have all that. Start on B-line, then Crank It Up, then Blue Velvet and C-More, then once you're comfortably and safely clearing all that consistently you can look at the bigger lines like A-line, Freight Train and Dirt Merchant. And once you've got those mastered, there's D1 and Crabapple. A-line is IMO the safest it can possibly be given the high speeds and big jumps - it's built INCREDIBLY well, the jumps are consistent, the landings are never blind (on everything except the rock drop), fast trail speed is enough to clear the jumps yet highly unlikely to overclear anything (unless you're actually such a good rider that you can go that fast, in which case it should be well within your abilities to control anyway). But as Phil said, A-line in particular gets hundreds of thousands (maybe into the millions?) of laps down it per year, there's just no way to avoid the fact that eventually someone will die on it. Even if the chances of dying are literally one in a million, after a million laps the expected number of deaths isn't zero.
  • 14 95
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 10:58) (Below Threshold)
 @Socket: @Socket: I was not talking about whistler specifically. I'm sure whistler of all places does have all types of trails. I'm talking about bikes parks in general and how they are built, and the need for trail of each skill level to allow riders to properly progress.
  • 14 76
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 11:01) (Below Threshold)
 @onecutmedia: I wasn't specifically talking about Whistler, I'm sure whistler doesn't have this problem. It was more a general comment about how parks need to ensure they have enough terrain of all levels to allow riders to build skills at each level.
  • 23 0
 I agree completely, but we as a sport need to redefine progression. Progression is 10% hitting harder trails, and 90% working the easier ones until you style the shit out of them. I have ridden with lots of folks that skip all the side hits on the blue trail and then complain that it didn't prepare them for the black trail.
  • 37 18
 @sino428: I remember your username, you always say dumb shit.

You didn’t fail us this time either....I mean really? Have you even been to whistler? It has the most comprehensive progression based structure I’ve ever seen....doubtful anyone would argue this point.

As Phil said, whistler has INCREDIBLY well thought out jumps in a relative sense when compared to other bike parks.

A line basically rides itself, which is a testament to its design.

Doesn’t mean shit won’t happen, but that’s the sport we’re in.

RIP to our fallen brother. I hope it couldn’t have been avoided easily as those are the ones that hurt the most.
  • 17 99
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 11:28) (Below Threshold)
 @nvranka: I remember your name too, and you still cant read. Did you miss the multiple posts where I said that I wasn't talking specifically about Whistler? But talking in general about how bikes parks are/should be built? It was a general comment about progression and how properly built trails (which Whistler already has) are an important part of it.
  • 49 9
 @sino428: do you ever get the feeling that you've said something really stupid and disrespetful and then maybe, when you've been called out on it to be the better person and just say "sorry, my words were misinterpreted i didn't want to cause offence. " ?
  • 15 79
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 11:54) (Below Threshold)
 @Emu-Jon: If I had said something stupid I would certainly acknowledge it. But I didn't in this case. Everyone's responses to me in this particular thread have assumed (incorrectly with no basis) that I was talking about Whistler and this specific incident which I was not. A simple read of my original comment shows that.

As for being respectful, I simply respond to people in the manner they respond to me. As you will notice there were a few comments where people politely commented that Whistler does in fact have a very progressive trail network. Even though those people misinterpreted my comments you'll notice that I just politely responded to clarify what I meant.

But if you respond to me like an a*shole as a few did, then you don't get a polite response.
  • 35 9
 @sino428: you are replying to Phil's comment, who was just in Whistler doing a bunch of videos, about a rider who died in, you guessed it, Whistler.

While I admit it is difficult to make the argument that any of us "do not have the time" to consider the underlying meaning of your words given we are on this stupid comment thread to begin with...your response was ambiguous at best...as such, most of the responses you received we akin to mine.

You are lashing out at a bunch of people and no one is siding with you...typically not a good sign.

I feel bad about myself for even indulging you with further replies, but I digress...can't help myself. Maybe one day I'll mature.
  • 11 86
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 12:07) (Below Threshold)
 @nvranka: So you admit that my response was ambiguous (which means you didn't actually know what I meant) and instead of maybe commenting and asking me to clarify, you instead call me dumb.

Yea I'd say you need to mature a little.
  • 28 11
 @sino428: I think we've figured out who has the most time for this shit...

over and out boys. Back to making $ and riding bikes.

Sorry your life isn't what you want it to be Sino...can't all have it all Smile
  • 17 2
 @sino428: @sino428: Somebody is Salty! I get that you are saying “bike parks en general, but why say that when this news is specifically about whistler?
And if you are going to jump he shark with a comment like you did, maybe you could list all the parks you are taking about that have problems with lack of progression.
Ive been to quite a few parks and didn’t see the problems you describe.
  • 8 61
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 13:03) (Below Threshold)
 @youseeus: @youseeus: No not salty, just don't appreciate the way people respond at times. I made the comment I did because I was responding to comment that was talking in general terms about progression. I just think by nature places are going to focus on the gnarly stuff that they can market, and the beginner stuff that they can use to get more people on the hill (and this makes sense). I was just pointing out the importance of not letting the intermediate stuff get lost in between.
  • 7 0
 @youseeus: "And if you are going to jump he shark with a comment like you did, maybe you could list all the parks you are taking about that have problems with lack of progression.
Ive been to quite a few parks and didn’t see the problems you describe."

Silver Star had a skills area with 4 different jump lines that progressed from very easy to difficult. A few years ago they bulldozed the whole thing and built the pro line (Brett Rheeder's Beautiful Idiot). Nice for the pros/experts who can ride them, but they left nothing for the beginners or intermediates to learn on.
  • 10 5
 @sino428: I think your an idiot you ride at your own risk if you fall and get hurt that is your fault you accept the risk when you ride at the park its nobody else's fault. Thousands of people ride that trail and dont get hurt it was the riders fault. If you want to play it safe stay on your couch and life your safe live. Don't wreck the fun for other people by trying to blame someone else especially the builders that are out there building these trails for us to ride.
  • 6 2
 @sino428: right, and a lot of people didn’t appreciate your response to this thread. Goes both ways. You don’t say what parks are missing this intermediate terrain. That detail would at least explain better what you meant (although still seems inappropriate considering the context) Have you been to enough parks to make that claim?
Shit just came off bad, just sayin.
  • 6 1
 @sino428:
The vast majority of riders that have spent time in the Whistler Bike Park will agree that the trails there (ESPECIALLY the jump trails) are some of the best engineered and flowiest trails around, with more than enough opportunity to "work your way up" the chain of difficulty. There are even signs posted in the bike park with a visual hierarchy of trails and their required skill levels. The idea that the trail crew and the bike park itself could be in the remotest way possibly responsible for this tragedy is bollocks. Every one of us accepts the risks we take in the name of a good time.
  • 6 40
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 14:24) (Below Threshold)
 @techride @kevin82 As I have said to everyone else that has responded, there was no blame intended here. My although it may have read that way, my comment wasn't even about Whistler or this specific incident. It was about progression. It was a response to Phil's original comment about how he sees riders at all bike parks trying to progress to quickly and how riders often have trouble finding a balance between progressing and being safe. When I said that "it falls on the designers" that's what I was referring too. Providing the proper trails and features that allows riders to progress is a huge help for people still developing their skills.
  • 4 0
 Such a tragedy. Frown

Totally agree- I pushed myself too hard once- ended up with torn up knee (ACL/MCL) - since then I've learned to not let my dick get in the way of being real with myself about my skill level. It can be damn hard especially when riding with some riders whose skill is above mine and I want to hit everything they are, but end of the day I end up having a blast and I'm gradually getting up there.

Moral of the story- think with your brain not your dick.
  • 12 3
 Not sure why the idea presented by @sino428 is so controversial. I remember having the same impression riding some European spots. Not all places are perfect and offer a full progression range. Sometimes it's either a mellow flowtrail or some rad gnaarrrr, with not much in between to learn and practice. Thankfully there are so many places to choose from that this is not a big issue.
  • 11 40
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 15:05) (Below Threshold)
 @Slabrung: Its cool, I think that many people just took my comment to specifically and thought I was blaming Whistler and the trail and builders there for this accident. Which was not the case. I didn't mean that at all.
  • 4 1
 Well said Phil, very sad!
  • 1 2
 Well said!
  • 7 7
 @sino428: confirmed, you are a douche!
  • 3 0
 @MikeyMT: this is an issue at Trestle too! We need filter features!
  • 2 0
 @sino428: Okay, so which parks are you talking about?
  • 11 6
 @sino428: Someone once told me. If you go through your day and one or maybe two people were jerks, those people were being jerks. If you go through your day and everyone is being a jerk to you, you're the jerk.
The words were a bit harsher when I was told this, but for the sake of not being a jerk..
  • 4 28
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 17:26) (Below Threshold)
 @gnarnaimo: it’s cool, I’m not worried about a few people getting upset in the codbt section. It happens.
  • 2 4
 @sino428: Yo Sino! Quit arguing and finish you point. What parks are you talking about?
  • 3 5
 @sino428: Last time you were at Whistler?
  • 4 4
 @sino428: Alternative option: go ride your bike and have fun
  • 16 1
 Ladies and gentlemen, can we please stay on topic here?
Keep your comments on topic, if you feel the need to continue with personal retorts, please do so sidebar. Let's all maintain respect for the thread.
The community has experiance some heavy loss in injury and passing this year.
We can all appreciate the gravity of the situation.
Mountain biking is a sport with risk. We all are willing to take those risks at the level we do. This is subjective, as is your opinions.
I know we all want to chime into the community. Conversation and constructive criticism is welcome, but let's keep the chatter civil shall we?
Thank you.
  • 3 0
 So on point. Although I have no idea of this unfortunate riders ability. I've excepted the fact big gaps and jumps are never going to happen for me. Main reason being im self employed with a family to support, so its just not worth the risk for me. For me riding is about being with my mates and just getting out on the bike. I still have a blast. Yes, I could still injure myself but as Phil said risk assessment is an important factor.
  • 2 0
 @m33pm33p: While the features on Rutabaga aren’t as big, that trail requires more technical skill to ride. Not to mention that to access rutabaga you have to ride upper dirt merchant, which definitely requires more technical skill to ride than A Line, as well as the features on lower Dirt Merchant being bigger and higher consequence than those of A Line.
  • 4 3
 @sino428: Maybe people should buy bikes that they can't ride.... Bikes have come a very long way in the 30 years I've been riding. They are now very capable / scary. The thought of riding a 29DH scares the crap out of me however I am sure there are people with far less skill than me riding them. There is something to be said for starting on a less capable bike (to suit your ability) and graduating as your skills develop.
  • 1 0
 I would like echo a few of the stuff that has been said and extend the importance of OP;

I have visited Whistler and had a great time riding the park - the trails are impeccably well built and I have progressed so much in only a couple weeks; it's sad to learn of such a tragedy.

My most sincere condolences to the family. . .. .. Ride In Peace, 'till Valhalla.. . ..
  • 1 0
 Amen to that.????
  • 3 0
 @m33pm33p: Not sure when you last rode it, but Dirt Merchant is enormous now
  • 2 0
 It's really sad when something like this happens, regardless of skill level or fame/popularity. We all feel some responsibility, as we are in this together. We all decide at some stage to attempt that jump that's burning in the back of our minds, or address the major drop off in front us. That being said, it's on us to decide if you are ready to take that step and that is just part of our natural way of progressing our skill sets. Anything can go wrong at any time, regardless of how good you are. I deeply feel for the family of this gentleman and I'll be on my mind when I head out over the weekend on my bike. However, it is up to me to decide if I am capable or not, this is on nobody else's shoulders. Bike parks generally do as much as they can to make trails as they can do, within reason. If you decide to hit jumps the size that they are on A line, you have got to understand that there is very little the park themselves can do.
  • 1 2
 @PNWmorden: seasons pass holder.. dirt merchants biggest jump is comparable to the medium ones on a-line.. hence why it's still a double black. All tables no gaps, most of the other jumps are smaller/easier than a-line.

Pro line.. another story :p
  • 1 0
 @PNWmorden: meant to say still a black...
  • 4 9
flag sino428 (Oct 17, 2019 at 8:35) (Below Threshold)
 @SPKeen: I'm not going to get into any specific places because that was honestly never the intent of my comment to call out anything specific or to get into any types of debates about specific parks or trails over what is really a matter of opinion. I've just gotten the sense in my experiences, not only biking, but with winter sports and terrain parks, that there is often a progression gap when looking at things in terms of the standard beginner, intermediate, and advanced, usually with the intermediate skewing more closely to beginner, leaving to large a gap between when trying to work up to legitimately big stuff. Again just my opinion, which I didn't think was all that controversial. Not at all meant to blame or call out anyone or anyplace specific for anything.
  • 4 0
 @sino428: I haven't read a the fallout from your comment, but I did read far enough to read not Whistler specific. And I agree totally. There are rarely any intermediate trails, it's all out or nothing
  • 4 4
 @pigman65: Yea thats all I am saying. My point is that I don't think riders should ever work their way up to a feature or trail at a park and be completely overwhelmed or scared by it, which I think we all admit is common. Everyone has those stories of certain features they looked at nervously for months (or even years) before working up the courage to just do it. To me that's not necessary. Obviously everyone has a limit of how big they will go, but no one should be hucking and hoping. If its gradual, it will never be completely overwhelming.
  • 4 0
 Did anyone else by himself reading this in the Phil Metz voice?
  • 2 0
 @Allen82: yes you could. All my worst injuries are from bombing down single track or sketchy rock garden type trails.
Jumping seems to be where I’m most focused. Either way ride safe.
  • 3 4
 @sino428: just wondering why you won't give 1 example to back up your opinion. I can be scared or not scared hitting my 1 local jump on a dirt hill depending on how fast I decide to go, I don't like the idea of blaming the few places that afford us a place to shred and think it's personal assumed risk and ability to mitigate risk so that's why I'm challenging your broad statement. Not just to be a dick ;-)
  • 4 6
 @SPKeen: well again, as I’ve said a few times already, I’m not blaming anyone for anything. That’s not what my comments meant at all. I agree with you 100% about the assumed risk, no matter what the quality of the trails. My comment was just a general one about progression, simply saying that trail design can play a big role in helping riders progress, nothing more.
  • 3 3
 @sino428: not sure if you have been to parks with a lot of natural terrain (Mammoth being an example) but there is no way to build what you are asking for due to the natural setting available. On top of that, people are all so different you could never build perfect progression for each individual mind/skill level. And I say mind because I know plenty of riders who are plenty good enough to send a section but just won’t due to their own issues. They can’t hold each riders hand and full fill his or her progression needs. I understand this is your opinion, but it’s tough because it’s impossible to deliver in real life.
  • 2 1
 @youseeus: I think you're reading too far into what @sino428 is saying. These comments are getting a bit ridiculous and it seems like everyone's going a bit far here.

As for trail progression, have you ridden Silver Star? They do a very good job of building a variety of trails (both flowy and technical) that help riders work their way up to the next. Yes there will always be variables and you can't build something for everyone. But I really don't think that's what @sino428 was getting at with his post.
  • 3 4
 @srh2: No its not at all what I was getting at, and also why I was intentionally not specific about any particular place. It was a simple comment that the right terrain goes a long way in helping riders progress and a general observation that if there is a progression gap it usually seems to be between the intermediate to advanced level trails and features.
  • 4 1
 @sino428: Sorry. I was just trying to help.
Thought you had enough people ganging up on you.
  • 1 1
 @sino428: pretty sure that's exactly how bike parks are designed...
  • 2 1
 @srh2: hey no I definitely appreciate it. I was 100% agreeing with what you said.
  • 2 1
 @Liambaylis: yes they are, just some do a better job than others is all I’m saying.
  • 1 1
 @srh2: The original comment said “I think some of this falls on the designers of the parks too. Its very important that these places give riders the proper features to progress on every step of the way leading up to the big stuff“
Some of THIS meaning the responsibility for people getting injured or dying.
What is proper? His skill level? What is considered big? That is subjective to the rider.
That is why shit got out of hand on this thread.
  • 1 1
 @srh2: also, it’s really not a big deal. I just didn’t like putting blame on the parks. I am a pass holder and ride a lot at Mammoth and Summit, and the last thing I want is for these places to get sued and risk getting shut down due to rider accidents.
  • 3 4
 @youseeus: My original comment was not a direct response about someone dying. It was a response to another comment about riders progressing. Look at Phil’s original comment, specifically the third paragraph about progressing, and finding a balance, and hitting features of different sizes,etc. Thats what I was responding too. When I said some of ‘this’ falls on the designers, that’s what I was taking about. A simple comment about building trails that allow people to do what Phil was suggesting. You and everyone else for some reason took ‘this’ that to mean responsibility for people getting hurt or dying. I thought it was pretty clear what I meant as long as it was kept in context as a response to the post before it, but I guess I should have been more clear. I don’t think parks, even poorly design ones should blamed, or sued, or shut down. That’s actually the furthest thing from how I feel.
  • 1 0
 @m33pm33p: Dirt merchant is much bigger and more technical than the majority of A-Line
  • 1 0
 @DumbBiker: yes the new drop looks massive
  • 1 1
 @sino428: bike parks are designed with advanced riders in mind more than beginners, always. Every bike park, though, is going to have beginner-oriented or less intense lines and trails. It's not just blue square straight to double black trails, there's always going to be some progression for riders. Perhaps your local trails aren't adequate? Blaming the designers isn't a solution and it's also quite ignorant. Any rider should know what they're getting themselves into, and if they don't, stay off the trail and out of the way for those who do. There are almost always intermediate trails with jumps and berms and what not, that aren't as fast or big as the big stuff. None of this falls on the trail builders and designers. Also, you're getting shitty responses because you're kinda being shitty too so..
  • 238 2
 Spotted the chopper overhead that day and knew someone's life was changed. I didn't realize that it was over. RIP fellow rider.
  • 102 14
 I know it doesn't 100% protect me from death or serious injury but I am heavily protected in the park. Full upper body suit, hard shell padded shorts, knee/shin pads. Walked away from some serious crashes this summer inlcuding flying off a berm when my brake lever broke and going over the bars on the A line rock drop. my front tire washed out right before the drop (it was raining heavy that day). Ya people poke fun at how much gear I'm wearing but zero injury or even pain from my crashes. Have to take safety seriously in this sport. It blows my mind when people are blasting down pro lines and double black tech with just a helmet, no gear and no gloves. I hope everyone is safe out there so this doesn't happen again.
  • 33 0
 Yea its a little bizarre. I've been wearing less and less but these stories make you think twice
  • 12 0
 Still be careful and aware anytime you're on 2 wheels! My last 3 injury inducing crashes over the last 5 years were nothing armor could have helped with and on 2 of the rides I was wearing quite a bit of gear. Shoulders just don't seem to care about your armor, and I'm convinced in one crash it made things worse.
  • 7 2
 @davec113: Yes absolutely. I still ride as if I'm not wearing armour. I understand injuries could still occur. Even with rib protection my buddy broke his ribs a few years ago. In my opinion injuries could be more severe without the protection.
  • 1 0
 @MikeyMT: I was actually considering switching to a soft shell upper armour suit for next season so it's lighter and less restricting. But ya as you said, this story has made me think twice.
  • 2 0
 Agreed, I'm not stacked with gear but I do what I can. Fullface helmet, Knee/Elbow Pads, Gloves. I actually use BodyProx Elbow pads which aren't much for padding but do wonders for abrasion and low speed falls. Side benefits are that they slip under 3/4 jersey's perfectly and are dirt cheap.
  • 1 0
 @ThunderChunk: I was looking at that POC chest and back protector even for trail riding...EWS dudes are all wearing back protectors...I don't even wear a backpack anymore which the logic always used to be 'backpack is a back protector'

I do agree though...biggest injuries I've had armor would not have helped...its the bumps and bruises that seem to really help with full armor which is great but the big stuff...who knows
  • 27 9
 A neck brace is by far the best single piece of protection you can wear.
  • 64 1
 @jclnv: After a helmet
  • 16 62
flag sino428 (Oct 16, 2019 at 7:59) (Below Threshold)
 I'm never going to criticize someone for wearing padding and Armour, it can only help. But for the most part all that stuff isn't going to help with the really serious injuries that can kill you, which are in most cases head and neck injuries.
  • 20 9
 @sino428: How is a full face helmet and neck brace not going to "help" in a crash? I think your better off wearing them
  • 14 15
 @Smokey79: I'm not talking about helmets and neck braces. I was responding to the original post which was talking about "Full upper body suit, hard shell padded shorts, knee/shin pads".
  • 49 0
 > Ya people poke fun at how much gear I'm wearing

the sport has gotten better in recent years but the bro culture is still pretty bad sometimes. i have gotten comments for my protective gear in a bike park and i only wear a full face and neck brace which is, for where i ride, not enough and dumb of me. i pedalled to the top of the park when the lift was closed with just my full face (also not enough) and got shit for wearing it from a guy who wasnt even wearing knee pads and barely hanging onto his bike down the hill.

there are still people who pride themselves on making it down the sketchiest possible trail on the least amount of bike possible with the least amount of protective gear possible. im fine with that, go do your thing people who do that, just dont be a dick to people who choose to wear protective gear.
  • 6 0
 I'm with you, plus dressing up like RoboCop makes you feel awesome!
  • 22 0
 @Albatrosse: those dudes are just projecting their own insecurities, f*ck them.

I do agree...there seems to be this machismo thing about not wearing knee pads and riding 120mm bikes on DH trails now that i don't get. Look at that new Norco bike...sure you can ride it in the park...but why would you?
  • 5 45
flag skycripp (Oct 16, 2019 at 8:51) (Below Threshold)
 The only time a mountain bike injury will kill you is if you break your neck, or get a brain bleed. You can wear all the pads in the world, and they won't do shit from saving your neck or head.
  • 43 10
 Mate, a helmet's going to save your life, the rest is all optional. Implying the guy would have lived with gloves on is fcking ridiculous, plus implying his death was somehow related to the lack of proper protection is just disrespectful, especially without knowing the details.
  • 2 1
 @Albatrosse: If someone’s mocking you for wearing protective gear it’s 100% about the reminder they’re not. (That said, I once saw a local guy who fashioned his own neck brace clad in duct tape and that was at least worth taking a pic and forwarding.)
  • 2 0
 @skycripp: No there are more - and protection outside of a helmet and neck brace may well be useful in those instances.
  • 8 1
 @Levin192: I don't think those things were implied at all.
  • 2 0
 @Smokey79: Yep, and shoes.
  • 4 1
 @skycripp: Not true. A beginner bmxer at my track went otb after trying manual an obstacle, shattered his collar bone and severed his carotid artery. If he hadn't been in the middle of a city with paramedics five minutes away, he would have bled out.

Pads would have helped.
  • 45 13
 Well what if he wore everything? I must weigh in again sicne I have seen insane things on Rollercoaster in Hafjell few weeks ago. Protection - why not, but don't let it take you where you shouldn't go.

I have seen folks dressed up in all possible protection wreck themselves hard. if you ride A-line kind of trails and really want to make yourself safer, learn to jump. No protection in the world will save you from kinetic forces available on flow trails if your form is not spot on and if you don't have basics of "steeze". That is because brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, serious fractures and joint injuries are most often caused by compressing force, not skin damage or penetration that most protection is best suited to prevent. You may gear yourself up as much as you can, but your primary focus should be getting rid of dead sailor IF it happens to live inside you. Basic steeze is necessary for safe jumping, because it gets you comfortable with your bike flying at non optimal angles. Most flow trails should have a bunnyhop section before entering it. People who cannot bunnyhop a foot thick log should not attempt hitting a jump trail, if only for the safety of folks who can fly these trails. If you cannot bunnyhop on a solid level, you cannot load take offs to achieve balanced flight.

Whoever you are, if you are not sure whether you can hit jumps safely, and want to roll them first, by all means WAIT to the end of the first day of riding. Do not roll and scope "lines", stand by the trail, analyze, observe, when there is traffic on trail. Bikes these days are quiet, especially modern DH bikes, jumps are big, it may be hard to see from behind it - do not f*ck around in fullface helmet impairing your hearing and vision because sooner or late someone will land on your head. Also, if you have to analyze things a lot, this trail is highly possibly not for you anyways. With so much traffic, there's more to the dangers than just taking off and landing safe on each table. Your safety and wellbeing is greatly dependent on your practice outside of the bikepark.

Please be aware of the three components of each sport activity: exercise, practice, performance. Each of them are different from each other. Make sure you have done enough practice so that you can make riding feel like exercise, not just performance. Do not get on your edge all the time. it is tiring for your brain, it makes you make bad decisions, it impairs the good movement patterns you have.

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE DOING ON A-LINE kind of trail before you hit it. make sure you can visualize making it from top to bottom, every jump feeling like you are making it, especially since you cannot see landing as you approach these big lips. Protective grear is a side dish here. If you are afraid and concerned about safety (read: not confident, having doubt in the back of your head) DO NOT ROLL-RIDE highly trafficked big lines! Especially in bigger groups.
  • 4 4
 @kingsRunEast: There is a plethora of data out there which states that pads don't do anything to reduce collarbone injuries. It only takes 5-8 pounds of force to break a collar bone, and no pad in the world will dissipate that kind of force.
  • 8 0
 Yeah, I wear pretty minimal gear while trail riding, but bike parks are different. Super high speeds, with super hard packed dart. There's nothing remotely forgiving about a crash on some of these machine built trails. Full face, knee pads, elbow pads, chest and back protector, and neck brace.
  • 6 0
 @skycripp: Nope.

Chest trauma killed a man years ago on Crabapple hits. And more recently as well in the S2S region.

I don’t wear chest pads often but it’s all good if someone feels they need to.
  • 2 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Oct 16, 2019 at 9:45) (Below Threshold)
 @kingsRunEast: how does pad help with not shattering a collarbone? Where's the blunt force on BMX track? His collarbone obviously gave up due to compressing force. If you fall on your shoulder, it gets pressed towards the neck and if roce is big enough it snaps the collarbone like you snap a 2-3" salty stick by pressing on its ends with your fingers.
  • 9 1
 @skycripp: there's been two death that I know of this year from hitting a tree and collapsing lung, wearing and chest armor could have lowered that risk by a lot but you do you. Just dont spread bs statements.
  • 3 16
flag WAKIdesigns (Oct 16, 2019 at 9:51) (Below Threshold)
 @vincecd: he overpainted it but how would chest protector save him unless it would be a rigid cage which would also minimize the injury slightly. If you hit a tree the weight of your body compresses your rib cage, if force is big enough it breaks ribs. No Body armor on the market is and can be a rigid cage, and they do absolutely nothing to prevent collapsed lungs. I believe your attitude is as dangerous as @skycripps.
  • 4 2
 @sino428: Let's be clear: the evidence in support of helmets is definitive; we have very little supporting or refuting neck braces that doesn't come from someone with an agenda beyond public safety.

Also a sub $50 helmet can provide great protection relative to no helmet, but there aren't many (any?) neck braces under $300 which is a real shame. A lot of people (like me) would rally like to try one if it wasn't cost prohibitive. And before the inevitable "small price to pay to be able to walk" stream of comments see my preceding comment. I also don't own a $300+ good-luck talisman, though plenty of people swear by them.
  • 3 1
 @kingsRunEast: Pads that protect your collar bone? Not sure I've ever seen that. It's a floating joint that's impossible to stabilize and usually injured from trauma up the arm (i.e. catching your fall) - not sure how pads would help, but you never know...
  • 11 0
 @skycripp: Your bs is dangerous man. There's been multiple deaths this year from collapsing chest, punctured lungs. If you don't know enough about the topic don't comment. If you want to wear minimal gear that's your problem, but don't influence others into doing the same. It's stupid.
  • 10 0
 I wear full protection, too. Maybe because I'm old, maybe because I'm wise, or maybe because I think a little extra insurance is worth it. But let's apply some common sense:

- Not much will protect your clavicle/collarbone from a compression impact. To do so would require basing protection on your neck...obviously bad.

- Helmets protect our heads and faces. They reduce the chance of concussion, but DO NOT guarantee full protection against concussions.

Neck braces, torso protection, gloves, elbow pads, knee pads, hip pads, shin guards...the list goes on and on. Chance of injury is reduced, but not guaranteed.

Keep that in mind when you ride, hope for the best, and offer your support for those injured.
  • 1 0
 @skycripp: Could you site some of the data? I'd be interesting in seeing this.
  • 4 21
flag RedBurn (Oct 16, 2019 at 11:08) (Below Threshold)
 Protections SAVE LIVES.. maybe jordie would still be alive if he had worn a full face helmet. PROS need to show the example
  • 18 0
 @WAKIdesigns: saying chest armour wouldnt do anything is absolutely f*cking retarded. Almost all chest armour is plastic and 3df foam.. the kind of stuff that would slow or absorb an impact, maybe even enough to prevent injury...

As someone who has fallen on their chest and back a couple times this year at whistler going over 50kmh.. saying body armour is optional or doesnt do anything to prevent death is just ignorant.
  • 4 0
 After a number of seasons in the park and way too many big crashes (the most memorable being those where I scorpioned) I realized helmets and pads help, but the speed is what gets you (kinda like it's not the volts, but the amps).

I learned to ride a bike well in Whistler and incurred the least amount of injuries wearing only knee pads and a full face. Not to say that the gear doesn't prevent injuries; it does.

I'm just saying that every time I pushed the speed beyond my comfort zone, I had a nasty off. The thing about bike parks is (moreso in wbp than any other park I've ridden) that once you're at that speed, you're usually going 2-3x faster than you would be if you were on your standard trail, in that comfort zone, trying to get that kom.

Anyway, I remember the season where the first ever guy died in the park. Didn't effect my thinking then, but I was a little younger..
  • 3 0
 @jclnv: I know of 2 canadians who died from hitting a tree and collapsing their lungs this year, chest armor is as important if not more.
  • 6 0
 @WAKIdesigns:

They make anti-compression armor, too. Huge jumps for MTB are baby jumps for MX, so you can wear the protection they do if you want to step it up.
  • 8 1
 @skycripp: Chest armour does not protect you from internal injuries. BAD ADVICE. It will only lower the risk, minimally for internal damages, but not "by a lot"

I collapsed a lung riding whistler, and it was the shear force of the impact / reverberation that caused my lung to collapse, without a puncture. I was wearing full upper body armour. The warning is on the product itself, and states that they DO NOT protect against internal injuries.

So - armour is good for bruising, and some breaks, but if the impact is severe enough, they will not protect your organs. Period. This is direct information from my surgeon at the whistler bike park health centre where they treat at least 2-3 collapsed lungs he said, daily!

Wear your gear, it does protect against some injuries - most important 3 peices to be wearing for DH is your full face helmet with googles (so you don't puncture your eyes - which is one of the most common injuries) and your neck brace! Throw in a light chest and spine protection also! Cant hurt. Obvi wear knee pads at min.
  • 4 9
flag WAKIdesigns (Oct 16, 2019 at 11:55) (Below Threshold)
 @m33pm33p: if you don’t understand how chest protection does NOTHING to protect you against collapsed lungs (what I clearly referred to) then it is you who is ignorant. Sorry you had to resolve to calling names. In an event of abrupt deceleration of chest (falling on your chest, hitting a tree) it will collapse under its own weight regardless of what protection you use. Chest protection is abbrasion protection no1, then it may protect area it covers against penetration to a certain degree. It depends what you use. Useful when hitting a tree with broken branches sticking out of it. Unlikely but may happen. Finally it can reduce rolling, bumping around after crash since it is more likely to glide.

Ultimately, all body protection is optional.
  • 3 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Its pretty much the same reason why helmets do a good job preventing skull fracture but aren't really good at stopping concussions. Its the organs bouncing around inside the body during a rapid deceleration that does the damage.
  • 8 6
 @nicktee89: according to laws of physics, the only armor that could prevent injuries from compression is an air bag system with quite a lot of thickness. If you imagine that you are falling on your chest and your arms haven’t managed to decelerate you enough, your rib cage hasn’t managed to dampen and decelerate the impact as result your back squeezes internal organs, as if spine almost bottomed to the sternum, then 1-2cm thick body armor stands no chance, no matter what it is made of. You can use rails and braces to minimize compression of arms and legs but unless you do it to protect a weakened joint which would otherwise be exposed for increased risk of injury (like knee brace used during ACL rehab), you will just increase the load on the joint higher up the chain. This is a common misconception, that leads people who are not recovering from injury to use wrist or ankle braces as injury prevention. This creates opposite effect. The joints up the chain receive more stress as result of that.

Thinking that wearing body armor will make it safer to hit A-line or Dirt Merchant without being able to clear a smaller jump with good form, with a bit of style is like feeling you can surf Jaws because you put diving equipment on to not drown.
  • 7 1
 @WAKIdesigns: "Protection - why not, but don't let it take you where you shouldn't go" 100% agree with this.
  • 5 0
 @Albatrosse:

Full face - check
Torso armour - check
Neck brace - check
Elbow pads - check
Knee pads - check
Shin pads - check
Gloves - check
Yep, I'm now feeling safe enough to get on the chairlift ????
  • 10 0
 @WAKIdesigns: What’s your point? Obviously all protection has its limit, doesn’t mean they don’t do anything.
  • 14 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Perhaps you're so engaged in not being wrong that you're over stating your case. It is true that chest armor does little to prevent a collapsed lung. However they do spread point impact force such that you're less likely to break ribs and thus less likely to puncture a lung, etc.
  • 6 0
 I wear a full upper body suit as well. And I don't care what people think.

I've lost count as to how many times it has saved me. There are numerous deep gouges in the plastic shoulders and forearms that, had I not been wearing it, would have resulted in a trip to the hospital.

That's really what the difference is for me: Get up, dust yourself off and continue to enjoy the rest of day on the trails...
OR end up with an injury, possibly a hospital visit or worse! At the very least, avoiding having to end my day sooner than I would like. Doesn't help that I'm getting old and don't bounce back quite as quickly...plus I have to work on Monday.
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Do you have any sources / data to substantiate your claims or do we just take your word for being the almighty all-knowing mountain biker that you are?
  • 7 0
 @dbrk13: no.. Waki is just an ass hat.
  • 3 2
 @plyawn: Not sure which of my comments you are referring too but yea of course helmets should be worn. I'm not saying that any protection is bad. Like I said in another comment I'm never going to knock anyone for wearing as much as they want. I was just saying that when it comes to life threatening injuries suffered on a bike they are generally (obviously not always) going to be head or neck injuries. All the stuff like elbow/knee pads, body armor, gloves etc is all good, I wear alot of it myself. It will may help with some pain an minor injuries, but I'm not really expecting any of that stuff to save my life like a helmet or potentially a neck brace would.
  • 2 0
 I'm with you! They call me abuelo pads at trestle!
  • 1 0
 @ThunderChunk: riding the tld speed doctor full top and it's light, cool and protective!
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: sometimes it's the organs hitting the inside of your chest cavity due to rapid decelaration that does you in! Common with skiers hitting trees!
  • 2 0
 @srh2: I'm with you, it makes small inevitable crashes just anecdotal. Plus who has time for road rash!
  • 1 1
 @sino428: you were talking about head and neck injuries. Of course body armor won't protect from that and helmets and neck braces are implied if you are talking about head an neck injuries. WTF?
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: yes there is a danger in feeling overly confident when wearing protection. But there is also danger in not wearing enough protection because of feeling overconfident. Gotta keep it balanced.
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: a large plastic plate dissipating force to ribs over a larger area would help.
  • 2 0
 @skycripp: here are other injuries that can kill... a broken rib that punctures your lung, a broken femur that punctures a major artery same goes with a broken arm that puntures an axial artery, any internal bleeding not actioned immediately, damage to the liver, damage to the kidneys....so having protective gear can lessen those injuries from occurring...
  • 2 0
 > and I'm convinced in one crash [armor] made things worse.

@davec113: I've been a martial artist (MA) for 30yrs, getting air on DH/DJ for the last 7yrs, & I've experienced this too.

For DH I wear a full Leatt 5.5 body armor + neckbrace rig, basically 1 step down from moto. & as a MA, I can roll super well, break-fall, the works.

But: ARMOR CAN IMPEDE ROLLS.
The best rolls are made when you tuck, head into armpit etc, creating a nice curve so that the force is spread out from [hand => forearm => ] shoulder => oppo hip. But! Stiff armor doesn't allow a good tuck, so it's easy to 'bash & slide', rather than 'hit + roll'. What I've found works better in armor is 'hunch' in the air, & land on the heavier armor-- often the shoulder pad. The armor works best that way, spreads out the force for you, & I don't feel much in the clavicals etc.

But, this is Terrible practice for non-armor falls. Which I just learned on an 'intermediate' trail: my front washed on sandy rock, I flew & 'hunched', & had that 'loooong moment' realizing "omigod WTF am I not elongating, tucking, & rolling?!"
I landed *perfectly* on my shoulder tip, which would have been awesome in armor... but became one of the most painful crashes I've ever had w/o armor. I hit/bounced off my right shoulder so hard I felt *both* clavicals flexing. For days later my right shoulder was frozen, left shoulder was in pain (it never touched the ground), & sternum felt like it was split. Nothing was broken; I was lucky.

I've learned:
1. Armor can impede rolls
2. If you wear armor a lot, practice falling in it (progress from jumping on your bed, to mats in the gym, to practice falling on dirt). Notice your range of motion, & how well rolla work for you.
3. THEN practice your rolls without armor, & notice if there's a difference.

In martial arts we learn- 'Make a friend of the ground, & you'll never be afraid of falling'.
  • 10 2
 Whenever some death/injury news pop up here, people talk of body armor. Virtually NOBODY here talks about what to do for the crash not to happen and there's lots of stuff one can do. Phil Khmetz is possibly the only voice here apart from me highlighting this issue.

1. At first you run out of right mindset to ride. Stress at work, at home before leaving for a weeknd ride with friends.
2. Then you run out of talent - some people are just not good at progressing
3. Then you run out of balls - some people just freak out at the thought of sending gnarly jumps or riding gnarly jumps, yet they still go
4. Then you run out of skill - how many actually practice? And how many are just riding their bikes, hoping that dope stoke will get them through barely rideable features they don't normally see on their home trails
5. Then you run out of focus, mental fatigue is a fact (riding on the edge too much? nutrition? not resting?)
6. Then you run out of luck...

You know you are f*cked when you run out of Talent, Skill and Luck all at the same time. You know you are f*cked when you roll in thinking, "I hope I won't crash". If you look through Friday Fails you will find tons of people who crash after doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on the lip. And then people ask irrelevant questions like "what should he have done?" - when the right queston is "why has he not do anything" and the answer often is "because he didn't practice before he hit something way out of his comfort zone".

Get your f*cking head on your neck before you put the neck brace on. Then by all means, wear the neck brace.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I like your breakdown.

But I recommend practice rolling regardless, e.g. near your step 1. Regardless of getting on the bike. Ppl fall down every day, & none of us are getting younger.

Even if you're stressed from work/etc, get to the gym, smack a bag, & roll a few times on the mats. You'll feel LOTS better, -&- build up some 'sweat equity' for handling things smoothly when you have the inevitable 'cranial/sacral inversion'.
  • 5 1
 @taijidave: sorry I did not include that. Which is a huge factor in injury prevention for sure. I also forgot strength training and mobility. And surely more. But our culture is completely incapable of talking about mental side of things as well as being weak and getting stronger, being bad at doing something and getting better. We are on the other hand excellent at buying shit that should fix all these shortcomings.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Great point.
Now that we have OTC pills + gels for pain, tons of bike gear, & billions of changing 'standards' for every situation...

...all we need is 'DH Mindset' podcasts to "entrain your cortex for max steeze & stoke" :-P
  • 2 0
 @SPKeen: yea that’s why I was a little confused about that other guys reply to me in the first place. I wasn’t really sure what he was getting at.
  • 2 0
 @taijidave: that reminds me a CamelBak or other pack can impede rolls too. I crashed on A Line in 2006 and sustained a shoulder injury because when I rolled my pack got in the way and the strap yanked on my shoulder. Drove all the was from Massachusetts to Whistler so it was a bummer to crash out on my first day there. In fact it was my first run of the day. Which is another good point, don't warm up on a line.
  • 2 0
 @taijidave: All true... I'm no MMA expert but I have been active all my life and have the instinct to roll when possible, but on a bike sometimes it's just not. With some types of crashes you get slammed too quickly to do anything at all. Other times it's just not possible to dissipate enough force due to speed or falling too far. Shoulder pads make your shoulders larger, which sometimes isn't good either. Crashing on a bike has so many variables involved and can be very awkward!
  • 1 0
 @SPKeen: Sales rep of POC told me that packs with backplate are something that came in strong from the market. Both snow and MTB. But according to what they know, proper back protector is where it’s at. Always. For glide effect and not getting caught on obstacles.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: that new Enduro armor POC has looks pretty sick
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns:I'm still planning on getting that combo to cover all riding and ride without pack when getting rowdy. I know CamelBak makes that, I'll be looking into other convertible systems too
  • 88 0
 Her is the thing Guys.
I am one of his Friend and we just did his funeral this morning.
We are so sad and shocked......more like Speechless.
I want you to guys Understand something....
Don’t blame park or anyone or anything.
And also Some people talking about level of riding...
He was very skilled rider. A line was not a hard trail for him.
We all love mountain biking we all have same risk.( we are sign up for that legal paper in the first when we get the ticket for all the risk anyway...)
I just don’t want to see some people disagree over some opinions.... just don’t be please. No need to have hateful thoughts here.
We do what we love to do and we need to understand our own risk.
As i said .... it was just very unlucky accident.
Rest In Peace all the riders passed away....
Sorry for my bad English but this is my thoughts...
  • 7 0
 Well said. Sorry for your loss.
  • 6 0
 I'm sorry you lost your friend. From experience, I can't tell you everything's going to be fine in a certain number of months or even years. Losing friends and loved ones is always hard. For me, it felt especially difficult when that friend was also a best riding buddy. It's like carrying a brick in your pocket. You'll be able to grind the brick down into something small and mostly manageable. But it'll always be there, even if it's just grit and dust.
  • 3 0
 Very sorry about your friend. Keep shredding!
  • 1 0
 Sorry for your loss
  • 69 23
 Why do we need more details? Let the family grieve in peace. The rider obviously was not a public figure, so what's the point in publishing all his vitals? A rider wrecked and died; that's all the info any of us need to know.
  • 19 48
flag freeridejerk888 (Oct 16, 2019 at 7:44) (Below Threshold)
 Because it’s news and this is a news website
  • 84 1
 Perhaps others can learn from the details of the fallen riders mistake...helping people stay safe. RIP
  • 31 2
 @Eatsdirt: Word. Personally I like to know why/how people die, it helps to remind yourself "don't do that." Yea, statistics are better, but saying "someone died doing this thing we love" makes it sound like we should all hang up our helmets and do something else. If you say "someone died on a DH line wearing an XC helmet riding a unicycle while drunk with a heart condition" that makes it sounds like we should all know our limits better. Jordie's death while "trail riding" makes it sounds like maybe we need to take a 2nd look at safety equipment and speeds on trails not designed for them.
  • 21 1
 @PHeller: I have to agree with you here. Perhaps now is not the right time for a detailed review of the particular circumstances, but at some point these cases can help others in the future.

Avalanche fatalities and diving incidents come to mind first. The detailed incident reports published by these sports should serve as a guide on how mountain biking should proceed with handling fatality studies. The knowledge gained from analysis can help educate, inform and potentially prevent accidents in the future.

With the rash of recent fatalities in mountain biking, this could be a good time to start this conversation. A database of incident reports could serve as case studies for promoting a healthy conversation regarding risk, reward, and safety.

My heart goes out to all involved in this incident. Another sad day in what is proving to be a difficult year for professionals and enthusiasts alike.
  • 2 34
flag vhdh666 (Oct 16, 2019 at 8:51) (Below Threshold)
 @Eatsdirt: We don‘t need to learn from others because we are all smart enough to avoid (lethal) accidents. We just need to stick to ‚rules‘ like (1) don‘t ride at speeds we cannot control and (2) do wear body armour and (3) respect other riders riding the bike-parks tracks. It‘s so simple.
  • 1 1
 @freeridejerk888: I agree if they wanted to leave the family in peace they wouldn't post it in the first place.
  • 19 0
 I think we need more details to help avoid accidents in the future. I’m not sure why it’s so taboo to talk about. Understanding what went wrong can help other people. Did he have no business on A-Line? It’s an iconic trail and a lot of people want to ride it as a notch in their belt. Maybe knowing that people have died or been seriously injured over that belt notch will prevent that. Was he wearing a good helmet? Was he wearing a neck brace? Would either of those things prevented this? All valid questions. If enough major injuries get reported on where the diagnosis was “could have been prevented or way less sever with X safety gear” it will change peoples minds. Asking these questions isn’t wrong or insensitive.
  • 3 0
 @Eatsdirt: OK - but what do you expect to be the take-away beyond (1) DH biking has a lot of inherent risk, (2) do your best to mitigate it with preparation and judgement and (3) don't fall?

I think the general lesson learned is more than adequate from the info provided; anything more is of limited value and really none of our business.
  • 2 0
 @DeltaNiner: I can understand the sentiment because after a tragedy humans inevitably look for the "Why?" - we're terrible at accepting that some of our activities are inherently risky or dangerous or that very rare and very bad things happen to good people.The pro skier who dies in an avalanche always had the proper training and took appropriate precautions; the bystander is always innocent of the cause. It doesn't mean we should stop caring just that sometimes we need to accept the truth. This is really easy to say and very hard to do in practice.
  • 1 0
 @thejake: Exactly. This info simply helps the community learn from data and can do small things to improve the safety. Context here matters. Did he try to gap the famous rock drop? (dangerous as hell), or didn’t belong on A-Line, etc. Hopefully we’ll get some more details.
  • 4 1
 @vhdh666: Whut? Despite your magical 1, 2, 3 we've seen at least 2 mtb-related deaths in a week. Your formula grossly oversimplifies what happens on the trail and in life in general, and you weave your magic in the face of total ignorance/zero facts regarding the circumstance. I may personally think the learning from someone's passing is arbitrary, but it's human nature to be existential and empathize. Waving that off with numbered bullshit is your personal choice, not a universal proclamation. #getneutral
  • 11 0
 @plyawn: If someone with 1 year of experience gets in a freak accident on a DH line and the handlebar plunges through their chest, I would like to know if that is what happened. If they were wearing a particular brand of 661 helmet and had a simple crash, I would like to know. Im going to a downhill park in November, Ive only been to two and all of these vague statements of peoples unfortunate and sad end makes me want to sell the bike and pick up bass fishing because idk any details. Anything has inherent risks but it seems as though there is good stuff to learn from these incidents to prevent further devastation to the community.
  • 17 0
 One of the things that rock climbing and alpinists do much better than MTB is take the safety aspect very seriously and examine all accidents to determine cause and prevention. Rock Climbers culture is very heavy on safety and climbers are encouraged to report all serious accidents and fatalities to the American Alpine Institute. A yearly report is published that includes as many details as possible as to how the accident occurred, how the rescue was handled, what could have been done to prevent it. It is a tremendous learning resource to all in the community, and encourages us to remain mindful of the risks, and to be better prepared. I completely understand that it is heartbreaking to the families of those who are lost. The fact is that this is a very dangerous sport, more dangerous than ever due to higher speeds and bigger airs, and we could all learn from the details of each accident.
  • 1 7
flag bulletbassman (Oct 16, 2019 at 12:44) (Below Threshold)
 @Eatsdirt: perhaps, but that should be the families decision. Obviously whistler should discuss making things safer behind closed doors but it shouldn’t be public knowledge without families approval
  • 4 0
 @MidnightFatty: completely agree. Climbing does a great job of analyzing accidents. Climbing is kind of a weird sport in that it can be very safe or extremely dangerous depending on just a few minor things.
  • 4 0
 @thejake: @thejake: Skydiving also keeps a full database of deaths and surrounding circumstances so that everyone can learn from others mistakes

www.blincmagazine.com/forum/wiki_index.php?title=BASE_Fatality_List
  • 3 0
 @MidnightFatty: Yes exactly. I always read over the yearly report. I've learned a few things and it helps remind me of areas where I've gotten a little to sloppy. Seeing this report is another reminder that I've gotten a little too comfortable riding park and that there are serious risks.
  • 2 0
 @vhdh666: I can't tell if you are trolling or if you are just dense. My significant other (who rides with me on high level trails) managed to get a severe concussion, losing memory of about two days of time, while riding along a beginner trail at moderate speed due to a tree branch locking her front wheel. So... 1) She was at controllable speed. 2) She was wearing a helmet, which is the only appropriate body armor on an xc trail for an experienced rider. 3) I was following her, no other rider in site. I've seen broken limbs from a taco'd wheel on landing. I've personally broken six ribs in a fall on a trail I've ridden dozens of times and I still have zero clue how I went down, just kinda did.

The fact that you can manage to formulate a sentence somewhat coherently means you must be at least a little brighter than your statement makes you seem.
  • 3 0
 @theredbike: that list is chilling. If you think MTB is dangerous, then base jumping and wing-suiting is downright murderous.
  • 2 0
 @PHeller: Honestly the mountain bike death list could be even worse for all we know because far more people do it. Whistler even said they don't share information unless requested. While the safety/fatality record isn't very good for base jumping and skydiving it's miles ahead of our community seeing as we don't even have a safety/fatality record.
  • 2 0
 No different than organ donation. Maybe some good info that can save others will come of this. No different than the aviation community, where we routinely grieve our brothers, but learn from even inadvertent mistakes.
  • 6 0
 @Eatsdirt: yup. There are volumes written on climbing, skiing and boating accidents. Those are mature sports who’s practitioners know and understand the risks and aren’t afraid to talk about what went wrong. The best thing that could come from a tragic event, so that the death was not in vain, is that it would save someone in the future.
  • 1 3
 I will have to burst your bubble but unless you know someone who witnessed these incidents or you witnessed it yourself you will have to live with not knowing. Privacy laws in (just guessing) do not give the general public any right to this information unless the immediate family gives permission. The vast majority of mtn bikers I know have had multiple serious crashes. No matter the amount of body armour would have prevented any of the injuries they or I have sustained. It’s assumed risk. I am content knowing that to progress or to enjoy riding my bike at the skill level I have, I will eventually severely hurt myself. You have to decide that for yourself. No statistic is going to help define a freak accident. No two persons crash the same way on a given section of trail. The same way no two persons ride the same section of trail the same way. @Asuhhdude:
  • 2 0
 @DeltaNiner: Diving is a good example though unfortunately, just like here, you will get loads of people trying to shut down any analysis (usually dive pros directly involved or just not wanting bad rep for the sport that they tell clients is "safe and easy") wiping their mouths with "respect for the family". And it's up to the community because coroners, doctors and prosecutors usually don't know anything about it and don't give a crap so they just say "drowning". Which is baffling in a sport where it's often even easier to pinpoint exact causes than in MTB (at least where there is data/evidence, i.e. body, equipment and buddy) and where pretty much all fatalities not caused by pre-existing medical conditions are preventable and directly result from chains of errors.
  • 2 0
 @PHeller: What's even worse, is there is near-zero correlation between experience & fatalities in the BASE communities. There was a study done, & in most other sports, with experience & skill comes more safety &/or less injuries. But with BASE, researchers found little to none. They essentially strongly implied: if you BASE, eventually you will die doing it.
  • 1 0
 @MidnightFatty: white water kayaking has a similar resource: Charlie Walbridge accident reports on AWW. Whitewater danger is even more arbitrary or hard to predict with complex currents and underwater hazzards but accident reports are usually still published for the same reasons.
  • 29 0
 ER doctor here. I work in a “ski town” in Eastern Canada. I ride the local bike park with my teenage sons. Love it.

Most years we have a fatality in the bike park.

I’ll tell you what I wear for padding: Full face helmet, Fox Raptor Proframe (with the wrap around rib protection), knee and elbow pads. Same for my boys.

I should wear a neck brace, but I’m not 100% convinced by the evidence they help... and I’m vain, and I find them uncomfortable. I will feel stupid if have an accident and have a cervical spine injury and end up in a wheel chair.

Reality is I don’t ride THAT hard. If It’s hot, or I’m riding chill by myself I might just wear a helmet, T-shirt and knee pads.

Having said that I don’t think ANY amount of padding or armour will save you if you hit a tree at speed. Think riding your motorcycle into a wall. The internal plumbing just comes disconnected due to massive deceleration ...

My chest protector may prevent broken ribs but not traumatic rupture of the aorta or massive internal abdominal hemmorhage . Major pelvic fracture and accompanying bleeding from blunt trauma has a very high mortality rate.

My pads and armour will protect me from the scratches and scrapes and bruises, but likely not the major injuries that are likely to be fatal.

Best advice (if you are skiing or biking): don’t hit something stationary (tree, chair tower, etc...). Speed doesn’t kill. Stopping suddenly does.
  • 2 0
 I broke my C4 last month. Wish I was wearing a neck brace. Not saying by any means it 'would' have saved me, but it may have. My fracture is a very typical one neck braces are designed to protect against. And for that reason I will be purchasing one before i ride again and advising all my friends to.
  • 2 0
 So, from what you've seen, are most fatalities a result of someone hitting a tree at speed, or landing on their head?
  • 2 0
 @PHeller: Both bad. Hitting a tree at speed is a very dangerous mechanism of injury.
  • 4 0
 Extrapolating this out, if we have 100 bike parks worldwide, we might have 100 people a year dying from downhill bike crashes. We really should have more industry transparency around major bike accidents so we can make well-informed choices.
  • 26 0
 It’s a high risk sport that we are involved in. The trails have gotten gnarlier and the bikes have become so capable of smashing so fast through everything that there will be accidents. I recently took a pretty heavy spill and luckily didn’t do any permanent damage, but it’s an eye opener to the speeds that these bikes can take us and the potential for serious consequences. I feel extremely sad right now. My condolences to the family and friends. Shred In Peace.
  • 8 0
 Also with the growing popularity and plethora of gravity oriented lift served resort riding opportunities, just based on sheer numbers I think we're going to start seeing more of these kinds of accidents. I'm actually surprised it isn't already a bigger issue TBH.
  • 4 0
 Very true, trail bikers are routinely going at speeds that used to be the sole domain of DH racing. And intermediate park riders are constantly hitting jumps that would not have looked out of place at rampage ten years ago.

This doesn't mean that we should just stand by and let the accidents happen "because it is a risky sport".
Skiing has gone through the same progression of increasing speeds and lift resorts. But skiing has also done a lot to improve safety through slope layout, emergency service access, safety gear and education.
  • 14 0
 > "Whistler Blackcomb’s policy is to only notify media of on-mountain deaths upon request."

Friends and I once discussed that we know that deaths happen in Whistler with a degree of frequency in both bike and ski season. Our consensus conclusion was not to ask or talk much about it. It's a fact that a lot of people "die of recreation" in the PNW and other wonderfully fun locations, and it has been this way since gravity became propulsion. The risks are huge as are both the consequences and rewards. Every rider needs to understand and manage their own.

Condolences.
  • 4 4
 Pretty much this, on average 5-10 people die a year skiing at whistler,and even more in surrounding back country areas. Humans are not strangers to putting themselves in harm's way. It's part of the rush and excitement. I will say 1 thing. A-Line is one of the safest trails on the mountain.. wide, bermed, groomed and almost perfectly made to ride without having to brake much nor pedal. I'm willing to bet a bad head injury.. which I thought whistler made full faces mandatory but hasn't been enforcing.
  • 12 0
 @m33pm33p: A-Line may very well be the best built trail in the world however it is relatively high speed and it is speed that is the most significant factor in injury severity. 20 mph down A-line vs 10 mph on a tech trail has 4 times the forces acting on the body in a crash.
  • 12 0
 @m33pm33p: I was at a presentation by a senior bike park manager at the MTB Tourism Symposium this year and it was noted that the biggest "performers" at Whistler are consistently the flow trails/jump trails (machine built trails) regardless of blue, black, or double black. The combination of speed, firmness of trail surface, and jumps always generates the most crashes and the most emergency call-outs. When people are inexperienced or simply make mistakes on these trails, there are often consequences despite all the safe-guards in place and quality of construction. On tech single track, people can't really ride above their abilities or go faster then they can manage. They also choose trails more wisely. Even an intermediate rider can ride too fast down A-Line, but this is challenging on a black single track. Trail surface and surrounding forest is also far more forgiving.
  • 6 1
 @Mattwendling: your point is very much well made and taken. and so i'm sorry to pick a nit here, but it's 4x the kinetic energy, not 4x the force.
  • 3 0
 @pmhobson: I'm a pseudo-ex nerd and not picking a nit at all...just clarifying if the kinetic energy translates to force once the crash happens? I want you to both be right, because it's a day we need a positive.
  • 6 0
 @whitehonky: And along these lines, I wonder how much the YouTube GoPro videos and full suspension bikes inspire people to ride beyond their limits. They make it look easy and perhaps inspire people to go a little faster than they naturally would. While the truth is that for every MTB'r that has reached elite jump skills, they've paid the price damage to their bodies from crashing hard many times over, and recovering from serious injuries that in many cases, will never fully heal.

Back in the day of rigid bikes and downhills that were only earned from pedaling up them first, progression was more modest and self regulating. I do think that the full sus bikes result in speeds beyond skills, as they are too forgiving of poor technique.
  • 3 0
 @iammarkstewart: Velocity linearly translates to force via acceleration and quadratically to kinetic energy.

F = m * a, where a = change in velocity divided change in time. so if we're holding mass and time constant, it takes twice to force to decelerate from 20 mph than 10 mph. While I have what I think is a fairly decent model of the role forces play in injuries, I can't say the same about kinetic energy. So perhaps the point is moot.

But I will say, since that 4x higher kinetic energy means that your braking/stopping distance is 4x long (pretty sure, but not 100% onthis) if you decide you need to stop from 20 mph vs 10 mph.
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: You're correct, thanks.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: Sorta got it. I understand how speed makes things worse if they're not going your way. I guess that's why they tag everything with gforce sensors in crash testing. I will do some reading because braking isn't the same force as crashing. Thank you.
  • 2 0
 @iammarkstewart: Braking absolutely isn't the same thing as crashing. I'm with you on that 100%. I only mentioned that stopping distance example because 4x increase in stopping distance with a 2x increase in speed illustrates -to me- what the stakes really are. In my mind, it means that getting out of a bad situation unscathed is that much harder (e.g., overcooking it through turns or chunks) when pushing myself to go faster.
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: That I get...one of the reasons I so rarely get airborne now is because of that. If you make the speed error at the corner or at the lip you have very little, if any, time to correct and the consequences are now that much higher. Science, the double edged sword...
  • 1 0
 It's tough to make well-informed decisions when rider deaths are kept quiet but jumps, stunts and crashes are celebrated on Instagram.
  • 15 0
 So sad. In many respects it’s crazy it doesn’t happen more often and a testament to how safe they’ve been able to make the park. My condolences to the family. RIP
  • 11 0
 @WAKIdesigns : @plorwax etc etc. your are all right and wrong in different respects. waki as usual is right but in a tunnel visioned sort of way. everyone's arguing yet again on a thread highlighting the tragic death of a rider doing what they loved. this is the 3rd one in about a 10days, and the anger, vitriolic abuse, picking on ambiguous comments, name calling and unverified claims on what happened ( counting all 3 articles) is pretty sickening folks. i get we all want answers and how did this happen , but really that's the families business not ours. pay your respects and leave it at that.

going back to impacts (and going all hypocritical on what i just said on "leaving it that", as a trauma trained friefighter in the UK, we get taught there's 3 levels of impact

PRIMARY IMPACT = vehicle such as bike hitting the obstacle (ground, tree, rock, other rider etc) causing the rider to continue forward in the last known trajectory- for a biker only 2 things stop this luck and skills.

SECONDARY IMPACT -the body hitting the next obstacle (in a car its the windscreen or steering wheel usually) - this causes blunt force and leverage/twisting traumas, penetration trauma and tertiary impact trauma. every added piece of equipment will add to your protection. though you could be super unlucky and be caused further damage due to your equipment, such as twisting trauma on your neck caused by the chin piece on your helmet. - broken neck or smashed jaw. you as an responsible adult need to make the decision which is worse and which is more likely and protect thy self to suit

TERTIARY IMPACT- This is what waki is talking about. this is where your vehicle has stopped, the body has stopped but your internal organs are still moving forward at the last known speed and trajectory and hit your skeleton at speed. basic laws of physics.

types of injuries are ruptured spleens, torn arteries, punctured lungs, collapsed lungs, torn retinas, eyeballs out of eye sockets , brain damage, tongues being bitten off. the list is long and quite horrific. being filled with fluid helps mitigate it. and to a tiny tiny degree armour will help reduce the speed at which your body stops but i doubt its of any use due to the mass of the human body. a well designed bike helmet is probably about the only piece of bike safety gear that goes someway to addressing this by having crumple zones....great if you crash at 15mph, not so much at 30mph

so back to basics, if you think you need armour then wear it, it will stop most secondary trauma, (guess)90% of biking injuries, but bear in mind it wont help very much in tertiary trauma, (guess)10% of biking injuries, but usually the far more serious......... at present the only way to reduce that is ride sensibly and take cognisance of the terrain you are in and have some Irish luck on your side.

R.I.P another member of our amazing community
  • 8 4
 @forkbrayker - thank you for your educated/ experienced input. Unfortunately we humans lack capacity of creating a forum full of sensible discussions at this point of our evolution. We don’t know how to better talk about these things, share our feelings, test our hypothesis. We shout at each other hoping someone will tune in on our frequency. We are very limited. I don’t think there’s much malice involved. The super ego is wrecking havoc here.

But the alternative is even scarier. Silence, assumptions, not being able to reconcile with own demons awaken by the tragic situation, even higher risk of making wrong judgments. If not these reactions, nobody would ever read comments like yours. A painful process of maturing is rarely a pretty sight

Cheers
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: tru dat !....... silence would indeed be a terrible thing
  • 15 0
 RIP fellow shredder.
  • 12 2
 Friday fails should be the real eye opener. Everyone everywhere purposely filming themselves trying to immitate and mimick online videos. Watch those crashes 90 Percent of the riders have zero business trying to the features they eat shit on. All the marketing and advertising tried to cover up the fact that this is kind of a crazy sport. But they need to hide that from the "tech job" guys with boring life's that like to get risky on the weekends with their 10k bike and gear setup. A line might be built perfectly but I imagine most people are having a thrill but are real close to splatting themselves all over the place. The expensive dh bike and groomed trails only hide the lack of skill until it's too late.

But hey we all need to go big and buy new products to help us do so!
  • 11 1
 Latest news show us how important is to take MTB seriously, although responsability doesn´t free us from accidents. Anyway, this is not a game, we can´t go short on helmets or chest protectors.
  • 3 0
 I agree. Seems people are wearing smaller helmets and less armor these days...
  • 8 0
 Similar to skydivers this information needs to be collected in a database to track and understand what lead to these events. No one here has any context to what happened and without a proper understanding of what happened it is impossible to track, prevent or change as a individual or as a group to prevent similar occurrences from repeating them selves.
  • 12 1
 Okay. Had enough of this now. October 9th was NOT a good day in mtb.
  • 7 0
 Am I right in thinking that's 3 people (Canadians) in roughly the space of a week? All died while mountain biking. That's unheard of and a story that needs more details to raise awareness. It's very worrying and I really feel for all the family and friends affected.
  • 7 0
 It's sad to see the number of RIPs we're getting on here at the moment. It's about time someone stepped up to the plate and looked properly at mountain bike deaths and life changing injuries. Much as we love to hate on them, the only ones big enough, and with the clout to get the data is the UCI. We need to know:
- Are current helmet standards sufficient? Are DH (and enduro) bikes now so capable and fast that Moto standards would be more appropriate?
- Would a neck brace have made a difference? Or spine/chest protection. There's too much guesswork and marketing for us consumers to decide if the discomfort is worth it.
- Are there specific trail features that lead to a disproportionately high level of injuries, and how could trail builders be helped to make them safer (without spoiling them)?
I would expect that on the majority of cases, families would be happy to share their data to reduce the risk to everyone else.
  • 7 0
 I was there that day and witnessed it, I believe it was on the very last jump on A-Line and a lot of people waiting at the lift saw it as well as the patrons on the patio of Garbaldi Co since that jump is right there. After the rider crashed he was convulsing and vomiting aka major head trauma. I remember saying to myself "I hope that guy is alright". RIP man... such sad news.
  • 3 0
 Nope, it wasn’t on the last jump.
  • 1 1
 @rstokes: Then that must have been a different rider, the guy I witnessed on the last jump was carried out and did not walk so I assumed it was him. I did however see another rider on the ground being cared for by patrol and they had him on a stretcher on the last step down/gap of Lower Canadian DH, really sucks seeing riders go down like that.
  • 6 0
 This comment is not about the rider who died. RIP.

Most of the "Fail Fridays" I see are of clips of riders who obviously do not have the skill to do what they are attempting to do and those crashes look terrible and sometimes very dangerous. Mtb is a dangerous sport but there are many skills that could reduce risk (especially when high speed riding and jumping) that many riders may not even think they have to learn. For example, learning to bail from the bike and tumbling out of it. Most riders dont think about learning how to do that, but I've seen many would be dangerous crashes that do not cause any serious injury because the rider knows how to bail well. Now I know not every crash gives the riders time to bail, but on a jump line there is often time in the air. Also, this type of high consequence riding takes time to learn and takes mental focus and confidence to execute. I've seen many bad crashed happen because someone hesitated and/or didnt have full confidence.

All this to say yes we participate in a dangerous sport, but there are ways to mitigate risk and riders should look to educate themselves and learn the proper skills (not just self-taught) before attempting features outside their comfort zone.
  • 4 0
 Much truth to the importance of learning how to ditch the bike and tumble out of it as basic crash skllls. I was reminded of this in brutal fashion last night. I have recently started riding my AM hardtail at the skatepark, which sets my skill down several rungs from what I manage to do on a BMX. I got out of sorts when jumping a hip and had a very hard crash that could have been mitigated by simply ditching the bike. Somehow this is second nature when riding my beater $400 BMX bike, yet totally counter intuitive when riding the $2,500 hardtail. These bikes are so damn expensive that I think I'm not the only one that goes down with the ship rather than flinging it out of harms way and landing. And $2,500 is small change to the full sus bikes most are riding.

As I hobble around with a severely bruised hip today, I'm reminded of the importance of riding within my abilities, taking progression slowly. My daughter rides skatepark with me too, and she is on the timid side. Her progression has been slower than mine, but nonetheless gradual, while I've suffered 3 serious injuries in the year that we've been doing this. Patience is key, and these YouTube videos are inspiring us to "send it" beyond where we naturally would be without them, no doubt.
  • 2 0
 @MidnightFatty: Good point with mentioning higher priced bikes might give the rider a psychological block and prevent them from throwing it away from themselves mid-air.
  • 2 0
 @MidnightFatty: have you given thought to padded under shorts? I wear the G form ones and they have saved my hips!
  • 1 0
 @Robertoregency: I have now! Of course, it the same old story: Get hurt, pile on the protection on the ensuing rides...over time the injuries heal and the memories of pain dissipate....I'm in Florida so the heat and 90% humidity gets the best of me...soon I'm not wearing much gear again and BAM it happens again....
  • 9 2
 Rest brother the universe has you in her warm embrace. You feel no pain. May your family grieve with no burden. Deus benedicat.
  • 4 0
 Yep, all it takes is one split second error to change your life. Shred safe fellow riders, ride another day! Condolences to the rider's family, such a tough situation. At least he/she was doing something they loved at the end Smile we should all be so lucky.
  • 4 0
 As a 21 year health care professional (Orthopaedic Technologist) I have seen the consequences of some pretty crazy sports related accidents. As a 35 year mountain biker I feel that I can say that bikes today allow people of limited skill ride way over their heads. My latest bike reminded myself of that very thing as it rolls significantly faster than my previous bike and I managed to scare myself even while riding familiar trails. That said I was massively impressed with A-line when I rode it. It felt almost fool proof and perfectly sculpted. I saw some pretty sketchy looking bikes when I was there and thought "well that doesn't look safe" more than a few times and if your bike isn't safe all the personal protection in the world won't save you. Make sure your bike is safe. Wear appropriate personal protection. Ride within your limits and incrementally push them. Familiarize yourself to the trails before sending it full clip. And even then... chaos may or may not ensue.
  • 3 0
 I had a really bad crash on A-Line in June. I was wearing a full face helmet, G-force elbow pads and Fox Launch knee/chin guards. I broke my scapula, nearly every rib on my right side and collapsed my lung (where I impacted on my upper shoulder, my chest protector that I was not wearing would not have helped). The medical center at Whistler is top notch. They quickly diagnosed my collapsed lung and inserted a chest tube, then transferred me to Lyons Gate Hospital in North Vancouver where I spent the next 3 days. One thing I kept hearing from the medical personnel was "A-Line claims another".

I have ridden A-Line about 30 times and I can clear all the jumps. I consider myself to be an advanced rider. So, what happened?

Complacency

My mind was not focused on the jump and I failed to pump. I Dead-sailored off a perfectly sculpted jump, and rode my bike into the ditch. Of course, while headed toward the ditch I spotted a tree stump on the bank which I hit as I went OTB. I am sure that if I would have not tried to avoid the stump (by either attempting to turn away, or braking, or a combination of the two) I could have just rode out the ditch. As many commenters here have stated, the speed of A-Line causes significant injuries due to the forces involved.

My advice: enjoy yourself, but take breaks often to avoid fatigue. Remain focused on every feature and when you inevitability screw up, don't panic and look for an out.
  • 5 0
 Prayers for his family, can’t imagine what getting that phone call must’ve been like.
  • 2 0
 These deaths put our risks into perspective. Coming up short on a gap, slipping off a wood platform and anything else that has an obstacle feature just goes to show the importance of safety gear and a solid lid. RIP to all our fallen brothers. We all need to be careful out there. Love to you all
  • 2 0
 It's not just MTB, I see the same thing all the time on streetbikes and watersports (two of my other dangerous hobbies). Part of the enjoyment of these activities is that it is entirely up to the individual how they approach it, and their decisions may ultimately affect whether they survive a serious incident. I hear from newbies "I'm not going that fast" or vets "I've been doing this for years", both of which have nothing to do with the chances of serious injury, yet their level of protection is still influenced by that attitude. EVERYONE CRASHES.. will it be a lucky landing with no issue (me) or broken bones, torn ligaments, nerve damage (also me)? It may be years between wipeouts but I treat each one a way to learn my weaknesses and the resulting aftermath! Love your sport but love yourself a little too
  • 2 0
 It's surprising there aren't more deaths considering the speed, amplitude, air time, features, all surrounded by trees, rocks, and hard dirt.

Compared to what I was doing in you youth (80'-90'), the stuff folks are hucking now are magnitudes bigger ... that's why more people are dying.

I guarantee there are posters reading this forum now who will be killed or seriously injured in a mountain bike accident in the next year.

Does this make anyone stop taking these risks?
  • 2 0
 If there anything like Disney or large racetracks like Daytona then they will wait to declare death till the victim is at a hospital or off property to help aid in there legal defense against the injured person being killed on there property. Happens often.
  • 2 0
 Well! Once again I’m not sure what the community is supposed to do with this information without any of the details.
Knowing someone died while riding is worthless info if we don’t know the exact nature of the injuries and how they could (if possible) Been prevented.
Did they hit a tree?, a rock, fall on top of their bike?
What kind of protection where they wearing?
  • 2 0
 The global cycling community - and especially MTB scene - is small enough that every loss is personal and painful. If I do end up going to Whistler next year, I'll be the same age this person; gonna be on my mind heavy. RIP friend.
  • 5 0
 A other sh*ty news this week. My sympathy to the family.
  • 5 0
 This is tragic. My condolences to the family.
  • 3 0
 I wear every armor I can find yet I still crash on a spot where there’s no armor. RIP to that rider. It can happen to any of us.
  • 1 0
 So sorry to hear about this. Me and the crew head to Whistler every year for a week and A-LINE is usually the highlight of our trip. High speeds and big hits are what this trail is all about and I could see how it could go terribly wrong. My heart goes out to this rider, his family and his friends. RIP fellow ripper. Frown
  • 1 0
 Such a crappy week for the MTB community. Regardless if the rider was shredding the Rampage course or riding a local XC loop, comments further up blaming track builders and the like shouldnt be made. Lost a mate riding MTB on a the final hump at Stromlo im Canberra. The most innocent looking fall can have the most catastrophic consequences while the biggest crash can leave a rider walking away with a graze. This is the nature of our sport and the outcome of a crash is always a roll of the dice as to the outcome. RIP to another trail pinner, may you be shredding the gnar with all the riders we have lost that also loved our sport.
  • 1 0
 My most recent crash was on Rim Dinger at BPW, its only a red line and I know it like the back of my hand. It has nothing to with the trail design, on any day, on any trail, we can all easily crash. This is very sad news and there is no point blaming the designers, there is more footage on A Line than probably any trail in the world so any of us would know what we are in for, let this horrible incident be just what it is, an accident, and a sad loss to his family, friends and to us the shredder community.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Hey, now this is a different sport, but as I've done both for a long time, I think it's a valid point. I played Ice Hockey for years. All my friends and other people always commented about wearing pads... "they don't do that in football or rugby and look"... the pads help, end of story. If you get nailed at those speeds (which I did, probably too often), you end up with all kinds of injuries. Wearing pads will help prevent a multitude of injuries. You can never guarantee that it's going to save your life. However, if the pads I wear when cycling or when I played hockey prevent even 80% of possible serious injury, then they are staying on. I understand why people want to wear less, it doesn't look cool and they get heavy. On a bike park, if it's a downhill centre like Whistler, what does it really matter?
  • 1 0
 Man, this is sad news. Does anyone know how it happened? I've always thought Aline was pretty safe, even all the biggest jumps seem to be built to leave plenty of room for error. But I do think it's possible for someone to fly off the trail and hit a tree at high speed.

RIP fellow rider
  • 3 0
 Just shows how dangerous our beloved sport can be sometimes, condolences to his family. Stay safe people!
  • 4 0
 October has been a horrible month for the MTB community. RIP
  • 1 0
 me and my pre teen worked up to A-line this year .
every day someone was taken down on the stretcher
many at the base of the squirrel catcher ( beginning of run)
but the fun overrides the fear for now
rip
  • 2 0
 :'( My condolences and prayers to this person's loved ones. I'm suffering from a nasty head injury myself which I got overshooting a jump on A-Line 14 months ago
  • 2 0
 honest question if I may - where about and how did you overshoot an A-Line jump? I was in Whistler early Sept and was happy that I got to the point where I could comfortably clear everything. Given that the landings are generally pretty long and everything seems well built I would think you were either going mach speed and/or really popping off the jumps? Hope you get fully healed up.
  • 3 0
 @kliss: there are a couple on the second zone of Aline before the tombstone I could definitely send to flat
  • 2 0
 @kliss: a dry day and the trail runs pretty fast. I can overshoot most jumps on the trail if I decide to rail berms and pump into everything.
  • 3 0
 @kliss: The 2nd jump at the very start of the trail after the 2 berms and right under the chairlift where people love to show off for the audience above; you know beside the maintenance road. (TLDR the story below)
It was a little bit of a freak accident and misjudgement on my part...

Story Time!

After warming up with a couple good laps on Freight Train I was following a buddy and it was our first A-Line run of the season AKA warm-up lap, so we weren't cruising (nor did it feel like it) and these guys came out of nowhere ripping fast behind me as I was hitting the first kinda speed jump thing, so it wasn't really an ideal time to pull over and let them pass, plus the road break was right after this jump anyway... I gave it a couple extra pedals before the 2nd jump without thinking anything of it, (since the 2 guys behind me were cruising at a faster pace, I had ridden A-Line regularly for years and felt like I was going at a slower warm-up speed this time anyway), then OOPS I completely flew well beyond the landing and nose dove hard onto the flat. Obviously, I flew over the bars after landing harshly on my front wheel and gave myself a KO after smacking down the hardest i've ever hit my head (I've had a previous "minor" concussion before). Yes I had a full-face on... I still have a torn shoulder from that too. Obviously, the mach speed tail-gaters behind me were absorbing the jumps (unlike me) going at the speed that they were.

Once the 'speedy' guys picked me up and I opened my eyes it was almost the same effect as a flash bang in a Call of Duty game, I only saw bright white light everywhere and my ears were ringing so loud, I could barely hear their voices. Then I had the drunken balance thing when I tried to walk, followed by hours of amnesia (like temporary alzheimer's; no memory) on the way to and while sitting in the Whistler hospital.

14 months later, I'm still very much symptomatic with my concussion right now and can't do much without it getting worse. Doing almost anything, thinking, socializing, driving, going out, exercising make me feel very unpleasantly impaired/drunk, dissociate and headachey with plenty of light and noise sensitivity. These long concussions are called Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) and regular doctors are beyond useless/clueless at treating it. I'm seeing concussion specialized chiropractors and neuro-optometrists basically trying to fix my whiplashed neck (most concussions come with whiplash, which creates the same symptoms when the neck is screwed up since our nerves that connect to the brain are in the neck), and re-train my visual and vestibular systems with vision and balance therapy. I will most likely never participate in anymore 'extreme' mountain biking (or any high-risk activities) ever again, as every additional brain injury gets worse, and this one is already seemingly taking forever. At least I had my fair share of MTBing fun over the years before this happened and I will cherish those memories cruising through the flowy Dirt Merchant and A-Line.

Moral of the story: PROTECT YA NECK (and HEAD!) Head injuries are no joke and not to be taken lightly! Hopefully none of this ever happens to any of you reading, but if it does and you need some support or have questions shoot me a message! Smile
PS: Thanks to those two random speedsters for at least stopping to see if I was alright.
  • 1 1
 Bikes and trails are getting faster than people's strength and skills can grow. Especially since few people actually try to grow those two things. We see this widening gap every week on Friday Fails. People who are either overweight and unbalanced or are frail and just holding the handlebars getting pulled 'along for the ride'. Expect these deaths to keep occurring more frequently. And now, with ebikes becoming more popular, the amount of people riding trails they don't belong on at speeds they shouldn't even consider going will only make the statistics even worse.
  • 4 1
 A-line has barely.changed much in the 15 years I've been riding it, except maybe the moon booter.. other hard obstacles like the Aline rock have been dumbed down to the extreme.
  • 2 0
 It's always worth reminding ourselves- once we are in the moment, gravity, momentum, and hard surfaces are unforgiving things.
  • 1 0
 What I was trying to say is we have to remember our ability to make mistakes. Once we're in the moment it's hard to reneg on our offer.
  • 1 0
 This week has sucked. Jordie passed, now this fellow rider. What is going on? Wear appropriate protective gear y'all and stay safe. My condolences to his family and friends.
  • 1 0
 Damn, I was up there that day and saw the chopper... was hoping for the best Frown . Ride in Peace, and condolences to all his loved ones.
  • 3 1
 Enough arguing people. RIP to the biker who passed away. A bad crash could happen to any one of us. Be safe out there.
  • 1 0
 a good Armour suit helmet and neck brace are so worth the money. blows my mind when i see people sending a line with just a helmet and knee pads
  • 7 5
 Too many riders die. WTF is going on. I'm feeling sick to my stomach.
  • 10 9
 Leave it alone Pinkbike, you don't need more info! It was a friend of some of my friends, I rode with him a few times
  • 3 0
 Tough stuff - sorry to hear. Hope PB listen to you (and family if that's what they wish).
  • 2 0
 same day as jordie. very sad. my condolences to his family
  • 2 0
 This is sad Frown Ride in peace !!!!
  • 1 0
 Ride in peace rider brother! Condolences to the loved ones you leave behind.
  • 1 0
 Rest in peace brotha. Condolences to his friends and family.
  • 2 0
 RIP, brutha.
  • 1 0
 Hate to hear this stuff. Shred in Peace
  • 1 0
 Bad news, RIP and condolences to his family and friends.
  • 2 0
 Ride In Peace up there
  • 2 0
 RIP
  • 1 0
 Thoughts to family and friends. Brutal stuff. Ride In Peace, amigo.
  • 1 0
 Ride in Peace brother. Salute
  • 6 9
 jumps for show, corners for dough. too many jumps these days.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.052933
Mobile Version of Website