Extreme Outdoor Sports continue to draw athletes as participants seek to experience new boundaries, adventure and thrills as suppliers are expected to capitalize.
So you’re into adventure, risk, adrenalin and the thrill of not quite knowing what’s around the corner- and of course you love the outdoors. That might just put you as a contender of exhilarating outdoor sports and activities drawing increasing participants.
Perhaps whetting the appetite of vendors equipping ‘outdoor’ participants is a 2016 report via the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) highlighting the outdoor recreation economy comprising 2 percent ($373.7 billion) of the 2016 U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Industry numbers are expected to grow as risk appetites continue to ‘evolve’ the study states.
In no particular order here are five extreme outdoor sports and activities capturing the fascination of participants.
1/ Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is arguably one of the most physically demanding outdoor sports one can partake in- with adventurers required to be physically fit, agile, good at problem solving and able to make split timing decisions should the elements suddenly change.
While indoor climbing may be a great place to learn the craft of scaling, along with hand to eye coordination – the real test for enthusiasts is in the open wild- that is after all the bargain- the unpredictable and nature – and the potential for injury or even worse- death. Despite the risk of fatality- the odds are quite low with one outdoor outlet reporting that the fatality rate for rock climbers is 145 per 1 million climbers.
Enthusiasts will have to become fully knowledgeable about how to use rock climbing devices such as rappels along with other gear and equipment to help them navigate the terrain. The sport is expected to bring new fans to the fold – especially with the introduction of indoor climbing at the 2020 Olympics.
For a list of must have rock climbing gear this inclusive guide offers budget conscious choices.
2/ Downhill Mountain Biking
Not for the faint of heart Downhill Mountain Biking offers the exhilaration of speed, ground, nature, velocity and transcendence.
Participating in the sport requires physical fitness and strength and the ability to negotiate loose tracks, sliding rocks and at times unpredictable terrain. Having said that- the cost of entry can be prohibitive with serious bikers often spending into the thousands acquiring a sturdy full suspension rig to help navigate the constant bouncing and careening.
The sport involves serious participants traveling across the US where a number of competitions are held year round. Making one’s way from event to event can be expensive, time consuming and a logistic maze – with bciworldwide services helping make competitors’ itinerary and transportation as seamless as possible.
Highlighted upcoming Downhill Mountain Biking events for 2019 include the renown Breck Epic at Breckenridge, Colorado on August 11-19. The event is billed as a ‘high altitude rider’s dream with riders competing over the course of six days through challenging back-country terrain, with stages averaging 50 miles apiece’.
Go here to see the upcoming US schedule for the remainder of 2019.
Despite sometimes sizable upfront investments the sport continues to attract the diehard and adrenaline junkies (does that sound like you?) with Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup champion, Rachel Atherton commenting, ‘It’s like nothing else on earth.’
Adding, ‘Once I’m out of the start gate, riding my bike through all those roots and rocks and drops, it becomes like a dance or a meditation.’
3/ Crossbow Hunting
With the advent of the Crossbow – a new breed of hunters and ‘weekend warriors’ have arisen. Unlike rifles, traditional bows, the Hunting Crossbow is engineered to shoot farther and harder according to one US manufacturer- tenpointcrossbows.
Where a skilled marksman can take game out at 80 yards- new technology in crossbows allows beginner hunters to participate with expanded ranges up to 500ft. Not surprisingly the crafted weapons which traditionalists say gives hunters an unfair advantage allows for bigger game.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws and recruitment to the sport is how little effort is needed in getting off a shot with a fluid easy-pull device ingrained with the crossbow. The advanced technology has allowed for what one hunting enthusiast describes as, ‘the newly arrived participation of small-framed women, children, elderly and disabled hunters’.
Getting off a winning shot is likely to remain contingent on user skill, patience, timing and strategy – and nerves of steel.
Irrespective of inclusion – debate persists as to whether wildlife commission or legislature legalize the use of crossbows during a state’s archery deer season, as hunting remains a controversial topic especially amongst animal rights advocates.
4/ Nordic skiing Winter Extreme Outdoor Sports
While Nordic skiing and cross country skiing are thought to be interchangeable terms – pundits point out Nordic skiing actually encompasses a wider degree of skiing disciplines. The main difference being Nordic involves a free-heel binding system, as opposed to the flat-foot bindings of alpine skis. Why does this matter you wonder?
That might depend on whether you – like a number of growing winter sports enthusiasts – revel traveling at quick speeds, often uphill (as opposed to traversing flat or downward inclines) all while drawing on every ounce of reserve energy.
The sport which offers a full body workout requires athletes in using both arms and legs as they cover unyielding territory often at speeds of 15-25 mph for protracted periods. Competing successfully often comes down to athlete’s individual strength and endurance and importantly their lung capacity.
Not that running up hills for two hours during the off months will become a required training staple. Too late- it already has.
Each year 2.4 million people are estimated to participate in cross country skiing of which 42% are women, of which 30.5% fall within the age range of 25-44.
And in case you were wondering, the sports fatality rate is 11 per 1 million Nordic skiers – a number far lower than the injury rate which is markedly higher at 30 per 1,000 skiing hours. Not that such statistics temper winter sports enthusiasts.
For a good selection of nordic skiing gear releases-go to OutsideOnline.com. As usual the editors actually make the effort to try the things they recommend.
5/ Ultra-running the Standard Barrier of Extreme Outdoor Sports
This is a sport reserved for individuals able to psychologically push past physical barriers most mortals would capitulate to.
Some of the toughest ultramarathons take more than 24 hours to complete, with seasoned competitors saying the key to finishing a race comes down to pace management, nutrition, hydration, along with maintaining your sanity while running for a full day and night.
‘The hard thing for me is that at any time, I can stop and call it,‘ explained Scott Jurek, seven-time winner of the Western States 100.
Training for an ultramarathon often requires hundreds of hours of running over the course of many months. According to one popular running journal conditioning and endurance is built adopting a varied schedule that challenges runners to run at their optimal pace while also learning how to rein in their tempo during longer stretches. Other measures include strength and conditioning exercises outside the road- such as box jumps, burpees, side planks, chin-ups, triceps dips and press-ups.
While the cost of participating in ultramarathons is relatively low relative to other outdoor outlays- serious runners will find themselves wanting to keep up on latest running footwear and accompanying running apparel along with new training ideas.
While the extreme endurance sport continues to draw increased participation, ultrarunners represent just over 0.5% of all runners, with organizers expected to curry more fanfare before the sport reaches 1.0%.
Despite there being over 150 100-mile races in North America, there were only 8,400 100-mile finishes in 2017 which is less than 10% of all ultras and only 0.05% of all road racers for 2016. That of course wont stop the overachiever proving to himself and others why they continue to be one of a kind.
Go here to find a list of upcoming ultra-running marathon events in your state.