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Active Expert: Gale Bernhardt

1 Post tagged with the risky_behavior tag

I have so much stuff backlogged to write about. Where to start? I’ll start back a couple of weekends.


The weekend of 3/13-15 was Women’s Weekend at Winter Park, Colorado organized by my long-time pal (high school buddy and college roomie) Mari Bergstrom (Huyler). Mari and I went skate skiing at Devil’s Thumb on Friday while the rest of the gang drove up. On Saturday, seven of us went snowmobiling. I’ll post photos later this week.


It was the snowmobile adventure that got me thinking about “risky” behavior and why some people want to push the throttle to the handle of the machine to see how fast it will go on the flats. This was in spite of warnings from the rental place that some of the big meadows have under-snow rivers that are open in small areas and hard to see at high speeds. Hitting one of these can cause the rider to auger the nose of the machine into the river and send the rider flying into the air or smashing into the front of the snowmobile – usually breaking body and equipment. Other riders liked to explore through the trees on fresh snow, not always certain of what is under the snow. Some tried “high marking” or driving the snowmobile directly up a relatively steep slope, then arching a turn downhill (avoiding tipping the machine over to the downhill side, getting it into an multiple-count side roll) to get a free-falling feeling for a few moments. Of course some try to go higher on the steep hill than anyone else. (Hence “high marking”.) Still others were perfectly happy staying on hard-packed trails and riding at speeds that were fast enough to give them a rush.


Actual experience on the snowmobile is not always the predictor for who will try different risky moves. I also suspect that the ones that tried so-called risky moves didn’t view them as all that risky. Or, maybe they did.


It turns out that scientists have found that risky behavior is part of our gene pool. There is a great article in the April issue of Outside magazine (one of my favorite magazines) this month titled “This is your brain on adventure.” A scientist from the University of Denver says, “Risk taking was important for the species and the individual.” Well, for some individuals anyway.


They have a nifty online test so you can find out your risk score. I did notice two of the questions were the same. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not. While many people consider any high score a good score, recall that the annual Darwin Awards are given to “salute the improvement of the human genome by honoring those who accidently remove themselves from it.”


In the front of the magazine, is a key noting that 0-2  is a range for miniature golfers, while a score of 10 is for base jumpers.


I took the test twice and by answering the duplicate question different and going with a coin flip on another answer, I scored 8. I went back via another e-mail address (can’t take the test twice with the same ISP number) answering the duplicate question the same and taking the other answer on the coin flip question and scored a 9. I think the 8 is a more realistic evaluation for my riskiness.


You? What was your score?

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