Featured #HighFivesAthletes in “Five Critical Mistakes”
“Five Critical Mistakes” is a safety documentary produced by the High Fives Foundation highlighting the stories of five High Fives Athletes. Each chapter illustrates the importance of safety in the mountains and on the snow. Each story uses the lens of hindsight to teach about smart decision-making. Congratulations and High Five to the Featured High Fives Athletes, Eric Zerrenner, Lyndsay Slocumb, Jack Trottier, Jeff Andrews and Josh Dueck. Meet the athletes below!
When Eric Zerrenner stood at the top of a perfect groomer on a spring day, he never knew that run would change his life. Eric skied as he always did, fast, but always in control. But regardless of skill, one truth remains; with increased speed comes increased consequences. Eric’s choice to ski fast that day without properly assessing the conditions would result in a devastating crash with life-altering consequences.
Eric’s Critical Mistake was carrying too much speed without properly assessing the terrain and conditions at a slower speed first.
SHOOTING IN THE DARK
Lyndsay Slocumb was primed to be the next Lindsey Vonn. She was a very talented ski racer, making the podium at Junior Olympics. But all that changed the minute she entered the terrain park for the first time. Having no experience, Lyndsay skied the park the only way she knew how, with the speed of a ski racer. Her lack of knowledge and shooting in the dark would result in an accident that not only changed Lyndsay’s life forever, but that of her entire family.
Lyndsay’s Critical Mistake that day was entering the park without any prior experience or knowledge of how to ski that terrain safely.
DROPPING YOUR GUARD
There’s a reason most car accidents happen in your driveway, it’s easy to make mistakes when you let your guard down. Jack Trottier was a phenomenal athlete, plain and simple. Star quarterback of the football team, captain of the lacrosse team and a very competent snowboarder and instructor. He knew what he was doing out on the field and on the slopes. But everything changed when he and friends built a casual jump in their backyard. A jump that would forever change Jack’s life.
Jack’s Critical Mistake was letting his guard down in an environment that seemed non-threatening but had consequences every bit as real as the most risky places in the mountains.
KNOW YOUR LINE
“The only constant it change”. This is no place more true than in the mountains, where conditions can change day to day and hour to hour. Jeff Andrews was a great snowboarder and an experienced park rider. As he strapped in at the top of a jump line early one spring morning, he had no way of knowing that the conditions had changed from when he rode just days before. Jeff overshot the landing of the jump by what felt like a mile, resulting in a serious, life-altering crash.
Jeff’s Critical Mistake was not taking the time to know his line with an inspection lap which would have allowed him to accurately assess how conditions had changed and how he should have modified his riding to fit those conditions.
EGO VS INTUITION
Josh Dueck was a professional skier and freeride coach. He taught his students the fundamentals of safe park riding. But Josh wasn’t just the type of coach that yelled from the sidelines, he was the coach that was always skiing right alongside his students, leading by example. The day of Josh’s accident, he dropped into a jump cold and with all his students watching he felt the pressure to perform his signature front flip. As he approached the jump, everything in Josh screamed not to do it, but he silenced his intuition and went anyway. Josh overshot the jump, falling from close to 100 feet onto flat snow and instantly entered the world of spinal cord injury.
Josh’s critical mistake was not listening to his gut response intuition and letting his ego (and desire to impress his students and people watching) lead his decisions against his own better, deeper knowledge.