The extreme category of sports is a controversial one. Scholars, athletes, and others invested in this topic have different opinions on a definition that best labels these unconventional sports. For instance, Brymer and Schweitzer (2013) state that extreme sports are “independent leisure activities where the most likely outcome of a mismanaged mistake or accident is death.” Alternatively, others argue that the term “action sport” is a better term and use a broader definition. We chose the label “extreme sports” because of the prevalence of this term and because of how these sports, and therefore the Adirondacks, are perceived. The term “extreme sports” is often used by the media for the purpose of grabbing headlines, creating a consistent narrative about what crazy things people do in the Adirondacks.
We define these sports in two types of categories. For our first category of extreme sports we focused on “adrenaline rushes”. These sports sets the stakes for error at an existential level – a mistake in all of the sports we cover could result in fatality. (We agree with Brymer and Schweitzer (2013) but also take the media’s understanding into account). Our second category is endurance, which includes activities which are very long and very difficult. Activities which would be out of an average athlete’s wheelhouse. Activities that, by definition, push their participants to mental and physical limits. These activities are important to the Adirondacks because they represent a significant portion of the narrative coming outside the region, from within. Between the actual adrenaline junkies, the sufferfest enthusiasts, and the media calling it all “extreme,” a very specific narrative of the Adirondacks is written, and they become a place of recreation, wilderness, and self-discovery.
Interactive Map of Extreme Sports in the Adirondacks:
Click on each red pin to learn more!