Backcountry adventurer Alex Peterson speed riding on the south side of Mount Hood, Oregon
© Richard Hallman/DEEPOL by plainpictur
Ready. Set. Snow.
Far above the clouds, an adrenaline-seeking skier glides past the jagged Crater Rock on Oregon's Mount Hood. He's practicing a relatively young sport known as speed riding—similar to paragliding but with more emphasis on high velocity than altitude. Skiers with parachute-like 'wings' launch downslope at high speed, navigating runs partly on skis and partly in the air.
As Oregon's loftiest peak and with a year-round ski season, Mount Hood has long been a destination for pioneering winter sports enthusiasts, so a view of its snowy slopes seemed appropriate for World Snow Day. This annual celebration was initiated by the International Ski Federation in 2012 to promote sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and other frigidly fun athletics. Organizers also emphasize the health benefits and connection to nature that snow sports provide. With hundreds of wintry events slated worldwide, it's touted as 'the biggest day on snow all year.'