Admin wrote: Why, therefore, does terrain challenge have anything to do with it? I have a hard time accepting that injury frequency increases with terrain difficulty.
Everyone's got his/her own personal comfort zone. I'm sure if I skied 50+ days a season, mine would get bigger. I can deal with steep, but due to physical equilibrium issues that I've never been able to solve, serious exposure makes me really uncomfortable. On two different occasions where I tried to ignore this fear -- once on the "Portal Trail" mtb ride in Moab and another while traversing on a knife's edge in the Lech sidecountry -- I came within inches of going over cliffs that I wouldn't have survived. Both times, as I was sliding out of control, I thought about that stupid cliche, "at least he died doing something he loved!" At those moments, I wished to hell that I had turned around, as it wasn't worth paying that kind of price.
Reminds me of eight years ago, when I was on a long-term freelance job for Marsh & McLennan in lower Manhattan. At one point, they told us that the entire office was being relocated to the 93rd through 100th floors of the World Trade Center. After going up to see if I could deal with being that high in the air eight or more hours a day, I told them no thanks. Everyone was like "what's the big deal? You'll get used to it!" I wasn't even concerned about terrorists; I just couldn't stand feeling the building sway during strong wind gusts. Thank god I listened to my inner coward, as we all know how that turned out.