Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel to Air Segment on Backcountry Skiing

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HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel just sent out a press release announcing the airing of a special segment on backcountry skiing tonight at 10 EST. In the clip above, extreme skier Tanner Hall talks about pushing the limits of the sport.

The synopsis of the segment, titled “Backcountry,” reads like so:

Skiers who conquer a slope routinely seek out a taller, faster and more challenging mountain. But some raise the stakes by taking on unchartered terrain in big-mountain backcountry skiing, where unforeseen cliff drops, unexpected turns and avalanches are among the risks. In this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated collaboration, correspondent Jon Frankel meets three backcountry enthusiasts who have risked life and limb skiing fresh-powder slopes, and asks why they find death-defying activity so enticing.

With the unstable snowpack in many areas of the country and some high-profile deaths this year, there has been increased media coverage of the sport. Outside covered the possibility of predicting avalanches after Jamie Pierre died in an avalanche in December, the rise of avalanche air bags as backcountry gear in February, and the misleading coverage of fatalities in March. Other bigger media outlets, like Rock Center with Brian Williams, covered the dangers met by extreme skiers from Squaw Valley, from Shane McConkey's death in skiBASE to Kip Garr's death in an avalanche, in a segment called “The Death Zone.” It will be interesting to see whether, and how, Real Sports separates the extreme pursuits of athletes like Tanner Hall, who pushes the limits on remote steeps, from the weekend pursuits of sidecountry and backcountry skiers who are out chasing a day of powder. 

Hat Tip: Sam Bass, Skiing Magazine

–Joe Spring

Additional airings:

Now in its 18th season, REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL presents more enterprising features and reporting when its 181st edition, available in HDTV, debuts TUESDAY, APRIL 17 (10:00 p.m. ET/PT & 9:00 p.m. CT), exclusively on HBO.

            Other HBO playdates: April 17 (2:10 a.m.), 20 (1:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m.), 22 (9:45 a.m.), 26 (5:00 p.m., 12:30 a.m.), 28 (11:00 a.m.) and 30 (9:30 a.m., 6:30 p.m.)

            HBO2 playdates: April 18 (9:30 p.m., 4:15 a.m.), 24 (10:55 a.m., midnight) and 27 (8:00 a.m.), and May 1 (7:00 p.m., 2:30 a.m.), 4 (7:55 a.m., 3:30 p.m.), 6 (noon) and 12 (9:00 a.m.)

            HBO On Demand availability: April 23-May 14

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