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No Fear

Renowned outdoorsman Will Gadd on the six most extreme sports known to man


PARAGLIDING

SPORT MOST SUITED FOR: The guy who dreams more about flying than about sex.

TRAINING/STRENGTH REQUIRED: Not much. This is a perfect activity to try after a morning at the gym.

SCARE SCALE: Extreme. In a sport in which the ground is the limit, proper safety precautions are mandatory if you want to fly like an eagle. A very safe eagle.

DESTINATION: Point of the Mountain, Salt Lake City, Utah. The Point offers very reliable winds for soaring almost every day year-round, and pilots come from all over the world to take part in the experience. Hardcore gliders camp in the mountain's blowing dust, but there are plenty of chain hotels and food options all over the valley. Several of the best pilots in the U.S. own houses in the new subdivisions along the Point--it's that good. Many novice pilots come to the Point for two-week journeys to work on their skills and survey the Point scene; on good nights there can be up to 60 wings in the air, which has got to be pure torture for the inmates in the supermax prison down at the bottom of the hill.

WHERE TO LEARN: paragliders.com

BACKCOUNTRY SKIING

SPORT MOST SUITED FOR: Those who like a little pain before pleasure.

TRAINING/STRENGTH REQUIRED: Strong legs and stronger lungs.

SCARE SCALE: High. Like anything worthwhile, going steep and deep in the backcountry is seriously dangerous -- and addictive.

DESTINATION: Revelstoke, British Columbia. There are three main industries in the 'Stoke: logging, backcountry skiing, and marijuana cultivation. And somehow, all three fit together, making Revelstoke one of the coolest towns in North America for skiers. Rogers Pass is just up the road; international hell-ski guides and "snoweratti" from around the world all make pilgrimages to ski the epic snow. If you get tired of hiking your way up, there's plenty of "rotor crack," or hell-skiing, as well. If you haven't done much backcountry skiing, a guide is essential -- and many of the best in Canada make their homes in the area.

WHERE TO LEARN: acmgguides.com

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