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A Last Chair Conversation

I founded Sportgevity because I realized, as many of us do, that our sports are increasingly intermingling with the laws of physics and probability and these laws are reminding us of who is in charge. 

As we create more and more sophisticated safety gear, we get drawn further and further into that zone where physics and probability show their teeth. It is becoming increasingly evident that in many cases the risks athletes are taking are outweighing the equipment designed to protect them. While we would never suggest going out without essential protective gear such as a helmet, an avalanche beacon, or a probe, Sportgevity recognizes that our most powerful tool is our mind, particularly when we give it the ability to take in all types of information, extricate itself from the influences of culture, and make sound decisions.

One of Sportgevity’s goals is to foster a non-shame based culture of thought that survives because of its diversity of opinion and thrives because of the injection of all kinds of thoughts from all kinds of people. If you want any system to be successful, the last thing you aim for is unilateral and homogenous thinking that comes from just a few parties.

The true driving force for Sportgevity is to help lead younger generations towards a path of sustainability in how they approach their sports. All of our sports, especially action sports, have been skewed heavily in the direction of super high risk. In this cross section of time in history, high risk is how we define our sports. This has profound effects on how kids will approach their sports for the next several decades of their lives.

Through Sportgevity I want to show that for many of us, certainly not all of us, there is a whole other world where value is placed on having healthy joints, avoiding concussions, and from being able to live and do a sport over the span of a full lifetime. For me personally - I’m 43 years old -  some of my all time best days in the mountains have been in the last few years and I am so excited to see where skiing takes me in the next 40 years. Who wouldn’t want to shoot for an opportunity like skiing with your grandkids when you are 80 years old?

There has been a significant shift in our general culture towards health and well being and in action sports this is happening at a much more internal and personal level for people. Most people I know are putting a lot of thought into risk and how to keep themselves and their children alive and healthy. But that internal process comes face to face with some seriously powerful external forces. Partly market driven, these external forces continue to pull the global community further and further into the land of physics and probability. Through Sportgevity, we want to stimulate a counterbalancing effect which allows people to openly discuss what they are truly thinking on the inside. We want to help people gain an expertise in how to navigate these strong external forces. We want to help athletes gain an awareness of what it feels like to be tugged around by these forces, and to ultimately be able to make clear headed and independent decisions based on their own behalf.

If we do this right, we can find new avenues that satiate our primal need for exploration while still listening to our survival instinct. We can create a whole new breed of “expert” who places value on the extended journey in their sports, but also doesn’t fear to send it when the time is right.


- Originally published by Last Chair, a site that documents skiing adventures and explores a variety of interesting ski related topics.

Last Chair was created by Sam Cox, a Bozeman, Montana native, who is a graduate of Montana State University and currently works as a Smokejumper for the U.S. Forest Service. He has been featured in Powder Magazine and several films from Powderwhore Productions. He co-authored "Stepping Up", a guide book to Bridger Bowl's notorious terrain on the Ridge and has contributed content to many online projects. He enjoys skiing with friends, chasing storms and taking his yearly trip to ski the Alps. 


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