We at the Loppet Foundation are always striving to run our programs as safely as possible.
But Loppet Foundation activities are not without risk. Activities like biking, mountain biking, roller-skiing, cross country skiing, paddling and even running, trail running, orienteering and capture-the-flag, come with risks. One of the things that makes outdoor activity fun is that it is unpredictable. But unpredictable means that all of these outdoor activities can be dangerous. During camps or training sessions, athletes can fall in a variety of circumstances. Injuries can range from abrasions, sprains, strains, and occasionally more serious injuries like concussions or even a broken bone.
But we at the Loppet Foundation believe that the rewards of being outside and active outweigh the risks. (See e.g., Turning the Tide, Reconnecting Kids to Nature). More broadly, we believe strongly that for many people there is actually more risk in not participating then there is in participating. Almost all outdoor active sports come with some risk. For many people activities without some element of risk are not captivating and thus, we believe, not sustainable. Our fear is that those who do not learn to love outdoor activity run the risk of a sedentary lifestyle, which can mean obesity, diabetes and a host of chronic, debilitating diseases and an impaired quality of life.
In our calculus, it is better to take the risk of injury that comes with outdoor activities – especially when those risks are managed in a group learning environment – rather than run the significant risk of not learning to enjoy the outdoors . . . We want each participant and/or their parents to understand and recognize the inherent risks, hence this discussion. Each participant and/or their parent or guardian needs to understand that outdoor active sports come with some risk and occasionally there are going to be incidents. We just want to give families an opportunity to think about the risk themselves and avoid having people surprised when injuries do occasionally occur.
For some, almost any risk is unacceptable. For people like this we would suggest volunteering or engaging in some of the more mild Loppet activities – like the occasional nature hike, the Luminary Loppet or the Waffle Loppet.