Mayor seeks BASE jumping ban

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Norway is world famous as an extreme sports mecca, but the mayor of a renowned BASE jumping area has sought to literally take the wind out of adrenaline junkies’ sails. The Aurdal mayor wants the sport banned locally and national regulations to be drawn up after three men died BASE jumping in Gudvangen last autumn.

BASE jumping has been held at Gudvangen for 16 years as part of Ekstremsportveko, the world’s largest annual extreme sport and music festival based in Voss. Festival organizers applied to ferry 30 competitors by helicopter to jump points in Gudvangen during festival in late June. Mayor Noralv Distad leads both the Aurland council and Nærøyfjorden conservation board, which will decide the competition’s fate.

“The development of this sport in recent years has been negative,” Distad told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “There have been several accidents, and we are anxious about its development and very wary of increasing activity with BASE jumping and similar activities.”

Ekstremsportveko‘s Pernille Olafsen said a broken foot was the worst accident the BASE jumping event has seen in 16 years. “It’s a fantastic tradition which will be cancelled, and not least marketing for Voss and the western region, which would come to an end,” she said. “I understand they’re concerned, but I think a ‘no’ won’t stop BASE jumpers from doing their sport. I think it would be difficult to enforce a ban.”
Distad said he doesn’t want the sport promoted in Aurland, and noted the area can attract many tourists without marketing BASE jumping. He said recent deaths had major consequences for the environment and rescue workers. “It’s my view that there’s a need for the sport to be regulated to give a legal basis which means we can say no,” he said.
newsinenglish.no staff