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Patrick Thorne

11 Oct 14

Natural Born Skiers

Patrick Thorne

11 Oct 14

A new study carried out by Manchester’s Chill Factore indoor real snow centre has identified, “in-built childhood fearlessness” as what makes youngsters so good at extreme sports.

Working with a top clinical psychologist, Dr Spelman, the Chill Factore’s research has identified children aged 10-years-old as the nation’s most natural skiers for whom risk seems to matter the least.

“Children can often be quite fearless because they don’t understand the concept of fear until they reach a certain stage of their life where nature and nurture takes force,” said Dr Spelman, “Until something scares them for the first time, they won’t understand what fear really is.”

Most kids experience or learn about fear for the first time when they reach secondary school aged 11, so until then, remain far more fearless than older children or adults.

“Until around 20 years of age, your brain hasn’t stopped developing, especially the part of your brain that assesses risks,” added Dr Spelman.

Biologically, age plays a huge part in the levels of fearlessness in humans too. The prefrontal cortex of the brain doesn’t fully mature until adulthood. And due to the lack of neurotransmitters, the brain isn’t fully equipped to inhibit inappropriate, fearless, responses and behaviours from children.

“The exhilaration of the ride is far more important to children than the fear of the risk,” said Chill Factore chief executive, Morwenna Angove, “Harnessing that fearlessness is really potent when it comes to excelling on the slopes and young kids have a real handle on it.”

Chill Factore offers child ski and snowboard lessons for all ability levels every weekend and, due to demand, also on many weekdays after school.  A number of Chill Factore sponsored riders have gone on to great things including representing Great Britain at the Winter Olympics.