Ridge Dirksmeier: The art of risk-taking

Freshman+Ridge+Dirksmeier+is+focused+in+as+he+flies+high+on+his+skis%2C+looking+for+his+next+adrenaline-fueled+experience.

Courtesy photo

Freshman Ridge Dirksmeier is focused in as he flies high on his skis, looking for his next adrenaline-fueled experience.

Maya Petite, Reporter

When Ridge Dirksmeier arrived at Sierra Nevada University, he quickly gained the reputation as an adrenaline junkie. On the first day of school, the freshman left the beach with a few gashes to his face and chest, after a dive into shallow water.
However, this type of life is not new to Dirksmeier. He has been in the athletic scene for as long as he can remember. And he has fresh scrapes and scabs all over his arms from sports-related injuries to prove it.
“I’ve been playing soccer since I was in kindergarten, and I’ve been skiing since before I was even 2 years old,” the 18-year-old said.
His dad is the reason the Hailey, Idaho-native has always been out in the elements.
“My dad is basically the reason that I’m so into the outdoors; he loves doing all that stuff, and he passed it onto me,” Dirksmeier said.
A few weeks after the beach incident, Dirksmeier went cliff jumping with friends. Though he managed to make it out with no injuries, he explained that one of his jumps was a bit dicey.
“It wasn’t bad, but it was definitely a little close for comfort,” he said. “I like being in the air.”
And while Dirksmeier does enjoy the aspect of risk involved with what he does, there’s a deeper meaning behind it. He prefers living in the moment, with his close friends, especially in the outdoors.
“I guess you could say I just love being in that flow state where I’m just there in the moment and the only decision that matters is that next one that’ll set me up for the next one,” he said. “Whether it’s a turn or a paddle stroke or finding the right foothold, I just love being there and figuring out those puzzles.”
It’s not all about the sport for Dirksmeier; it’s also about the experience. He hopes more people can find joy and meaning in the outdoors as well.
“I think the outdoors play a huge role in human development,” he explained. “At the minimum, I hope everyone can go hiking in the mountains at some point. It may not be for everyone, but I do think it’s super important that everyone in their life gets to have a profound outdoor experience, because it does really help people grow.”
Not only can it be good for your personal health, Dirksmeier says, but it allows people to feel more connected to the Earth, appreciate what it has to offer, and do something to keep it healthy.
He said he would, “like to make some wakes in the environmental science world” since he is passionate about climate change.
“I know that our generation is gonna be the one to deal with all this climate [change]. [Being] around the woods won’t get me very far in the future if all those woods are burning down and there’s no more water to keep the trees going,” he said.
Dirksmeier is looking forward to his future endeavors, which involve his love for sports, his love for people, and his passion for the outdoors.
“My love for sports also is kinda the source for my passion for the climate,” he noted. “So as much as I’d love to be a pro skier, I think I’d also really like to contribute to creating a more sustainable future.”