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2013 P H O T O ANNUAL

JANUARY 2013

SKIER: SEAN JORDAN PHOTO: NATE ABBOTT_PBP LOCATION: WESTMINSTER, CO

DISPLAY UNTIL: JANUARY 08, 2013


In the subzero temperature of Alaska, The North Face athlete Tom Wallisch is towed up a staircase and over a railing at 45mph. This is Tom pushing the progression of the sport. The North Face collaborates with the world’s most progressive skiers to create, test and refine the gear that protects them in brutal weather and harsh terrain. SEE THE KIT TOM HELPED BUILD @ THENORTHFACE.COM/WALLISCH


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CON TENTS

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P.

ABOUT THE COVER P. 032 PROFILE THOMAS KRIEF P. 036

HOW TO BUY AVALANCHE GEAR P. 038 DESTINATION ASPEN HIGHLANDS P. 040

HOW TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER P. 052 HISTORY 86

P.

WIRE 096

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HEAD GAME P. 046

JIBARDY 098

P.

PG. 008

[ CONTENTS |

| FREESKIER ]

Vive la Candide! The French skier returns to the spotlight and opens up about his movie, his life and his future (including a possible Olympic run). PHOTO ANNUAL P. 063 Freeskiing’s paparazzi hung around all the hottest spots in the mountains and caught the biggest stars in their natural state—ripping.

SKIER: NIKLAS ERIKSSON PHOTO: ERIK SEO_LEVEL 1 LOCATION: SUN VALLEY, ID

FINAL THOUGHT P. 100

CANDIDE THOVEX 054

P.


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EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR SENIOR EDITOR

Matt Harvey Shay Williams Nate Abbott

ART DIRECTOR

Chris Hotz

ONLINE EDITOR

Henrik Lampert

GEAR EDITOR EDITOR-AT-LARGE SENIOR WRITER COPY EDITOR SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

Damian Quigley Christopher Jerard Tess Weaver Alison Larson Bryn Hughes, Chris O’Connell

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Hamish Baxter, Alessandro Belluscio, Adam Clark, Aaron Dodds, Greg Von Doersten, Mark Fisher, Spencer Francey, Louis Garnier, Pally Learmond, Alex O’Brien, Matt Pain, Matt Power, Bryan Ralph, Tero Repo, Erik Seo, Christoffer SjÜstrÜm, Jeremy Swanson, Daniel Tengs CONTRIBUTING WRITERS FOUNDER & CEO ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER SR. ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE FINANCE DIRECTOR ADMINISTRATION & AR SPECIALIST PRODUCTION COORDINATOR

Liam Downey Bradford Fayfield Greg Wright Jason Smith, Nicole Birkhold Zach Berman Andrew Fuhrer Erin Gunther Mattie Girard

THIS ISSUE WAS MADE POSSIBLE WITH THE HELP OF First jib edits of the year. Not Hurricane Sandy. Bodegas. Iron Chef Morimoto. Big air scaffolding. Few Words. The LES. The Mighty MidWest. San Diego. The new Portland Trailblazers. The UWS. Canon Powershot G12. Boston Mills & Brandywine. Beanie Milne Home. True Romance. Not US Airways. Monday Night Football. New Yorkers. The Cramps. Opening days around the world. Voting. Umbrellas. Pumpkins. Hot dogs. Archers of Loaf. Mustaches. Not the NHL lockout. Pomegranate mimosas. Willis McGahee. SUBSCRIPTION REQUESTS AND QUESTIONS: Please send all questions, requests and concerns to Freeskier Magazine at PO Box 469024, Escondido, CA 92046, call tollfree 1-866-916-6889 or visit www.freeskier.com/subscribe CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Address changes should be sent along with a copy of your mailing label to PO Box 469024, Escondido, CA 92046, or call toll-free 1-866-916-6889 or visit www.freeskier.com/subscribe with your mailing label available. EDITORIAL: Please contact: editor@freeskier.com ADVERTISING: For advertising information, please contact Greg Wright, Storm Mountain Publishing Company, PO Box 789, Niwot, CO 80544-0789. TO CARRY IN YOUR STORE: Please call (303) 834-9775 and ask for the Circulation Department. Copyright Š2012 Freeskier magazine (ISSN 1522-1527). Freeskier is published by Storm Mountain Publishing Company. All rights reserved. The content of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express consent of the publisher. Printed in the USA. Freeskier is a trademark of Storm Mountain Publishing Company. Freeskier is published six times a year: Buyer’s Guide, October, November, December, January and February by Storm Mountain Publishing Company, PO Box 789, Niwot, CO 80544-0789. Subscription rates are $9.95 for one year (6 issues). In Canada, $29.95 (includes 7% GST); other foreign $39.95 payable in U.S. funds. Periodicals postage paid at Niwot, CO and additional mailing offices (USPS# 024094). FREESKIER MAGAZINE Storm Mountain Publishing Company *"ĂŠ ÂœĂ?ÊÇn™ÊUĂŠÂŁĂŽĂ‡ĂŠĂ“Â˜`ĂŠĂ›iÂ˜Ă•iĂŠ ÂˆĂœÂœĂŒ]ĂŠ "ĂŠnäx{{ *Â…\Ê­ÎäΎÊnĂŽ{‡™ÇÇxĂŠUĂŠ>Ă?\Ê­ÎäΎÊnĂŽ{‡™n{Ăˆ freeskier.com

< E : R M H G  O B E :  > @ ; + W W W . E L E C T R I C V I S U A L . C O M CALIFORNIA

DESIGN. INTERNATIONALLY

TESTED


Certainly a gut feeling comes into play as the prints are shuffled to the wall or to a pile that won’t be printed on the pages of Freeskier. More than the “you’ll know it when you see it” judgment of a great photograph though, the choice comes down to vital details: the position of a grab, an inter-

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esting juxtaposition of shadow and light, full commitment to a turn, a frame packed with details, or supreme skill in a dangerous place. “You should take some pictures with me.” I’ve heard that hundreds of times from skiers—my best friends and complete strangers alike. My friends ski better than most, but they don’t ski like pro skiers. Most pro skiers don’t even ski like the best pro skiers. And the best pro skiers, well, some of them ski better than others. I don’t say that to diminish any skier, because the lines between good, great and beyond are laser thin. The aim is rather to celebrate the unbelievable. Year after year, Candide Thovex has done the unbelievable. It started with hitting the

[ SPIN |

unhittable Chad’s gap and countless other jumps as big or bigger than the imagination. Then there were self-produced movies in a rambling super-8, wandering-eye style. Sometimes, unfortunately, he disappeared or suffered a terrible injury. He returned to the ski spotlight by releasing short videos that seriously teased us. He won the X Games—halfpipe, slopestyle and big air—and then the Freeride World Tour. But the most extraordinary piece of his career may be that, at least in North America, we still barely know who Candide is. As he releases his new movie project, we try to remedy that with an in-depth interview that begins on page 54. The difference between the photos that stay on the table in our office and the ones you see on these pages also skirt

| FREESKIER ]

a laserlike line. The images left unpublished would still make an amazing magazine. But when skiers and photographers step over that line, it is a special thing. That’s why Candide and the Photo Annual (beginning on page 63) share this issue—both are parts of skiing that are beyond the fine line of simple words like “good” or even “great.” As Candide has inspired a generation of skiers, these photographs can push our imagination and actions to go further and be greater, as skiers and as artists. Nate Abbott Senior Editor

SKIER: CHRIS LOGAN PHOTO: BRYN HUGHES_LEVEL 1 LOCATION: COAST MOUNTAINS, BC

The conference table is covered in photographs printed on a color printer not fit for images as great as these. They looked good on the computer screen as I sorted through over 25,000 submitted photos. They look okay on office paper, and surely they will look great printed in the magazine. The problem now is that from the table and a magnetic wall next to it, over a hundred images stare back at me, while only about 30 will fit in this magazine.


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ABOUT THE

COVER

SEAN JORDAN

SCHOOL FOR & THE WAYWARD BOYS

LOCATION:

BELLEVIEW CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, WESTMINSTER, CO PHOTOS & WORDS:

NATE ABBOTT_PBP Almost any published photo involves a group of people working together from start to finish. In this case, the seed was Poor Boyz Productions filmer Pete Alport, who was fired up to take advantage of a solid storm cycle that covered Colorado’s front range with good snow for the last few weeks of January 2012. Matt Walker and Sean Jordan had been in the vicinity filming with Stept Productions for days already, but when Pete showed up in Boulder with Karl Fostvedt and Leigh Powis in tow, the work just kept going. A previous day’s scouting mission led us to a promising jump on the grounds of a religious school between Denver and Boulder. Pete led the charge, trying to get permission from the school staff to build a jump off the roof of a barn. “I had to talk to quite a few people. The head priest showed up, then the caretaker and then the principal,” says Pete. “I asked if we could do it and he said yeah, ‘Would you be willing to make a donation to the church?’” Three hundred dollars later, we were unloading skis, shovels and a winch. “We had a big debate about where the landing should be, close or far,” recalls Sean. “We finally met halfway and put it in the middle.” But after Karl walked away unscathed from a first-try overshoot, everyone knew they could focus on the their tricks, rather than a tough landing. The oversized crew worked in teams of two. While Sean and Karl hit the jump, Walker and Leigh fixed up the landing and ran the winch. After a few tries, they would switch roles. “It was just super efficient,” says Pete. “Everyone wanted everybody to get something good because it was so fun and so mellow. Having permission allows you to have that flow and focus on getting the job done.” Aspects of a feature—airtime, colorful walls, and beautiful light—that attract a photographer or filmer may not be best for the skiers. I mean, how many skiers have practiced hitting a short transition, short landing, mega-poppy jump off of a shingle roof as the light is fading? “It was a short in run and the winch got you going really fast,” says Sean with a laugh. “It was quick on your knees and, because of where the landing was, you couldn’t pop as hard as you wanted. It was a weird setup but once you figured it out it was consistent and really fun.” Everyone got at least one shot for the movie and special mention should be made of Walker’s huge extra effort to grab some late sunset still shots. But what was the one shot that put Sean Jordan the cover? “When I first saw the feature two tricks came to mind and both of them ended up working out really well,” he says. “A rodeo five with a safety and a right five blunt.” Before I told Pete that any shot from the evening was on the cover, I asked what trick stood out to him. “Sean’s right five… actually, his rodeo five,” was the response as he thought aloud before coming to a decision. “That was the best. He just boned it out and he was fully going to stomp and make it look the best he could right from the start of the in run until he landed it.”

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[ ABOUT THE COVER |

| FREESKIER ]


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PHOTOS: LOUIS GARNIER LOCATION: VAL D’ISERE, FRANCE

HOW DID YOU GET INTO FREESKIING? SKI CULTURE IS HUGE IN FRANCE, BUT WHAT SPECIFICALLY BROUGHT YOU INTO THE PIPE? I was way more into slopestyle until I was 14 and then I got into pipe when I heard that it would probably become an Olympic sport. When I started to get better at pipe it became like a drug for me. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON PIPE AND SLOPE IN THE OLYMPICS? I think it’s really good for our sport. It’s getting bigger and bigger and that’s what I was hoping for when I started. Some people are not really optimistic about it and think that it will change the sport in a bad way but my point of view this: The evolution of the sport is based on what the skiers do, not the people around it. We have the keys to the evolution in our hands, we just need to use it in the right way. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT’LL BE LIKE TO REPRESENT YOUR COUNTRY IN THE WINTER GAMES? I have absolutely no idea! I am pretty curious to see how it’s going to be, though.

AGE: 19 HOMETOWN: ALPE D’HUEZ, FRANCE SPONSORS: QUIKSILVER, SALOMON, SFR, CAISSE D’EPARGNE, ALPE D’HUEZ RESULTS: 2ND, 2012 EUROPEAN X GAMES SUPERPIPE, TIGNES, FRANCE

INTERVIEW: SHAY WILLIAMS

THOMAS

K R I E F Thomas Krief, or Toto, is next in the illustrious line of French pipe skiers. He’s the latest Frenchman to take home X Games hardware, but don’t think of him as a flash in the pan. Toto has steadily been plying his trade, lurking PG. 036

2ND, 2012 AFP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SUPERPIPE, WHISTLER, BC 2ND, 2012 WORLD CUP HALFPIPE, CARDRONA, NEW ZEALAND 3RD, 2012 AFP MEN’S HALFPIPE WORLD RANKINGS

under the radar, grabbing top five finish after top five finish. Consistency and steady progression aren’t always the sexiest traits in pipe skiing, but in a discipline where so much attention is put on February 2014, they might just be the most valuable. WITH SUCH A LONG LINE OF FRENCH SKIERS BEFORE YOU, IS IT HARD TO GET NOTICED IN THE FRENCH SCENE? I don’t think so. We [ PROFILES |

all have a different story. Besides, even if we are all at the same level now, if you’re the best, you’ll get noticed anyway! HOW DOES IT FEEL COMPETING BEFORE A HUGE HOMETOWN CROWD AT EUROPEAN X GAMES? It’s pretty hard to describe that feeling. It’s amazing to compete in front of your home crowd but there is also a lot of pressure when you’re the favorite. If you do well with that pressure it’s probably one of the best feelings. | FREESKIER ]

HOW DO YOU THINK THAT WILL AFFECT THIS SEASON? WILL PEOPLE BE MORE CONSERVATIVE SO THEY DON’T INJURE THEMSELVES? WILL IT STUNT PROGRESSION? I don’t know about the others. On my side, it will not affect my skiing at all this season. I want to be the best, that’s it. The only changes are in training. I used to train only for the upcoming season and not think about the season after. I had to change that because I realized that I had a lot to do for the Olympics and that I needed more than a summer to be ready. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR GOALS FOR THIS UPCOMING SEASON… OTHER THAN DOING WELL IN CONTESTS? Being ready for the Olympics, that’s my other goal. Next year at the same period, I want to know that I’m ready and for that I’m going to need to train all season, not just in the summer. WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT BEING A HALFPIPE SKIER NOW THAT THE LEVEL IS SO HIGH? I think the hardest part is to be creative. A lot has been done already, but we need to find new stuff to do and make the sport evolve in the right direction. As I said: The keys to the evolution are in our hands!


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WORDS: DAMIAN QUIGLEY

SKIERS EVERYWHERE ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF INCREASED ACCESS TO VENTURE FURTHER INTO CHALLENGING, UNCONTROLLED AVALANCHE TERRAIN. WITH THIS OPPORTUNITY FOR STEEP, FRESH SNOW COMES THE NEED FOR ADVANCED AND RELIABLE AVALANCHE GEAR. IF YOU’RE A FIRST-TIME SHOPPER IN THIS CATEGORY, IT CAN BE A BIT CONFUSING, BUT WE’RE HERE TO HELP. IN THIS MONTH’S HOW TO BUY, WE BREAK DOWN SOME OF THE BASICS AND GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT TO LOOK FOR. THE THREE MOST ESSENTIAL PIECES OF AVALANCHE GEAR ARE A TRANSCEIVER (ALSO KNOWN AS A BEACON), SHOVEL AND PROBE. IF YOU TRAVEL INTO THE BACKCOUNTRY WITHOUT THESE, YOU ARE NOT ONLY PUTTING YOURSELF IN DANGER BUT ALSO THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU. BEACONS HAVE THE MOST EXTENSIVE FEATURES, SO WE’LL START THERE.

BEACONS A beacon is a radio unit that transmits and receives a standardized signal to communicate range and direction to or from other beacons within range. While different brands compete based on features, they all adhere to the international standard of transmitting at a frequency of 457 kilohertz. This ensures that no matter what type of beacon you have, it will be compatible with all others in search and rescue modes. The signals emitted by beacons travel along curved paths called flux lines. “Transmitting beacons create an electromagnetic field similar to the one that we follow with a compass to navigate around the earth,” says Bruce Edgerly of Backcountry Access (BCA). “There are two poles and an apple-shaped field that leads from one pole to the other. With a digital beacon, the lights will lead you along the flux lines to the transmitting beacon’s antenna, which corresponds to the core of the apple.”

ANTENNAS

Beacons started out using analog technology, meaning they would work on a single antenna with no digital display. They would amplify the “beep” of a transmitting beacon and require the operator to judge the volume of the tone to determine where the signal was coming from. Lucky for us, digital beacons now use multiple receiving antennas and process the incoming data with microprocessors to display those computations as directional arrows and numeric distance readings. When you search for a buried friend, or when your friend looks for you, the more antennas the better. This is particularly true as you get closer to the victim. The complicated flux-line patterns can sometimes produce false readings known as “spikes” or “nulls” within a range of about three meters. A third antenna is very useful in analyzing these patterns to eliminate faulty readings. One common misunderstanding is how many antennas a beacon transmits or sends a signal on. No matter how many the beacon has, it will always transmit on one antenna. The orientation of this antenna has a large effect on the range of transmission. “Signal strength along the flux line is strongest when the receiving antenna is parallel to the sending antenna,” says Todd Walton, spokesperson for Ortovox. “Given these variables, it is best to assume that the range of your beacon is significantly less than the maximum range stated by the manufacturer.” These ranges are based

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on ideal conditions and being buried in an avalanche will hardly leave you in an ideal state. While most beacons transmit on a predetermined antenna, Ortovox has recently introduced beacons with Smart Antenna Technology, which can transmit on whichever antenna is most beneficial to the scenario. Similar to the technology in an iPhone that determines which way the display reads, the transceiver assesses the orientation in which it’s buried and transmits through the antenna that will provide the longest range. This is a tremendous advantage when time is so critical.

FUNCTIONS

Before setting out to buy yourself a beacon, consider what functions you’ll need. If you don’t have much previous experience, ease of use is the most important factor. Some of the higher end models come with a lot of built-in features that are great for guides, patrollers and other experienced users but can be confusing for the less experienced. “You want your beacon to do two things: transmit and receive,” says Edgerly, “and you want it to do those things very well. The more you ask it to do, the more compromises you’ll get when it matters most. Simplicity, speed and ease of use are king.” This is what has made the Tracker DTS and Tracker2 from BCA such high-selling models—they’re very simple and intuitive. Most beacons will give you a distance reading and directional arrows that all work and display in a similar manner. Play with a few to see if you prefer one over another and look for beacons that automatically revert to transmit mode after a period of inactivity. This safety feature takes into account the fact that a second slide could happen while a search is being conducted. If you’re comfortable with the basic use of a transceiver, a “flagging” function for multiple burials is another feature to consider. In the rare instance that you will have to use your beacon, it’s even more unlikely that a multiple burial will occur, but it does happen. This function can be tricky, so frequent practice of multiple burial scenarios is a must for success under the immense stress of a real incident. If you do find that you need more features, check out the Ortovox S1+ or the Pulse Barryvox from Mammut.

[ HOW TO |

| FREESKIER ]

SHOVELS AND PROBES Shovels and probes are basic instruments for the most part, but there are still variations to consider. “Mainly ease of deployment and strength,” says Walton. When an avalanche comes to a halt, the snow sets up like cement and you need tools that will stand up to that. Traveling with light and compact gear is nice, but there’s no excuse for skiing around with a plastic soup spoon for a shovel. Look for shovel blade and handle combos that deploy efficiently and always opt for a metal blade that can move solid chunks of snow and ice. “Also consider an oval or asymmetric shaft, as these are stronger on the prying axis,” adds Edgerly, “which is where most shovels fail.” When looking for a probe, make sure it deploys quickly and locks securely once put together. Look for graduated measurements printed on the shaft and consider what size is right for you. Most recreational skiers will use a probe that’s between 240 and 270 centimeters, but it doesn’t hurt to go longer. An extra segment or two won’t add much weight and can be important if you live somewhere with a snowpack that tends to be deeper—such as coastal regions. No matter where you’re skiing, you’re hoping the snow is deep, so you might as well plan accordingly.

EDUCATION AND PRACTICE Of course it would be irresponsible to talk about avalanche gear without mentioning education. You can have all the best gear in the world, but it will do you no good if you don’t know what you’re doing. Practice using your beacon with your ski partners. Make a game out of it in your backyard or use one of the many beacon parks set up at resorts around the country. Also practice deploying your probe and digging with your shovel. Down time while you wait for that one friend who’s always late is perfect. Additionally, take an Avalanche I course. Gain the necessary knowledge and pay attention to the snowpack and avalanche bulletins starting with the first snowfall of the year. This awareness, combined with good decision making and the right gear should result in many more safe laps of virgin powder.


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ASPEN HIGHLANDS

The soul of Aspen keeps things weird. WORDS: TESS WEAVER

The history of Aspen Highlands would make for a terrific film plot. It would star an eccentric Aspen resident, a California billionaire, a Chicago billionaire, a Texas millionaire, Harvard University and the Supreme Court. The story goes something like this. In the ’50s, Aspen resident Whip Jones took a 30year lease on 4,200 acres of national forest land at the base of Highland Peak and decided to develop a ski area. He hired Dick Durrance to do a feasibility study and Stein Erickson to run the ski school. When the area opened in 1958, it had three lifts, including the world’s longest single-section double chairlift, and boasted the longest vertical in the state. Highlands soon became known as the affordable, laid-back ski area in Aspen. PG. 040

Throughout the years, Jones remained at odds with Aspen Skiing Company (ASC), which owned and operated the three other local ski areas, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Snowmass. In 1979, when neither company could agree on how to sell a multi-mountain pass, Jones filed a restraint-of-trade suit against ASC. The case made it to the US Supreme Court and in 1985, Jones won an $11.4 million judgment. Meanwhile, in 1981, as part of his purchase of 20th Century Fox for $725 million, Los Angeles oil billionaire and notorious Hollywood entertainer Marvin Davis acquired ASC. Four years later, Chicago’s Crown family purchased 50 percent of the company. In 1992, after the longest continuous ownership of any ski area in Colorado, Jones donated Highlands to his alma mater, Harvard University, which then sold it to Houston-based developer Gerald Hines. Hines developed the base area and handed over operations to Aspen Skiing Company. Finally, in 1993, the Crowns purchased Davis’ remaining 50 percent share of ASC, giving the family complete ownership of the operation. But the history of its ownership only tells a frac[ DESTINATION |

| FREESKIER ]

tion of the story. The spirit of Highlands has been shaped by a long list of passionate locals, devoted patrollers and fun-loving characters. Despite the changing management and growing pains, the freak flag still flies. Ultimately, the mountain itself has emerged the unflappable victor. Aspen Highlands straddles a long ridgeline between the Castle Creek and Maroon Creek valleys, ten minutes down valley from Aspen. From the lift-served summit, a single intermediate trail runs the length of the ridge, the off-piste steeps dropping off either side toward the valleys below. Wide groomers roll through thick lodgepole pines from midmountain to the lower slopes, with tight chutes and steep glades hidden on every aspect. Even the lower mountain offers some steep surprises, like the last-minute Thunder Bowl right above the base. The area’s biggest draw is the 12,392-foot-high Highland Bowl. Requiring a 45-minute ridge hike, the bowl seems far more sidecountry than in-bounds. The hike awards a 1,500 vertical foot run with either wide open, sustained pitches littered with big-mountain features or steep, adventurous tree lines. Line up early on a powder day, hike fast and you’ll experience a run that rivals any heli drop.


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Generally, the best snow lies in the north-facing G zones (“G” corresponds to green ski wax, for the coldest snow). The B zones (blue wax) face east and descend down the center of the bowl. The south-facing Y zones (yellow wax) are the steepest, with slopes as steep as 48 degrees. The bowl also offers access to steep and highly avalanche-prone out of bounds terrain on both sides of the ridge. Though it seems a defining part of its character, the bowl wasn’t completely opened until 2002. Its history begins in the ’60s, when mountaineers first climbed the ridge and skied the bowl. In 1969, the Highlands patrol started offering paid tours of the bowl. Mac Smith, 60, director of the Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol since 1979, first skied the bowl when he joined the patrol in 1973. “I skied in the trees—probably G4—and it’s burned in my memory,” he says. “We were sinking really deep, but you could still really crank turns because there was so much pitch to it. I remember thinking, ‘This place is really special.’” The bowl was off limits in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and Smith, a former renegade himself, was told to pull passes and arrest bowl poachers. In 1984, patrollers Tom Snyder, Craig Soddy and Chris PG. 042

Kessler set off to prepare Highland Bowl for a statewide ski patrol party and a powder 8 competition. While they were testing stability, they were caught in a 1,000-foot-wide avalanche that swept them 1,800 feet to their deaths. Following the tragedy, Highland Bowl closed to the public. In 1993, in light of new ownership, Smith and snow study supervisor OJ Melahn presented a proposal to study the bowl and install computerized weather stations. In the season of 1995, the bowl opened to the public. “As kids, we always used to look longingly up at the untouchable, permanently closed area known as Highland Bowl,” says Lorenzo Semple, a longtime local and Highlands regular who obsesses about skiing 100 bowl laps per season. “There was always something daunting and forbidden about it. When it finally opened for skiing, it was almost as if us local ski die-hards were presented with a lifetime achievement award.”

whole thing, but if you have enough want, you can make it happen. Patrol put up a Herculean effort, but eventually we needed other people.” And so Highlands’ infamous bootpacking program was born, where locals can work hiking up and down the bowl for 15 days at the beginning of the season in exchange for a season pass. “The community understands what we have to go through,” says Smith. “They are servants to the bowl. I don’t think a lot of other ski areas get that cooperation from the locals. It’s such a blessing to have that kind of a relationship, that kind of camaraderie.”

The patrol quickly learned what needed to be done to keep the bowl stable.

For the next decade, more and more terrain was opened up. But it wasn’t until 2001 that Highland Bowl opened all the way to its 12,302-foot summit. On December 14, 2002, the entire bowl opened, from the south to the north face, doubling its available terrain. The next milestone was set in 2005, when the Deep Temerity lift opened. It eliminated the long traverse out of Highland Bowl, allowed for fall-line laps and added 180 acres of new steeps.

“If we compacted the base layer and mixed in every layer that came down after that, it was a recipe for keeping the deep slab from failing,” says Smith. “People told us we couldn’t physically pack the

On top of its rich history and legitimate terrain, what really sets Highlands apart is its authentic culture of fun. Anyone who’s attended the mountain’s notorious closing-day party can attest.

[ DESTINATION |

| FREESKIER ]


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Smith says it started when Jones brought in Swiss ski legend Fred Iselin to co-direct the ski school. He was known as an entertainer and elevated Aspen’s après-ski from famous to legendary.

a young patrol. Our average age was probably in the late 20s. We jumped over the deck on Cloud Nine, we had resources to have great parties. We even had a time-share on a houseboat.”

“He was all about fun,” says Smith. “He sold fun. That culture continued to grow while we were under Whip’s ownership. A lot of it was having

The fun continued throughout the decades, from the liftie-made chocolate chip cookies in line to hosting some of the first freestyle and big-air events

to the storied wine and cheese parties to the dance parties at Cloud Nine, the midmountain bistro. “Aspen Highlands is a microcosm of our old ski town,” says Semple. “It’s the keeper of the sacred funk vault, the old anything-goes, renegade spirit of Aspen.”


THEORIES ON WHY SOME SKIERS CAN RISK IT ALL

WORDS: TESS WEAVER

Mike Wilson is known for throwing backflips off massive cliffs during both winter and summer. In 2004, Wilson introduced freeskiing’s first off-axis double-flipping rotation—the Wilsonflip. His spinning doubles and triples off a mega rope swing he built over the Truckee River garnered You might think Wilson is crazy. You might think he’s fearless. Why is he willing to put it all on the line? According to many psychologists, Wilson is a sensation seeker. Theories point to a pathological personality trait or a dopamine deficiency. Most research into the psychology of action sports has lumped participation in such sports with risky behaviors such as drug use. But Wilson doesn’t fit the mold of the self-destructive thrill seeker. He is a highly trained individual. He’s been honing his skills for most of his life. Wilson has been a gymnast since he was a toddler. He was jumping his BMX bike into his own foam pit in the backyard at age 10. From ages 11 to 15, he spent four to five hours a day on the trampoline practicing tricks. He’s spent thousands of hours on skis, diving boards, trampolines, water ramps, rollerblades, cliffs, rope swings and zip lines. Wilson also meticulously plans and prepares to minimize his risk. He measures distances with a 300foot tape measure and a rangefinder, he uses a GPS to drop waypoints and measure the distances, and he uses a radar gun and an accelerometer to calculate speeds. To pull off the zipline BASE project, he worked for two months on calculations. Wilson always asks himself, “What can go wrong?” He only moves forward once he’s thought everything through and ensured there’s a safe way out in every scenario. “Once you’ve minimized risk, there’s no reason for fear,” says Wilson.

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half a million views on YouTube last summer, prompting the police to take the swing down. Last winter, he built the world’s biggest zip line by running 5,000 feet of cable 3,300 feet high across a canyon between two mountains. He zipped to the middle and BASE jumped off.

That doesn’t ring true for most skiers. It might be that Wilson’s brain has fewer dopamine-inhibiting receptors, and therefore, when he takes risks, his brain isn’t able to inhibit the neurotransmitter adequately and it’s flooded with the feel-good chemical. He’s probably hyperstimulated by novel experiences. But studies linking action sports athletes with dopamine addiction have fueled the perception of athletes as reckless adrenaline junkies who heedlessly put their lives at risk to trigger the next rush. Eric Brymer, a kayak coach turned sports psychologist at the University of Queensland in Australia knows the psychological stereotypes are an oversimplification. His research inquires into the experiences of the athletes themselves. “What sets serious extreme athletes apart from highsensation seeking junkies is preparation, knowledge of and honesty about personal capabilities—emotional and psychological—knowledge of their environment, their activity… and the ability to walk away,” he says. Extreme sports are traditionally explored from a risk-taking perspective that often assumes that participants do not experience fear. Seth Morrison says there’s always a level of fear. “If you’re skiing the resort, then you go straight to Alaska, you’re going to be scared,” says Morrison. “If you ski in the backcountry throughout the season, you can build up to things. Someone once told me to watch a bunch of scary movies to scare the fear out of you.” [ HEAD GAME |

| FREESKIER ]

That fear, according to Brymer, is exactly what sets serious extreme athletes apart from your high-sensation seeking junkie. “You just wouldn’t expect a thrill seeker to feel fear,” he says. “The ability to recognize fear and use it as information but still be able to function and undertake an activity in a rational way enables us to move through fear but still respect what fear is telling us. It’s courage because we have moved through intense fear and humility because we know that fear is telling us that this environment has the potential of killing.” Athletes that set attainable goals within the range of their technical ability are more successful at channeling fear into focus, as opposed to fight, flight or freeze—the body’s typical response to a fear-induced adrenaline rush. Freezing up while skiing a big line could be catastrophic. The world’s best skiers, like Morrison, do not freeze with fear; instead their perceptions seem to open up, resulting in the same heightened sense of awareness and calmness associated with meditation. “It’s a tunnel vision of concentration,” says Morrison. “Nothing else matters but the moment. Your body becomes numb to emotions. Sometimes it’s 30 seconds, sometimes it’s four hours, like on a complicated line in Chamonix.” Morrison lives for those moments of focus, in which he says he finds peace. This mental state of complete involvement and focus, a loss of self-consciousness and a sense of


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SKIER: SETH MORRISON LOCATION: VALDEZ, AK PHOTO: MARK FISHER_TGR

passing time is what psychologists term “flow.” For centuries, practitioners of Eastern religions have sought flow through meditation. Brymer finds that many extreme athletes report transcendental flow experiences similar to those of meditation practitioners. The term “flow” was conceived by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian psychology professor who served as the head of the department of psychology at the University of Chicago. According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion, harnessing the emotions that help us to perform and learn. In flow, the emotions are not just contained and channeled but are positive, energized and aligned with the task at hand. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy and peace while performing a task. Flow is also described as a deep focus on nothing but the activity—not even oneself or one’s emotions. Sports psychologist Kim Cusimano at the UC Davis Sports Medicine Center references Csikszentmihalyi’s flow concept. “Athletes like Mike Wilson may just know how to enter the flow experience more easily,” she says. “Basically, letting something happen without the mind getting in the way.” Cusimano thinks Wilson’s brain operates differently in that it’s able to let go so far that fear isn’t there. She’s seen this similar capability among action sports athletes. “They have that capacity to let go so much, their brain is no longer in the way,” she says. Wilson says he skis the best when he doesn’t overthink it. “When it’s just natural instinct,” says Wilson. “The best I’ve ever skied was the day after I broke up with my girlfriend, and I hadn’t slept in 48 hours. If you have to think about it, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.” Brain researchers call this the default mode network, when the self-conscious, narrative aspects of thinking are missing. “There is just sensory and kinesthetic experience—pure reaction without deliberation,” says

Arne Kozak, a professor in psychiatry at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. As Kozak describes, the basic maneuver is to move our brain activity from the prefrontal cortex to the motor and somatosensory strips of the brain (these run laterally and side-by-side to each across our heads from ear to ear). Experience that develops expertise is what can help us move from self-conscious action to action that is directed less consciously by the motor strip. “They have done studies, and the novice is very self-conscious while learning,” says Kozak. “That brain will be very active in the frontal cortex. The expert’s

The best I’ve ever skied was the day after I broke up with my girlfriend, and I hadn’t slept in 48 hours. If you have to think about it, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

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brain who may well be in ‘flow’ will be active in the motor strip. There is no sense of he or she actually doing the activity. ”In other words, mastery is the key to reducing self-consciousness. According to scientists at the University of Regensburg in Germany, as soon as someone starts to practice a new sport, his brain begins to change, and the changes continue for years. As the brains of athletes become more efficient, they learn how to make sense of a new situation sooner. “It’s a matter of experience,” says Wilson. “I grew up on skis. I was hitting 60-foot jumps at age 12, so it made sense that by the time I was 13, I could hit the 100-foot jump. It wasn’t a mental thing I had to overcome. The bigger I went, the more comfortable I got. I never felt like I was pushing myself. I have put in thousands of hours on skis. That’s the biggest difference between me and other people. It’s a matter of time spent on the hill.”

[ HEAD GAME |

| FREESKIER ]

Morrison agrees, “We live what we do. The people who are weekend warriors, they lead a different life than we do. Their moments of skiing are every so often, ours are everyday.” It’s also the case that we are born with individual differences in what we perceive as a threat. Some of this is also learned and developed through experience. Some of us will be more comfortable getting closer to that edge, while others will be more cautious. It’s a basic comfort difference with risk taking. The answer may start with brain chemistry. In the ’90s, Israeli researchers identified a “risk” gene— behavioral coding that changes the reabsorption of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It affects how people responded to stress or anxiety. Basically, the higher your tolerance for those feelings, the more risk you can take on. But that accounts for only 10 percent of thrill-seeking behavior. The University of Delaware followed up with a study suggesting risk takers had lower levels of serotonin, another neurotransmitter that inhibits impulsive behavior. In 2009, David Zald, a psychology professor at Vanderbilt University, performed some of the first tests on thrill-seeking personalities using PET scans. His subjects’ brains did have fewer autoreceptors (dopamine regulators) than the average human’s. The brain’s enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) keeps neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin in balance. A form of MAO called type B is particularly related to sensation seeking and to regulation of dopamine. The link between MAO and dopamine is notable in light of the fact that the dopamine D4 receptor gene has been connected to sensation seeking, and another dopamine receptor, D2, has been connected with substance abuse, a particular form of risk-taking behavior. He concluded high-sensation seekers have lower levels of MAO. Interestingly, levels of MAO are known to be higher in women than in men, and MAO levels in the brain and blood rise with age. According to Erik Monasterio, a New Zealand medical doctor specializing in forensic psychiatry, people who excel in action sports appear to have a biological makeup that is different than the average person. These differences in brain chemistry help to explain why athletes put themselves in perilous situations. In Monasterio’s recent study “Personality Characteristics of BASE Jumpers” in


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the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, he writes that extreme athletes with lower levels of circulating dopamine “may be in a state of under arousal, which may in turn contribute to engagement in risk-taking sports.” Monasterio’s research found that the personality of climbers and BASE jumpers was different to that of average people. Climbers scored higher in the areas of novelty-seeking and self-directedness and lower on harmavoidance. What this suggests is that climbers generally enjoy exploring unfamiliar places and situations. They are easily bored, try to avoid monotony and so tend to be

Seeking and Sensation-Seeking are inherited from our parents and are determined by the levels of a number of dopamine and serotonin.” Although Morrison’s perceptions of what constitutes risk are different from the average person’s, his risks are still calculated, which sets him apart from a thrill seeker. Morrison says he skis within his comfort zone about 90 percent of the time. He feels he’s most at risk while filming. “You’re crunched into a smaller time window. You’re worried about money. Other athletes are pushing. There are outside influences affecting your decisions. It’s similar to the freeride events. People are pushing it on days when they wouldn’t normally be skiing that stuff. When you’re doing it for yourself, you’re taking danger out of it. The fewer people, the fewer reason for things to go wrong.” The only time Wilson has felt truly uncomfortable was when he hit a 185-foot jump in Aspen to break a world record. “I thought, I probably shouldn’t be doing this,” says Wilson. “I was in Whistler hitting a 120-foot jump, and I was prepared to hit a 140-foot jump. I showed up and it was 195 feet. Even when they got it down to 185 feet, I knew I shouldn’t do it. But there was a lot of money on the line and a lot of pressure.” Wilson undershot the gap and was seriously injured. He pushed his heel bones through the muscles in the bottom of his feet, suffered partial tears in ligaments in both knees, broke his back in three places,

Although Morrison’s perceptions of what constitutes risk are different from the average person’s, his risks are still calculated, which sets him apart from a “thrill seeker.” quick-tempered, excitable and impulsive. They enjoy new experiences and seek out thrills and adventures, even if other people think that they are a waste of time. When confronted with uncertainty and risk, climbers tend to be confident and relaxed. Difficult situations are often seen by climbers as challenges or opportunities. Climbers also have good self-esteem and self-reliance and therefore tend to be high achievers. “What these findings suggest is that biology and genetics play at least a moderate role in determining who will take up these sports,” says Monasterio. “We know that the amount of harm-Avoidance, Novelty-

collapsed a lung and broke his right thumb. Prior to the crash, he’d never broken a bone. “Now, I don’t let that happen,” he says. “I don’t hit anything unless I’m 100-percent comfortable.” As the opportunities to challenge himself on skis wane, Wilson needs a different rush. Now, he gets more out of proving the impossible wrong. “For me, it’s more about doing things that haven’t been done or things people say can’t be done.”In terms of skiing, Wilson wants to hit jumps that are over 200 feet and learn tricks nobody has done before. He says he’d like to break the world record high dive (172 feet) by jumping from a height of over 200 feet. There’s little in terms of measurable science when it comes to describing how the action sports athlete’s brain works. Brain imaging devices that can be used while someone is jumping off a cliff or skiing down a mountain are too basic and don’t explain much. Tests using heart meters have only recently begun. The science surrounding risk taking is still relatively new. So are the world’s best skiers dopamine addicts or are they psychologically sound people who have mastered a sport? As in most things, the reality probably lies somewhere in the middle. Not everyone has the mental makeup to excel in dangerous pursuits, but those who do are, for the most part, highly calculating individuals who are prepared for the risks they take. “In my view, adventure sports are rewarding and exhilarating beyond the explanation of biology,” says Monasterio. Involvement in risk-taking sports is clearly more fulfilling and profound than the simple thrill of a chemical release. As Morrison says, “I’m seeking enjoyment, fun and adventure. It’s not that I need to do something because it’s the gnarliest thing to do, I’m seeking a new experience.”


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WORDS: NATE ABBOTT

THE WEB Magazines used to be the pinnacle of photography achievement. Published in Powder’s photo annual? You’re officially king freaking hippy. Got a shot in Freeskier’s Epics? You definitely know Simon Dumont. But these days, being published in magazines is just boring—all you get is a check for the use of your work. True confirmation that your pictures are sweet now comes online from your friends and any friendly person following the random hashtags you add. So sign up for any social media photo sharing site and post away (yfrog.com is my favorite, way more core than Instagram). This is the best way to judge your work because other people do it for you and their affirmation instantly shows up as an alert on your phone. No more trudging to get the mail, hoping to find a check.

SUNSETS Take pictures of these. Everyone knows that sunsets get so many likes.

PUPPIES Ditto!

KITTENS

ATHLETES

QUALITY

Okay, so sunsets, puppies and kittens are great, but this is an article about how to be wildly successful as a ski photographer. The best way to have hypertalented skiers to work with is to grow up with them. Your best friend for life wins the X Games? Easy as just being a part of the posse, with a camera around your neck. That can be your “thing,” like Plake’s mohawk or Max Hill’s cigarettes. Snap a few opportune photos. The magazines, I mean Internet, will be knocking your door down for the pics.

The best way to become the next KC Deane (the king of Instagram) is to shoot high-quality photos with your supersweet SLR camera. Download the shots to your iPhone, then add some hashtags—#iPhoneonly, #50d, #sunset—and the likes will be rolling in.

What? You didn’t grow up with anyone who can do a switch double misty 12? Just move to Breck, stand on the deck of the third jump in Park Lane, point and shoot. Then you just have to show the back of your camera to some pros, and they’ll be like, “Wow, that’s an ill shot bro,” and give you knucks.

CAMERA GEAR You have to have the best camera available. I think it’s a Canon 50d, but maybe they will release a newer, better one between the writing of this article and when the magazine makes it to you. I mean, damn, they release a new camera literally every two weeks. Another thing you need is one of those big flashes. All the best ski photographs, ever, have been shot with an Elinchrom Ranger. Then when you see ski movies with your boyz, you can tell them, “Yo, that’s my flash in the middle of that beautiful shot.”

Off the freaking chart. PG. 052

[ HOW TO |

| FREESKIER ]

LEARNING There’s no better way to improve your photography than by asking other photographers probing questions like, “Did you do that in Photoshop?” But then, why ask when you could just Photoshop your pictures and skip the whole asking part. I guess what I’m saying is go out and get Snapseed for your phone. Start dropping filters on that shot and once it looks good, add a couple more to make it great.

There it is, every secret to gaining recognition and wealth as a ski photographer in one place. So check out the rest of our photo annual and start shooting because you’re never going to make it unless you get a better camera. P.S. Believe in yourself. Take pictures that you believe in. Work hard. Find your own visual voice. Don’t be a gear geek, unless it advances your ability to tell the stories you want to tell. Never use selective de-saturation. Never stop learning, especially about copyright law. And go to freeskier.com/photography-tips for more real advice.


AJ KEMPPAINEN THE ONSET GOGGLE AJ, boosting with confidence at Boreal, California. Learn more at giro.com/onset.


CANDIDE

THOVEX

A SKIER ON HIS OWN TERMS.

A PIONEER IN HIS OWN WORDS. INTERVIEW: CHRISTOPHER JERARD

PHOTO: CHRISTOFFER SJÖSTRÖM / QUIKSILVER

It was more than a decade ago when a 15-year-old Candide Thovex hiked into the backcountry with filmmaker Kris Ostness. A teenage Frenchman in a foreign land, he brought his style and grace to the freeskiing world with one awe-inspiring jump that put him on the global stage as one of the biggest talents in the game. To the click of camera motor drives, Candide arrived on the scene as a disruptive example of what skiing would become. But Candide was never really overly concerned with the scene. His skiing has always been bold and aggressive;

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his manner off the hill shy and unassuming. He has let his skiing speak for him, preferring to stay tucked under a pom-pom wool hat, while he quietly earned the sport’s highest honors: X Games gold and World Freeride champion. It’s not hard to argue that he’s the sport’s most well-rounded athlete—ever. Watching Candide ski is bearing witness to a powerful, almost surreal level of connection with the mountain. He combines all elements of freestyle, alpine and freeride into a spellbinding mix of athletic power on the hill. But there is no hype or boasting from Candide. He really is a man

of “few words” and as such is notoriously difficult for the media to find and interview. After several weeks of calling and emailing, I was able to triangulate Candide’s position to the island of Mallorca off the coast of Spain, where he was taking a quick two-day hiatus before the world tour of his two-year movie project, Few Words, kicked off in Paris. He spoke with me openly about his injuries, shyness, achievements and personal vision for the importance of well-rounded skiing. We also touched on the Olympics and what it’s like to be bitten by a wolf.


PHOTO: SPENCER FRANCEY / QUIKSILVER LOCATION: MONASHEE MOUNTAINS, BC


PHOTO: TERO REPO LOCATION: VALAIS, SWITZERLAND

You are a mystery man to many in North America. Given your success in the sport, why is it that we don’t know you as well as other skiers? I’ve never been that much of a front-page guy. I’ve been pretty bad at it [media communication]. I was pretty shy. I would like to let the skiing talk. I broke my back in 2007. And I was doing too many things at that time. I was kind of losing the pleasure of skiing. I wanted to get back to the pages of just skiing. And that’s what I did. I stopped everything else. The doctor said that I would not be able to ski and jump the way I used to. I went away and just wanted to get back into it. That’s when I did Candide Kamera. I left everything else on the side. Just skiing. At the time, we didn’t know what we wanted to do, but then finally we concentrated on one thing. We put more cinematic style into it.

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You burst onto the scene in the States when you were just 15. We were all like, “Who is that and where the hell is he from?” And of course, you are from La Clusaz. What do they put in the water there? I learned everything there. My father took me out when I was 2. It’s a place called Balme. This is where I used to do my event. The terrain is a natural snow park. When I was a kid, I was skiing every day over there. I was doing a lot of mogul skiing. [Candide was French national mogul champ at 14.] We had coaches, and I had the chance. They would always take us out and ski in that place in Balme. For them it was more important for us to have a ski base. When snowboarding got famous in France, I had been learning everything from there. When I came to the US, before that I hadn’t ever skied any other place.

What are the moments in a run down the Balme that make you the skier you are? It is bumpy, very bumpy with big domes everywhere. It’s amazing, a natural terrain park. It all goes back to bumps. I used to [have] all my inruns in the middle of moguls. And the landings, too. You had to absorb the bumps, and there is nothing straight. We would follow the same run every day. There were many, many jumps between rocks, and between creeks you can do some jumps. It’s really a kind of a terrain park in a mogul field. We kept it natural. This was constant learning.


It is a huge leap from the Balme to Chad’s gap. What prepared you for that gigantic leap?

You have had such a great long-term relationship with Quiksilver.

Well, I would wake up and look at Balme every day. And we would always try to go bigger and bigger. We would do gaps, and we would try to go as far as possible. When I got to Chad’s gap it was just a matter of the scale—and, of course, it was a matter of staying on your feet. And having the balls for it.

Fifteen years. Quiksilver picked me when I was 15. I always liked their vision. And you know, they are usually more about surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding, but they have always helped me out. We’ve always had this very strong relationship. There is a lot of trust. Fifteen years is a long time. I’ve been changing a lot of skiing sponsors but stayed with Quiksilver.

But right away, I knew it was possible. There would be a lot of compression. I didn’t have big legs at the time. Actually, I still don’t! But it all goes back to Balme. It really shaped how I look at things.

You have skied for Dynastar, Salomon, Rossignol, CoreUPT and now for Faction. Tell us about this new sponsor and the relationship. Super excited to work with Faction. Great people. We are doing a lot of projects together. We have a full Candide line of skis. I was skiing with CoreUPT and things were not super great; the business side was a challenge. I signed with Faction for five years. I don’t really want to move from brand to brand. For sure we are aligned in business and vision. With other brands I couldn’t do the same things that I can do with Faction. I had a lot of good feedback on their product. They have amazing skis. I am very involved. We have been working a lot on the weight. For backcountry, well, I am not a big guy, you know. I need my ski to be light. I want to be able to launch straight into lines. We’ve been working on that.


PHOTO: TERO REPO LOCATION: LES MARECOTTES, SWITZERLAND

How is the recovery from your injury in 2007? I’ve been really lucky. We had a big jump for the Candide Invitational. I hit it, but was missing some speed. I landed on the knuckle and I broke my L1. It was bad. When you break your back, you are always very close to being paralyzed. The doctors said that I might ski again, but never the way I used to. Look, they are trained to be realistic—doctors don’t do what we do. And the mental side [of recovery] is very important. I knew I was going to ski again. I was confident in myself. I did surgery right away, and went to a rehab center for a month and half. When you break your back, you either don’t get surgery, and you cannot move for months, or they do the surgery and you start to walk in two days. One year after the crash, I started to ski. But even a little bump would hurt. I started wondering, “Maybe those guys are right, I won’t be the same on snow again.” But I was getting better and better. I started skiing in the powder. It was softer and easier on my back. I just wanted to get back into skiing. Get fun back. One year later, I decided to do some competitions. First I did the Red Bull Linecatcher. I wanted to see where my skiing level was. And then, when I won I thought I should try the Freeride World Tour. PAGE 058

So the gnarliest big-mountain tour in the world, the Freeride World Tour, was rehab? Ha! No, the rehab was before. This was a great feeling, thinking about what the doctor said the first time. I was super stoked and proved to myself that I could win a contest again. When I won the X Games in 2000 [big air], I blew my knee right afterward. Then it took me some time to get back to my level. By 2003, I was back, and that year I won again [pipe]. Then I blew my knee. It took time to come back. Then I won in 2007 [slope]. Then I broke my back at La Clusaz. The level of the sport always is getting better and better while I’m out.

You helped pioneer the sport in the halfpipe, in big air, in slopestyle. Now two of those three disciplines are in the Olympics. How do you feel about the Olympics? It’s a good thing for the sport. It’s a wider audience for the sport. More brands, more resources for the athletes. But at the same time, I’m a bit scared because I want to keep the spirit [of the sport]. When we started that sport, we wanted to get away from everything that was too serious. We were inspired by snowboarding. It was about fun. I don’t see why we have to be like every other sport. I understand it needs to be more serious, training and all that. In France, I can see it. They are interviewing the coaches, they are calling the skiers “athletes.” And it is getting away from where we started. For the eyes of the kids, we want the sport to remain cool and fun. We don’t want it to be too serious. We wanted to get away from this. I know personally I was watching snowboarders because there was some creativity and freedom there.


PHOTO: SPENCER FRANCEY / QUIKSILVER LOCATION: MONASHEE MOUNTAINS, BC

Do you pay attention to what other skiers are doing in movies and magazines?

Every year there are new tricks. Some guys are still evolving. The sport right now is still good when it comes to style. The Olympics will not change that. Personally I will not enjoy watching a rotation contest. It is all about style and creativity. It is important to me to recognize that there are many types of skiing. No powder? Go in the park. Powder? Go ski the mountain and the powder. I understand that it is becoming very siloed, but my vision on this is that we have the chance to have a sport where one can do everything. Every type of skiing is complementary to the other. Freeriding will help your alpine skiing and vice versa. If you stick to just one thing in all this, you are going to get stuck. That is my vision. I always love to do everything.

I’m really not watching enough. But I like Henrik [Harlaut] and Phil Casabon. I like the style there. Tom Wallisch. Sammy Carlson has really good style.

And to answer the question, the sport is still going in the right direction. The style is still there. I just hope it is going to stay that way and that the Olympics don’t change that.

PHOTO: TERO REPO

As we approach Olympic competition, what are your feelings on style?

You have a reputation for executing your tricks perfectly. How do you come up with your tricks and the inspiration for them? The inspiration—if you go back to the beginning— was really coming from snowboarding. Snowboard tricks were a big influence at the time. Snowboard had style. It was clean. I wanted to do the same. I like to do things clean, and I think like everyone, you never want sketchy. Hey look, sometimes I’m sketchy, too. But skiing is all about style. I just ride. It comes naturally. I think that the base of everything in skiing is not to wonder too much. Just go with your own natural mental flow. It all comes to the mental. When I was competing earlier, I would work on tricks in my head, but you just have to try and try and not think too much. Just try to have fun. Everyone has their own style. That’s where the word freestyle comes from. That’s what makes the sport. I think I used to worry too much when I did contests. I was stressed and stuff about contests. When I stopped worrying about the results, that’s when I won. When I was just having fun, that’s when I did the best. Some people have good results under pressure. But that’s not me.


PHOTO: SPENCER FRANCEY / QUIKSILVER LOCATION: MONASHEE MOUNTAINS, BC

Do you want to compete on the AFP World Tour or go to the Olympics?

What do you hope people take away from your film Few Words?

It is itching me for sure. But I have not been riding park since I broke my back. I am focusing on other things, like my movie. But it is definitely something that is itching me. I’m not going to make any decisions. But I’m thinking about it. I just want to ski and not to wonder too much, to ski and see where my level is. If I feel good about it, then why not? I’m not 100-percent sure. After doing the Freeride World Tour for a while— and doing a lot of freeriding—it might be good for me to get back into park and see where I’m at.

I don’t know. I was really, really involved in the editing of Candide Kamera. Matt Pain [Few Words director] has come in to the project and he used to do snowboard movies. He didn’t know much about skiing or me when he came into the project, which is good in a way. It is a story about me, with a lot of interviews. This is good because usually I don’t like so many interviews. This is a good external vision.

PAGE 060

What was your best day of filming, and why? I really enjoyed filming in Revelstoke. There was this peak that no one has skied before. Eagle Pass. First descent. It had never been ridden before. I don’t know if it is true or not but it was a great moment.


PHOTO: MATT PAIN / QUIKSILVER LOCATION: ARLBERG, AUSTRIA

What was the worst day of filming? I heard a wolf bit you? Yes, I was bitten by a wolf when we were filming in Canada. We were filming with a wolf because we try to focus on nature a lot. In the movie, we are filming animals because skiing is about nature. When you hike to the top and you see the chamois running around, this is what skiing is to me. Nature. We wanted to capture that. So we were filming, and this wolf came around and he bit my leg. It was not too bad. I just had a mark. The wolf was pretty pissed though. I was scared. Tell us about almost dying in Sonnenkopf.

PHOTO: SPENCER FRANCEY / QUIKSILVER

Yes, we were skiing and filming in Austria. That was pretty scary. It was the first day we were there. There was some amazing powder. So we decided we were not going to film, “Let’s just ride for ourselves and have fun.” It was for the cameraman to have some fun. It was a place where skiing in the forest was forbidden. But there was such deep powder, we were like, we have to go. We finished in a valley. So we followed a frozen river in the valley to go back to the resort. At one point, there was a steep drop, maybe 15 meters, and it was all blue ice. I had one cameraman with me and the other was way back on a snowboard. I said, “I’m going to go first and let you know, and hopefully there is no ice on the landing.” I did one turn and the ice broke around me. I found myself in a waterfall. I was stuck in

it. I was holding on with my elbow, taking all the water on my face, a shower of super cold water. I was like that for half an hour. If I fell, I was going to fall into a black hole that led to the water under the ice and four or five meters of snow. I would have drowned. The first guy tried to help me, and he slipped and fell. By the time he got to me, I had been in there for 15 minutes. He tried to get me and dislocated his shoulder. I thought I was fucked. If I was going to fall, I was not going to recover. Luckily, two Finnish guys showed up and did a human chain, and they saved me. I was frozen. My left side was totally frozen. I couldn’t feel anything. We had to walk the forest for almost two hours. I had a puffy jacket, so I was soaked and cold. When we got back to the resort it was dark. I was really lucky in this situation. Really lucky. How would you like to be remembered by the skiing community? I don’t know. You know, I’m not wondering too much about this. I always try to do my best. The most important thing is to enjoy skiing. Sure the other things are cool, X Games, the Freeride Tour. But then—I don’t know, I’m just not wondering. The most important thing is the skiing. That’s it. My dream when I was a kid was to do something in skiing. And now I’ve been able to live my life in skiing. And that is enough for me.

FIN


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´,FRQVWDQWO\ÀQGP\VHOILQDZHRIWKHQDWXUH RI P\ VXUURXQGLQJV (YHQ WKRXJK VNLLQJ LV DQ DFWLRQ VSRUW WKHUH LV DOVR D KHDOWK\ DPRXQW RI FRQWHPSODWLRQ WKDW JRHV ZLWK LW HVSHFLDOO\RXWLQWKHEDFNFRXQWU\6RPHWLPHV LW·VVRPHWKLQJDVVLPSOHDVEORZLQJVSLQGULIW VQRZEHLQJFDXJKWLQWKHVXQOLJKWWKDWPDNHV PHUHÁHFWDQGVRPHWLPHV,·OOWDNHDSLFWXUHµ ³3DOO\/HDUPRQG {L} ARLBERG, AUSTRIA {P} PALLY LEARMOND

2013 PHOTO ANNUAL

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“I love this image because it shows the immensity of the terrain where we were skiing. One can see the toe of the Knik Glacier and the expanse of the northern Chugach behind. When shooting in Alaska, I always try to compose my images so they tell a story. This story is not just about the quality of the snow. Details I look for are the seriousness of the exposure below the rider, the scale of the terrain or the position. This image works for me because it combines those elements and tells a story.” —Mark Fisher {S} SAGE CATTABRIGA-ALOSA {L} KNIK GLACIER, AK {P} MARK FISHER_TGR

2013 PHOTO ANNUAL

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{S} LEIGH POWIS

{L} BOULDER, CO {P} NATE ABBOTT_PBP

“Skiing is interesting to me when it is an expression of a personality and commitment WRLQGLYLGXDOLW\/HLJKLVVRPHRQHZKRÀQGV his own way to share his life through skiing, and hopefully my photos can be a part of that. He gets wild—witness the bloody nose and WKHÀUHFUDFNHURQDVWRQHOHGJH³DQGWKHUH·V balance between his loyalty to his skiing and the lifestyle he leads.” –Nate Abbott

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“Roy is a nice German skier. He moved to Austria to get closer to the mountains. I met Roy years ago, when he was pretty young, and he was killing everybody on the rails. This season you can see him in the movie JOB, In Space with an incredible jib part and some powder stuff. Roy also took part at the Nine Knights in Livigno, Mottolino in April, and he was DEVROXWHO\ RQ ÀUH , KDYH QHYHU VHHQ D rider jumping and riding as much as Roy in that week of shooting. Switch riding is something simple and at the same time incredible and innovative. I watched movies with Pollard, Fujas and company, and I was always stoked on their riding. I think switch riding has kind of a special taste. Everybody can ski switch, but not all the people have style and style in powder. Roy has it. This shot is from the backcountry on the north side of Prato Nevoso, a medium steep plateau with an interesting backlight. Roy did his line switch, and I just shot what I was looking for: a simple and progressive shot of my friend in action in my country. Nothing special.” –Alessandro Belluscio {S} ROY KITTLER

{L} PRATO NEVOSO, ITALY {P} ALESSANDRO BELLUSCIO

2013 PHOTO ANNUAL

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“Shooting photos with Wallisch can be a blessing and a curse. He’s so damn good that he’s going to get it done better than I am hoping to get it, every single time in no time. The curse? I don’t just walk up to every feature and nail the shot the first time. Shooting with strobes is an exercise in ‘try something and see what happens.’ There are sometimes a lot of tries till I find a combination I am stoked on. When Tom steps up to something and gets his shot perfect in four tries, well, it makes my job a bit tougher. I’ve gotta get it right, quick. That being said, that’s a pretty good problem to have, and I should probably stop complaining and talk about how awesome it is to have opportunities to work with one of the best skiers in the world. Fortunately for me, Tom’s a nice guy and keeps going when I need him to in order to get things dialed.” –Erik Seo {S} TOM WALLISCH

{L} ANCHORAGE, AK {P} ERIK SEO_LEVEL 1

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no doubt that Max is one of the most unique characters in freeskiing. He shreds in the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and the city onlyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and I doubt heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ever worn real ski clothes in his life. The creativity that you see in Maxâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s riding comes with true passion and hard {S} MAX HILL

{L} INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA {P} PALLY LEARMOND_LEGS OF STEEL

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graft, and he puts as much blood, sweat and laughs into it as he does his partying. Being DĂ&#x20AC;UHEUDQGUXQVWKURXJKKLVYHLQVDQGLQWKH UK weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d say heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;hard as nails.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Just ask this wall.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Pally Learmond


“Parker is ridiculously smooth in the air and charges lines at full speed, ignoring consequences and skiing with a sort of controlled chaos. It can look like shit is going wrong, but he is in complete control and keeps it all together—most of the time. He has some spectacular crashes, too. Parker is a breath of fresh air in the industry, and I hope we will see more young skiers coming out with less attitude, just skiing for the love of it.” –Bryn Hughes {S} PARKER WHITE

{L} COAST MOUNTAINS, BC {P} BRYN HUGHES_LEVEL 1


“Throughout my career I have always enjoyed working with young and hungry athletes. Not in a Michael Jackson way, but rather to open my eyes to new possibilities on snow. After Pete Alport sent me the link to an edit that Karl had posted {S} KARL FOSTVEDT {L} BOULDER, CO {P} NATE ABBOTT_PBP

“Sure, I just said I love youngsters (and the new shit they do on skis), but I also appreciate the ability to explore deeper into the world of skiing with old friends. In photography, I’ve become intensely interested in the way that each face, at any moment, can tell a deep story, even though it

isn’t necessary for that to be simple to understand. What is the context of this moment? Eric has his own story, inside his face and his eyes. I know my side of the scenario and try to include that in the image. The viewer too can study the photograph and infer what they choose.” —Nate Abbott {S} ERIC POLLARD

{L} NISEKO, JAPAN {P} NATE ABBOTT_NIMBUS

to Newschoolers, I was amped to meet him and see what he came up with. Over three days he gave me a new outlook as I saw how his technical ability matched up with video game style features like this drop to down rail.” —Nate Abbott


â&#x20AC;&#x153;The opportunity to work with athletes like Clayton drives me to continue shooting ski photos. Whenever I think progression in skiing is slowing down, new guys come out of the woodwork and change everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective of what can be done. In the past, I would have walked by a feature like

this without ever thinking it was possible to shoot anything on it. Now that we have winches, Banshee bungees and trucks full of gear, a lot of the limits to what we could do are gone. The negative is the amount of planning and work that now has to go into every single shot.

Knowing this spot was a high bust meant we had to do it on Superbowl Sunday, hoping most security guards would rather watch the game than do their job. We spent hours working on the jump and just as we got the winch running IRU WKH Ă&#x20AC;UVW VSHHG FKHFNV D VHFXULW\ JXDUG showed up and kicked us out. Everyone got

into their cars and circled the block until he drove away. Right after kickoff we went back DQG Ă&#x20AC;UHG WKH ZLQFK XS DJDLQ ,W ZDV D UDFH DJDLQVWWKHVHWWLQJVXQWRĂ&#x20AC;QLVKEHIRUHZHORVW the light. This shot makes me excited to see what guys like Clayton and the Stept crew will come up with next.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Alex Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien

{S} CLAYTON VILA

{L} DENVER, CO {P} ALEX Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;BRIEN_STEPT

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“Besides his skiing skills, Wiley is always looking to get a unique shot and communiFDWHV ZLWK SKRWRJUDSKHU DQG ÀOPHU WR PDNH sure he is doing what they want. I like working with him because he is so driven and has both the park and big-mountain skills to get all types of shots. He can be pretty hard on himself if his style is a little off or a line doesn’t go well, but that is part of being passionate about your sport. The part of this trick that stands out for me is the style in the air: being able to see his face looking at the camera and that his body is calm and tight.” –Bryn Hughes {S} WILEY MILLER

{L} KOOTENAY MOUNTAINS, BC {P} BRYN HUGHES_LEVEL 1


“I’m always looking for the fine art, black and white ski image. I want to not only capture the moment but also tell the story of what the rider is doing. If I can tell the story and make a fine art image, then I’ve won. I love the shadows and textures in this image, and the scale of the natural feature Dash is hitting.” –Mark Fisher {S} DASH LONGE

{L} NORTHERN CHUGACH MOUNTAINS, AK {P} MARK FISHER_TGR

2013 PHOTO ANNUAL

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“Tim McChesney knew what he wanted at this spot: 270 onto the down flat down rail. He’s worked for years to be able to make that happen and got it no problem. I too, knew what I wanted: to balance the lights of the city with the flashes I placed to illuminate the action. It was something I had tried before without getting a result that pleased me, but I knew I had a recipe that would work this time. Being ready to capture a moment like this, with an amazingly talented skier, was great reward for years of tinkering, struggling and learning.” —Nate Abbott {S} TIM MCCHESNEY

{L} LAHTI, FINLAND {P} NATE ABBOTT_LEVEL 1

2013 PHOTO ANNUAL

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;This photo explains Cam better than most of the action shots I have of him. It was taken around 3 a.m. following a session where he ate shit for three hours before getting a shot up to his standards. When I think of Cam skiing, I see him steaming with sweat and covered in snow from all the slams it takes to get a trick he is happy with. The spots he likes are so gnarly that most skiers would walk away ZLWKWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWULFNWKH\JRWRQĂ&#x20AC;OPEXWKHKDV the ability to channel the anger that arises from a good slam into motivation. He has a vision of where he wants his skiing to go and doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seem concerned with whatever trends are going on at any given time. In over a decade of shooting skiers on handrails, this guy has done some of the gnarliest stuff I have ever witnessed. His spot selection sometimes VFDUHVPHEXWKLVFRQĂ&#x20AC;GHQFHRQWKHELJVWXII has given him the ability to do things that are outside the realm of what others see as possible.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Alex Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Brien {S} CAM RILEY

{P} ALEX Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;BRIEN


â&#x20AC;&#x153;This shot is from Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago on the Russian side of 79 degrees north. This shot almost didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen. The local Russians gave us a helping hand, but the IHDWXUHZDVĂ&#x20AC;QLVKHGMXVWDELWWRRODWHWKHVXQ was already down behind the mountain. This was our last chance to get the shot, and the sun had disappeared.

But, as I was packing my gear, the sickest thing happend. The sun came back up. We got a sunset and sunrise shoot at the same spot the same day. Thank you midnight sun. This photo is the result of hard work, dedication and cooperation. Best moment of the trip and one of my favorite memories.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Daniel Tengs

{S} EVEN SIGSTAD

{L} BARENTSBURG, NORWAY {P} DANIEL TENGS_FIELD PRODUCTIONS

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“Bene is an excitable character, and he gets YHU\ H[FLWHG DERXW VNLLQJ , ÀUVW UHPHPEHU KLP DV WKH JX\ ZKR·G VWLOO EH ODSSLQJ WKH SDUN ZKHQ HYHU\RQH HOVH KDG JRQH KRPH 1RZDGD\V,UHFRJQL]HKLPDVRQHRIWKHQHZ EUHHGRIVNLHUVZKRWKURZVGRXEOHPLVW\V RQ KXJH SDUN VHWXSV ZKLOH DOVR GLUHFWLQJ

KLVHQWKXVLDVPDQGWDOHQWLQWRVKUHGGLQJWKH EDFNFRXQWU\6NLLQJDQGÀOPLQJZLWKKLVEHVW IULHQGVDW/HJVRI6WHHOLVWKHSHUIHFWSODWIRUP IRUKLPWRH[FHODWDOODVSHFWVRIVNLLQJDQGWR JHWVXSHUVWRNHGRQVKUHGGLQJVZHHWSRZOLQHV OLNHWKLVµ²3DOO\/HDUPRQG {S} BENE MAYR

{L} EAGLE PASS HELI {P} PALLY LEARMOND_LEGS OF STEEL

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;I constantly talk about the rollercoaster that comes from following a career in skiing. The good always comes with struggles. Dale had won the Nike Chosen contest and a chance to ski this private park at Keystone with the Nike ski team. He was making an edit with Andrew Napier and had been slaughtering {S} DALE TALKINGTON {L} KEYSTONE, CO {P} NATE ABBOTT

the features for a day and a half when he overshot the jump and smashed up his ankle. Although the shoot was over for him, he had impressed everyone who saw him ski. Still, it was a tough psychological blow, a painful part of our reality.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Nate Abbott

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The days of a dude on a rail have not passed, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s evolved to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;dude getting towed in to a rail by a really expensive and highly polished hunk of Heine Snow Tools engineering or a $300 ghetto-fabulous franken-beast named Betty.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; In this case, we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have the Heine Ferrari-of-a-winch, so we had to settle on what Logan Imlach had created out of junkyard parts: Betty. Bettyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s frequent temper

tantrums tasked us with cleaning up the ratâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nest of towrope that came after every other rip into the rail. Still, if you know how to keep Betty happy, she can get the job done. After IHHGLQJ %HWW\ D  VKRW RI 126 VKH Ă&#x20AC;QDOO\ wound herself up right and dragged Logan, Tom Wallisch, Mike Hornbeck and Chris /RJDQLQWRRXUĂ&#x20AC;UVWVXFFHVVIXOIHDWXUHRIWKLV trip to Anchorage.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Erik Seo {S} LOGAN IMLACH

{L} ANCHORAGE, AK {P} ERIK SEO_LEVEL 1

2013 PHOTO ANNUAL

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“The Valley of the Tusk is familiar territory in my history of shooting close to Valdez. To me, this shot represents the ongoing evolution of big-mountain skiing and where athletes like *ULIÀQ3RVWDUHWDNLQJWKLQJVWRGD\%DFNLQ the day, it was enough just to ski a ramp like this without airs or tricks. On this particular run, Griff connected a number of spines and cliffs into one cohesive and explosive run with three massive airs, this last one covering over 80 feet. The beauty of evolution is that it allows mankind to push the frontiers of the impossible for the next generation of athletes.” –Greg Von Doersten {S} GRIFFIN POST

{L} VALDEZ, AK {P} GREG VON DOERSTEN_TGR


â&#x20AC;&#x153;I love shooting in Vancouver. The infamous rain and clouds mean waiting for a bluebird day is rarely an option, forcing you to up your creativity and always have a backup plan when the shot you had in mind is no

longer an option. You practice patience and quickly get JRRGDWZHDWKHUSURRĂ&#x20AC;QJERWK\RXUJHDUDQG\RXUVHOI as well as motivating each other to get hyped on a little â&#x20AC;&#x153;Raincityâ&#x20AC;? skiing. Thick incoming clouds meant

this session nearly didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen, but a brief window of bluebird sky and Tim charging hard left me with a shot that reminds me exactly just how much this city can offer when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Hamish Baxter

{S} TIM MCCHESNEY

{L} VANCOUVER, BC {P} HAMISH BAXTER_4BI9

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not easy shooting in the backcountry at sunset in Europe. You can only shoot spots OLNH WKLV ]RQH ZKHUH LW¡V GHĂ&#x20AC;QLWH WKDW \RX¡OO be able to get off the mountain after the lifts stop or where you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be asked to leave by overzealous mountain security. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve known 3DGG\ VLQFH KH Ă&#x20AC;UVW PDGH WKH WUDQVLWLRQ from the UK dry slopes to real snow and his FXUUHQWVWDWXUHDVDIXOOĂ HGJHGEDFNFRXQWU\ shredder. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been overwhelming to see his progression as an all-round skier and his learning curve has been ridiculously fast. Paddy only dreams in black and white, so this was his perfect sunset.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201C;Pally Learmond {S} PADDY GRAHAM

{L} DAVOS, SWITZERLAND {P} PALLY LEARMOND_LEGS OF STEEL

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SKIER: BOBBY BROWN PHOTO: ERIK SEO_LEVEL 1 LOCATION: BRECKENRIDGE, CO

HISTORY: RETRO SPECTATE WORDS: LIAM DOWNEY

THE SNOWCAT TRACKS ON THE DIRT TRAIL FEEL LIKE A HIGHWAY RUMBLE STRIP UNDER MY TRUCK’S TIRES. THE PATH IS LINED WITH HUNDREDS OF JIBS, LABELED BRECK, WHICH HAVE BEEN PULLED DOWN AND STORED HAPHAZARDLY FOR SUMMER. MY TRUCK CREAKS AS IT ANGLES THROUGH THE WATER BARS ON THE WAY UP TO THE MUDDY LANDING, WHERE EVERYONE ELSE HAS ALREADY PARKED AND GEARED UP. Josh Berman greets me at the top with an academic slap-pound. “Nice mustache,” he says. “You look all grown up.” It seems an odd thing to say until I realize we’re surrounded by children, most of whom I’ve never even met. They’ve circled Berman like a ski troop around their zincnosed scoutmaster. These kids have a lot to learn about dissent. “How was your winter?” the ones who know each other keep asking, while the young bloods of the next Olympiad do iPod calisthenics in their ski boots. Across the way I can see the feature, an ivory fortress taller than the pines. Ski patrollers on snowmobiles double PG. 086

the boys across the last natural strip of snow, but I decide to walk through the mucky melt-off before asking any favors. Experience has taught me that no amount of sun and overtime pay will unpucker a redcoat’s asshole in the postseason—they are to be avoided at all costs. When I trudge up, the park builders are standing by the shack on the side of the trail, thumbs looped in Carhartts, admiring their work—a 70-foot section of halfpipe with the option to air into either side and shoot off the opposite wall to a steep landing below. A bearded guy named Eric, who seems to be in charge, swells up, fit to burst, when I ask him how many hours it took to push the sumbitch. [ HISTORY |

“Hundreds,” he says, and I believe him. It’s a goddamn work of art. A pipe jock’s wet-dream, all right angles and hard-to-match transitions. I’m half-glad to be sidelined for this one with a bum knee. Besides, from the sideline I’ll be able to heckle and cheer as I see fit. Maybe even drink some 3.2 percent gas-station beer I grabbed on the way up here. Casanova and Keri Herman crash out of the woods near me with sudden, unmistakable fury, Keri heyoo-ing and smiling and making noise for two. Keri’s fresh off a concussion, but it hasn’t dimmed her spirits. She makes the rounds amongst the 20-some odd spectators, saying “RIGHT!?” with | FREESKIER ]

psychotic enthusiasm, putting the “hi 5” tattoo on her palm to good use. Nova and I share Jolly Ranchers in our beach chairs as the first skiers drop in. “I woulda brought my tall tee if I knew this was a fuckin’ skier shoot,” someone behind me is saying. It’s a snowboarder, who I’ll call Chad, because that’s his name, and he is one. Chad don’t take kindly to skiers. “Snowboarding,” he says gravely when Austyn, Breck’s PR girl, asks him what he’s been up to. I can’t believe that Breck is still giving this chucklehead a free pass, much less invited him to a skier shoot. But Chad is here to set the record straight.


SKIER: LUCAS STAL-MADISON PHOTO: AARON DODDS_LEVEL 1 LOCATION: BRECKENRIDGE, CO

I move across to where Kyle Decker is filming. We shoot bottle rockets at Chad when he passes us on the inrun, laughing and yelling obscenities at his flailed method airs. “You sucked in ’04!” Eventually I realize the poor bastard standing next to us is here to take photos of him, so we let up a bit and, during a lull in the action, go to look for some better bottle rockets since Decker’s are the “no report” variety that cops probably buy for their kids. Luckily, 17-year-old Yater-Wallace had a better handle on which fireworks to buy when he and Decker stopped in Wyoming. He’s got the real shit. Soon the crew is enjoying pro-bono pizza from Austyn, setting bottle rockets and firecrackers off five at a time, yee-hawing, and whistling like stupid idiots. It all seems perfectly normal until we notice a strange spectator a few hundred yards uphill, linking wedged turns and wearing… a sundress? She looks straight out of a ’50s art deco ski poster (Chamonix-Mont Blanc/Sport D’Hiver!), but as she slides closer, it becomes clear that she’s just a hippie chick trying to learn how to telemark. “Which knee am I supposed to drop, do you guys know?” she asks when she finally makes it down, as if she’s been expecting us to be here. PG. 088

We stare at her dumbly until she leaves, gyrating an imaginary hula hoop through the chunder on the side of the trail. I don’t know whether the pizza or the hippie girl brings the boys back to reality, but soon enough they’re throwing down properly again, with

million-dollar mound of snow while the skiers huck themselves, hanging midair like a photo against the sea of evergreen beneath Baldy. It’s enough to make a man miss 16 mm. As the shadow-line creeps up the right wall of the pipe, the kids are skiing like they’ve got nothing but time to lose.

wants another follow-cam,” Berman offers, and suddenly I realize that I’ve underestimated these kids. No one wants another. I feel something like pride at the show of their dissent. We say our goodbyes, tromping back across the snow strip this

Soon the crew is enjoying pro-bono pizza from Austyn, setting bottle rockets and firecrackers off five at a time, yee-hawing, and whistling like stupid idiots. It all seems perfectly normal until we notice a strange spectator a few hundred yards uphill, linking wedged turns and wearing… a sundress? Yater-Wallace double corking every which way and Dorey going ham. I’ve started to feel a pretty healthy buzz from the 3.2 Modelo’s and some General portion on lend from Sig Tveit. And Chad is long gone, which is doing a lot to help the mood. The scene has taken on an alpenglow tinge that is the hallmark of any successful spring park shoot. The setting is bizarre in its familiarity. Berman, with his oversize steering-wheel-follow-cam-mount, zooms between the walls of this [ HISTORY |

“Get out of the waaay,” Berman yells, shaking his James Bond camera contraption at Seo as he dodges the little man in the middle of the inrun. Seo responds in kind, reminding Sig to “stay the fuck away from my flashes,” on his next lap through. Finally, this is beginning to have the feel of a Level 1 shoot—a bit of the squabble I’d been missing these past two years. But the sun sinks behind Peak 6, and the snow turns flat and grey. “The light is still good, if anybody | FREESKIER ]

time—the ski patrol sleds have either blown a belt or are presumed missing at this point. I offer Superunknown winner Lucas StalMadison a ride down, and soon we’re bumping Guru’s Jazzmatazz, easing through the water bars at a speed that would have seemed ridiculous on the way up. There is a comfortable silence between us, not a rift, but a gap in years. He’s just had his first Level 1 park shoot experience, and I, one of my last. Everything is copacetic.


SHOP SPOTLIGHT

PHOTO: IAN COBLE LOCATION: VALDEZ, AK

SKI SHOP SPOTLIGHT Shops are an essential part of skiing culture. A ton of hoopla surrounds the latest and greatest gear every season and none of us can wait to get our hands on it. While the internet has put every product at our fingertips, you can’t discount the opportunity to try gear on while gaining insight from knowledgable shop employees before making those tough choices. Here are a few of our favorite places to do this.

Bryce Phillips, founder of evo, started selling gear as a youngster to fund his skiing addiction. In 2001 the scheme turned into a website and a vision of a different kind of retailer that would bring artists and athletes under one roof. In 2005, that retail space was born in Seattle and now, in its 11th year, evo just moved into a 25,500-square-foot facility, 50-percent larger than the previous storefront. Along with more space comes opportunity. “The new store enables us to go way above and beyond what we ever could before, creating a center for the ski and snowboard community focused around art,” says Phillips. “Our goal is to create a flexible space with a venue feel, allowing us to host events and showcase local artists, inside and outside of the store.” The new flagship store does just that by blending an art gallery with a retail floor that stocks hard and soft goods from too many manufacturers to list, while Skullcandy keeps the vibe going with a styled out sound system. A full-service tune shop is available for whatever you might need and while your gear gets worked on you can grab a bite to eat in one of the two restaurants on-site. The once-struggling indoor skate park underneath the space is currently being revamped and evo plans to unveil it to the public in the near future.

3500 STONE WAY N. SEATTLE, WA 98103 evo.com evo evogear

If you’re in the Seattle area, stop by the Fremont district for a huge selection of gear with a side-serving of culture. If not, check them out at evo.com. PG. 90

206-973-4470

[ SHOP SPOTLIGHT |

| FREESKIER ]


Located on Main St. in Breckenridge, CO, Slope Style breathes new life into the retail options available to shredders of the mountain town. To fill what the owners saw as a lack of options, they opened the 1,500-square-foot retail and tuning shop in 2011 to offer the brands and products that people wanted, but weren’t being offered. “We’re lucky to be surrounded by the best parks in the nation,” says co-owner Drew Van Gorder. “Breckenridge needed a ski shop for the park scene.” The store and website specialize in progressive freeskiing brands such as Armada, Orage, Saga and Full Tilt to name a few and carry all the hard and soft goods you might need. Their full service tune shop has a friendly and professional staff that is great at helping everybody from the novice looking for a quick tune to Bobby Brown swinging through to get his new boards mounted up. Feet hurt? Van Gorder and fellow owner Chris Krance both have MasterFit certifications and are happy to mold you a fresh pair of Intuition liners or tweak your boots to get the best performance. In fall months, Slope Style sponsors movie premieres in town to fuel the stoke and during events such as the Dew Tour they host autograph sessions in the shop with a laid back vibe to bring everybody together. Next time you’re in Breck, swing through and say hello or check them out online at slopestyle-ski.com.

110 S. MAIN STREET, UNIT A BRECKENRIDGE, CO 80424 slopestyle-ski.com SlopeStyleSki @slopestyle_ski 970-547-4417

[ FREESKIER |

| SHOP SPOTLIGHT ]

PG. 91


Location / Valdez AK Photo / SKS


SHOP SPOTLIGHT

Colorado FreeSkier opened its doors to the Crested Butte community in September of 2006. Three months later, ColoradoFreeSkier.com went live and they’ve been churning out happy customers ever since. The brick and mortar store, located slopeside at the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, has an intimate feel and specializes in progressive gear for both big-mountain and park skiers. The personable and knowledgeable staff lives and breathes skiing, with most days on the job involving about two hours on the hill, and this is the same staff who handles all of the online sales so you know they care as much about the gear as you do.

“Being a successful business is more than just sales,” says owner and recent World Champion Pond Skimmer, Gabe Martin. “It’s being part of the community, giving back and supporting those local events and people that make it a community.” In addition to sponsoring the sports teams of local area schools, Colorado FreeSkier is a gold level supporter of the Crested Butte Snowsports Foundation and also hosts the Big Air on Elk competition, an annual fundraiser held in the streets of Crested Butte. With great gear, personal service and community involvement, you can feel good about shopping at ColoradoFreeSkier.com.

coloradofreeskier.com ColoradoFreeSkier.CB

@CO_Freeskier 970-349-6664

LOCATION: IRWIN CAT SKIING, CO

32 CRESTED MOUNTAIN LANE MOUNT CRESTED BUTTE, CO 81225

PHOTO: TRENT BONA

The store is packed with everything from skis, boots and bindings to outerwear, accessories and collaboration gear, all of which are eligible for the “Shake Weight Discount”—ask about it next time you’re in. They’ve been doing collabs with Discrete for five years as well as Armada for three and are looking to do more in the future. If you already have the gear but it needs some love, check out their fullservice tune shop. It’s been named “Best Ski Tune” by The Crested Butte News’ local poll for as many years as they’ve been open.

PHOTO: TRENT BONA

COLORADO FREESKIER

[ FREESKIER |

| SHOP SPOTLIGHT ]

PG. 93


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

PHOTO: ABBOTT

PG. 094

[ GIFT GUIDE |

| FREESKIER ]


LIQUID

AGE EGO, WI-FIM I CAMERA $180____ liquidim ageco

GIRO

ONSET GOGGLE $150 ..................................................... giro.com The new Onset is the best goggle Giro has ever made. Crisp, clear optics provided by Carl Zeiss Vision and an abundance of peripheral vision served up by a precision full-size frame and Giro’s new EXV technology means that on-slope sight doesn’t get any better than this.

.com The pocket-sized EGO has built in Wi-Fi tra nsmission to iOS and Android Phones and Tablets. With a free app, the EGO can stream live view, transfer and vie w recorded files or act as a remote control. The camera has a 12 MP camera mode, HD1080P video at a rate up to 30 frames per second as well as the High Action mode of HD720P video at a rate up to 60 frames per sec ond. 

UNDER ARMOUR

RHYME STONE FLEECE $90 -––––– underarmour.com

Layering is essential to stay warm and comfortable out on the hill: Enter the Rhyme Stone hooded fleece. The piece is constructed from 96-percent polyester making it lightweight and breathable. The full-zip fleece has a smooth finish on the exterior making it an ideal midlayer that can also be used on its own on a hot spring day.

UNDER ARMOUR THE SANDMAN JACKET $225 - - - - - - - underarmour.com

Stay warm and dry while keeping a low-profile on the hill with Under Armour’s The Sandman jacket. Loose fitting and fairly lightweight, the jacket allows for comfortable movement without excess weight bogging you down. The Sandman is built with AmourStorm construction, giving the piece 10K/10K waterproof/ breathability, while ArmourZone insulation keeps you cozy on frigid days. Additionally, Under Armour threw in a stashable hood, goggle pocket, and powder skirt.

SNAP INFUSION

SUPERCANDY $2 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

snapinfusion.com

Snap Infusion has created the world’s first “supercandy,” a quick and delicious snack made from stuff you can feel good about devouring. Snap is packed with B vitamins to boost your energy; antioxidants to strengthen your immune system; and electrolytes to keep your body hydrated. Its true calling is to help you perform with an advanced degree of awesome. Performance never tasted so good.


ROSALIND GROENEWOUD PHOTO: COURTESY OF TARGET SAMMY CARLSON PHOTO: WILLIAMS

[ FREESKIER |

While most new skis are seen in fall Buyer’s Guides, Atomic is breaking the mold by pre-releasing its Infamous ski in January. To develop the Infamous, Atomic worked closely with Jossi Wells, Nicky Keefer, Lucas Stal-Madison and Frej Jonsson, “each who embody what the ski is all about,” says Atomic Brand Manager Kathryn Smith. The ski will be available in limited quantities at handpicked specialty retailers this winter. Visit atomic.com/infamous for more information.

Oakley launched its Airwave goggle—complete with Recon Instruments sensors, GPS and Bluetooth—to much fanfare on Halloween. The all-new, tech-enabled frame will retail for $600 at oakley.com and Apple retailers. In other recent tech goggle news, Zeal Optics has reduced the price of some Z3 GPS models—another Recon Instruments enabled piece—to $450. Zeal’s wide range of Recon GPS goggles are now priced between $450 and $649 and can be viewed at zealoptics.com. Smith Optics also introduced a Recon/GPS/Bluetooth version of its popular I/O goggle in November for $650, at smithoptics.com.

CORRECTION PHOTO COURTESY: MT. BACHELOR

Since joining APO skis last year, Sammy Carlson has been looking for a binding supplier, which he has recently found in Marker. Dakine also bolstered its fledgling outerwear team by adding PBP mainstay Mike Henitiuk. Dane Tudor has recently joined Scott Sports for skis and outerwear, having worn the company’s goggles for quite some time now.

INFAMOUS PHOTO: DARCY BACHA_ATOMIC

NOAH BOWMAN PHOTO: MILES HOLDEN / RED BULL CONTENT POOL

The biggest sponsorship news in the last month comes from our neighbors up north. First, X Games superpipe silver medalist Noah Bowman has signed on with Red Bull. “We’re really excited to welcome Noah to the Red Bull family,” says Red Bull Athlete Marketing Manager Fergie Cancade. “He’s a great addition to the team, and we are really looking forward for the things to come.” Noah joins Canadian Red Bull athletes Sean Pettit and Kaya Turski. Rosalind Groenewoud joins fellow pipe skiers Simon Dumont and Torin Yater-Wallace on the Target sponsorship program, stating she is “really lucky to partner with a brand that is so progressive.”

John Spriggs also joined Scott Sports but for helmets, goggles and poles, despite the company not having a rasta-inspired goggle. Muscle Care, purveyor of pain relief in gel and ointment form, has signed Tom Wallisch to its program. Corey Felton joined Salomon as a bevy of young talent—Nick Martini, Matt Walker, Noah Bowman, Vincent Gagnier and Leo Ahrens—re-signed with the brand. Paul Bergeron is the latest Quebecois to be picked up by Full Tilt boots. And GoPro found a new team manager in Dave Smidt, whose previous position at Monster Energy has yet to be filled at press time.

On page 72 of the November issue we listed Mt. Bachelor as our eighth overall resort, which is still true. Unfortunately, we wrote the resort was in Washington, when in fact it is obviously in Oregon. We apologize for the error. For more information on the Oregon resort, visit mtbachelor.com.

| WIRE ]

PG. 096


THE RULES:

This is a battle of two minds. No physical prowess necessary. Cheating not allowed. No Google, no Wikipedia, no smart friends. No set time limit, but don’t take forever, it’s not rocket science. Points are awarded at the discretion of Freeskier staff. In the event of a tie… well, it’s a tie. Winner does not move on, this is a one issue deal.

JIBARDY

THE

01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10.

CHALLENGE:

TODD

LIGARE

CHRIS

DAVENPORT

The infamous Air Jordan line on Whistler Mountain is accessed from what chair?

Oh man, I’ve been on the chair. Peak chair. [1 pt.]

How many elements are on the periodic table? (Closest to the answer)

My brother is a chemist so he’s gonna punch me If I miss this. 90? [1 pt.]

What film won the 2011 Oscar for Best Picture?

Black Swan? I don’t know if that would win best picture, though.

Hurt Locker? I don’t know.

Finish the line: “I wear my sunglasses at night, so I can, so I can…”

[sings “I wear my sunglasses at night”] ...Impress everybody?

[hums the song] Keep track of the visions in my eyes. [1 pt.]

Name the last three Field Productions movies. Which is the more powerful explosive, TNT or dynamite?

This is embarrassing; I’m gonna kick myself afterwards. Eye See? Aren’t they the same? Dynamite. [1 pt.]

What is the waist width of the Blizzard Cochise? (Closest to the answer)

115.

What is the radius of Chernobyl’s exclusion zone? (Closest to the answer)

Five miles… no, five kms.

When did Killington Ski Resort open? (Closest to the answer) Where is the lowest known depth on earth recorded? Bonus: Where is it located?

EL

Maybe, um, 1969. Mariana’s Trench. That would be in the Pacific. [2 pts.]

5 pts.

WINNER:

Peak chair. [1 pt.] Oh man… 36?

I can’t even name the last three movies I was in. Aren’t they the same thing? TNT. 110. [1 pt.] 30 km. [1 pt.] Let’s see, it wasn’t one of the really early ones. 1954. [1 pt.] That would be the Challenger Deep in the Western Pacific. [2 pts.]

7pts.

ANSWERS: 01. Peak chair. 02. 118. 03. The King’s Speech. 04. Multiple answers. 05. Being There, Side by Side, Eyes Wide Open. 06. Dynamite. 07. 108 cm. 08. 30 kms. 09. Dec. 13, 1958. 10. Mariana’s Trench/Challenger Deep. Bonus: Pacific Ocean. PG. 098

[ JIBARDY |

| FREESKIER ]


Photo: Matt Berkowitz

T N E D N E P E IND SINCE 1924 SEN JOSS CHRISTEN

THE CHOSEN ONE The GURU is Fischer’s flagship park ski and the choice of US Freesking Team athletes Joss Christensen and Ashley Battersby. It’s sandwich sidewall, wood core construction allows the Guru to be a top performer from the groomers, to laps through the park or pipe, to the podium.

SKI: Guru, BOOT: Vacuum 130

fischersports.com


“It’s always sunny in California. We were in Mammoth for a Monster Energy photoshoot and had a nice day on our hands. Basically I like to have fun, even on down days, so I took a trip to Ralph Lauren and picked myself up a nice matching Hawaiian shirt and shorts, grabbed a mai tai from the bar, and we were ready for a day at the beach. Of course, my drink spilled and I had to go get a new one. As warm as I look, it was freezing. Thanks to Nate, Davey and Todd for helping get this shot.” —Peter Olenick PG. 100

[ FINAL THOUGHT |

| FREESKIER ]

Freeskier (ISSN 1522-1527) is published six times a year: Buyer’s Guide, October, November, December, January and February by Storm Mountain Publishing Company, PO Box 789, Niwot, CO 80544-0789. Subscription rates in the U.S. are $9.95 for one year (6 issues). In Canada, $29.95 (includes 7% GST); other foreign $39.95 payable in U.S. funds. Periodicals postage paid at Niwot, CO and additional mailing offices (USPS# 024094). Standard postage paid at St. Cloud, MN (USPS #65). POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Freeskier, PO Box 469024, Escondido, CA 92046

SKIER: PETER OLENICK PHOTO: NATE ABBOTT LOCATION: MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN, CA

“When the weather turned bad during the annual Monster Energy team shoot, I wanted to lay around all day watching TV. Peter, however, decided that, despite the 120 mph gusts and well below zero temperatures, he would have a mai tai and enjoy the spring weather. He forced me to bring all my camera gear out to ‘get a photo,’ but I think he just needed to ice his knee and couldn’t find our hotel’s ice machine.” —Nate Abbott


Freeskier Magazine - 2013 Photo Annual  

Our Photo Annual brings the best photos in skiing together in one issue for your viewing pleasure.

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