Who To Follow: Instagram

In a sport that’s still relatively young, such as freeskiing, social media can be crucial in its rise to the mainstream. Make it to instagram’s discover page and you could gain thousands of new fans. The best of these young athletes know how to work this new marketing tool to their advantage and do so in an amazing fashion. So in this sparkly new social media age who is worthy of that sacred follow? Here are five of my top picks:

    • Joss Christensen: @joss

Winter X Games: Aspen

With ski season getting in to full effect I can’t help but get excited for my all time favorite weekend: Winter X Games Aspen. This season during the weekend of January 28-31 Aspen will fill up with winter sports enthusiasts. The sponsor houses will be crawling with athletes and musical guests and every night there will be a new party to attend. It is a complete whirlwind and extremely exhausting, but worth every minute. Since we’re only a month out I decided it was time I wrote down just a few brief tips for a newcomer to X Games Aspen.

  1. Get there early…or get a pass!
    • Aspen is absolutely insane during X Games. There are people everywhere and they’re all trying to see the exact same thing as you! We get it, you love Bobby Brown with all your heart. Well, so does every other girl packed in like sardines in the freezing cold. If you really want to get a good view I suggest you get to the big events plenty early. You’re going to be out in the elements for quite a while so make sure you bundle up and bring plenty of hand warmers! Another way to ensure you get a great view of all the action is to acquire a guest or media pass. This will get you right up to the front of the competition, but can be a little tricky to come by.

      Winter X Guest Pass
      Photo: Mary Genova
  2. Plan ahead!
    • The Official X Games website offers a great in-person schedule that details all of the events(including musical acts) going on each day! This is a wonderful tool to help you plan out each day so that you see everything and everyone on your list! Make sure you’re also following your favorite athletes and brands on social media to keep up to date on their signings and events throughout the weekend.

      Winter X Halfpipe 2012
      Photo: Mary Genova
  3. Take advantage of the deals!
    • Aspen is not cheap my friends. BUT, during X Games there are many ways to make it affordable. First off, the event itself is free! That means you get free access to not only the competition but to the X Games festival villages and music performances as well. On top of that, many local spots offer deals during the weekend and the mountain itself offers special lift ticket pricing. Be on the lookout for a full guide on how to tackle Winter X on a college budget.

      Hannah's BDAY Bash Invite
      Photo: Mary Genova
  4. Have fun!
    • The most important tip I could ever give you. There is a reason the Winter X Games hold such a special place in my heart. I cannot think of a time where I have had more fun in just one weekend. This weekend in Aspen could be one of the greatest of your life if you let it!

      Ellen, Bobby, and Mary at Winter X 2012
      Photo: Mary Genova

A Tale of Two Cities: Balancing My Passions

If you could split your time evenly between two places, and two places only, which would these be?

Source: A Tale of Two Cities

The answer to this question actually comes quite easily to me as I have thought about it quite a bit. This is because I have two very distinct passions in my life. The first being freeskiing, the topic this blog is dedicated to, and the second being scuba diving. Luckily my two passions translate wonderfully into physical locations. On a large scale my love for freeskiing can be seen as a manifestation of my love for the mountains and my love for scuba diving as a love for the oceans. Now, I realize that those are two very large physical locations and not cities at all, but they make choosing my two cities extremely simple.

Continue reading “A Tale of Two Cities: Balancing My Passions”

Ski Films: My Favorites

Ski films are a massive part of freeskiing. They give skiers a chance to show out, push boundaries, and have tons of fun in the process. Skiers team up with production companies and together they create something incredible. Every ski movie is different and everyone has a different favorite.

Personally, I find it very hard to pick just one. So here is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my favorites:

Mary’s Top 3 (in no particular order, because ranking them seemed near impossible):

Attack of La Niña from Matchstick Productions(MSP)
Attack of La Niña was released in 2011 following one of the deepest and most brutal winters North America has seen in recent memory. While it seems to be missing from many favorites lists it has an extremely special place on mine as the first ever freeskiing film I had ever seen. I had already been falling deeply in love with every aspect of the sport, but MSP’s beautiful film was the final piece solidifying my obsession. Attack of La Niña transitions from backcountry to park to urban and back again flawlessly offering something for everyone. Sean Petit, Mark Abma, Rory Bushfield, Alex Schlopy, Bobby Brown, Gus Kenworthy, and Colby James West (among many others) push their skiing to the limits and it is flawless. I will never forget the feeling I had after watching Attack of La Niña for the first time, and then the subsequent feeling I got watching it the next million times over and over again. Available on iTunes.

Attack of La Niña Trailer HD from mspfilms on Vimeo.

The Eighty Six from Stept Productions
Released in 2012, The Eighty Six showcases the insanity of urban skiing and “guerilla filmmaking.” Stept shows the reality of obstacles faced in this sport like run-ins with law enforcement, injuries, and parents. Clayton Villa’s session at the Denver Broncos stadium is fascinating and just one of the many facets that make this film a fan favorite. Sean Jordan, Cam Riley, Shea Flynn and many more lend their skiing to this masterpiece. Available on iTunes.

The Eighty Six Trailer – Stept Productions from Stept Productions on Vimeo.

Sunny from Level 1
It is very rare that Level 1 releases anything that I don’t immediately fall in love with, but their 2013 film Sunny stand above the rest. After taking home numerous awards, including Best Editing titles from the Powder Awards, iF3, and Coldsmoke; Sunny became an instant classic. Everything about Sunny is a complete injection of happy and is near impossible not to love. Tom Wallisch, Wiley Miller, Tim McChesney and many others are featured in the mood-lifting hit. Available on iTunes.

Sunny Official Trailer from Level 1 on Vimeo.

What is Downhill From Here?

The purpose of Downhill From Here is to shine a spotlight on the uniquely amazing sport of  freeskiing. Downhill From Here is for veterans and newbies alike! I hope to give newcomers insight into all of the inner workings, terminology, and history of the sport. Downhill From Here will act as a sort of Freeskiing 101 to those wanting to get informed. And for those already well acquainted with freeskiing Downhill From Here will strive to keep you informed on everything happening in the freeskiing world. Providing readers with a fresh, new perspective on competitions, edits, gear, athletes, and more. Most importantly, this blog will act to share my love for freeskiing and hopefully impart some of that love onto you, the readers.

AFP World Rankings: An Explanation

In the world of freeskiing there is only one definitive ranking system, the AFP World Rankings. Now you might be asking yourself: What is the AFP and why should I care about their ranking system? If that’s the case, don’t worry I’ve got you covered.

The AFP, or The Association of Freeskiing Professionals, is the association formed by athletes and ski industry professionals to represent freeskiing on a global level. They act as THE single, unified voice of competitive freeskiing athletes. Their goal is to improve and boost the sport of freeskiing into mainstream consumption. The commitment to consistent, credible judging and competition has been key to the success of the AFP. Due to this credibility, the AFP was key in helping halfpipe and slopestyle skiing gain acceptance into the Olympics. Each year an extensive, worldwide schedule of AFP sanctioned events is organized and presented as the AFP World Tour.

The extensive network of events that is the AFP World Tour makes the AFP World Rankings possible. Because the AFP World Tour consists of many different AFP sanctioned events and is not tied to a singular series, tour, or event a truly unbiased world ranking is achieved. There are different event levels making it possible for skiers at every level to participate in competition. These rankings range from small bronze-level regional competitions to the extremely large-scale platinum-level events like the X Games and the Dew Tour. The results from these AFP sanctioned competitions are used to calculate the AFP World Rankings. The ranking is calculated as a points system with each event result being assigned AFP points based on its sanctioning level. So doing well at a higher-level competition will earn you more AFP points than at a low level event.

The AFP Rankings are calculated over a 52-week season and result in the naming of a World Champion at the end of each season. A World Champion is named for both men and women, in the disciplines halfpipe, slopestyle, big air and overall. The rankings are a rolling system and calculated for each discipline as follows:

Overall Rankings:

MEN: Top 2 HP Results + Top 2 SS Results + Top 1 BA Result + next highest result
WOMEN: Top 3 Halfpipe Results + Top 3 Slopestyle Results

Halfpipe, Slopestyle, and Big Air Rankings:

Top 4 results in each discipline for both Men’s and Women’s

The First

Welcome all…to a blog dedicated entirely to freeskiing, and run by a girl stuck in the south trying to navigate her way back to the mountains. Since I can’t be in the backcountry or the park this season, blogging about everything I’m missing seems like the only way to channel my obsession.

I’ve come to a few realizations living far from any snowfall. The first being that if you express your love for all things cold, wintery, and ski related, the most polite response you might get is a blank stare. Second on the list is that the mention of skiing to the general public can be quite polarizing. Two images come to mind: the immediate thought of being towed behind a high powered speed boat on a hot summers day with nothing but two planks keeping you out of the water OR that one trip to Breckenridge for your family reunion/church youth retreat/spring break with friends/etc when you almost broke your neck after “nailing those turns” during a half day of ski school… We all know this trip. If we haven’t taken some version of it ourselves we’ve relived it through the countless stories from friends who “tore it up” on the slopes. While these two images are completely fine ideas of what skiing is to many people, for me, they just don’t cut it.

Freeskiing is rarely what comes to mind when the broad (and sometimes confusing) topic of “skiing”comes up. For many people, this blog might be the first you’re hearing about the term. If that is the case, let’s take a moment to establish some sort of definition for this new term, freeskiing.

Freeskiing, sometimes referred to as New School Skiing, is a facet of skiing that utilizes tricks, jumps, and terrain park features (rails, boxes, and other obstacles) in a number of different settings. Freeskiing can occur practically anywhere with popular locales including urban environments, terrain parks, and the endless expanse of the backcountry. A well known ski writer, Mike Rogge, described freeskiing as simply “skiing freely, anywhere, any place and on any terrain you want to ski on.” Some athletes choose to ski in competitions on slopestyle courses and halfpipes while others choose to ski handrails and makeshift jumps in abandoned buildings and parks. Both are integral parts of freeskiing and what makes the sport so uniquely riveting.

Now, if you’re already familiar with the sport, you might be thinking “What are you talking about? Freeskiing is an Olympic sport! The X Games are internationally televised every year! People know about freeskiing.” Well, you’re right. There’s no denying freeskiing has made a major push into mainstream consumption in recent years. In 2014, freeskiing made its’ Olympic debut with both men’s and women’s halfpipe and slopestyle competitions taking place during the Winter Olympics held in Sochi. With that being said, freeskiing is still a relatively new sport that many members of the general public have extremely limited (if any) knowledge of. They have no idea what they’re missing and they’re the exact reason I started this blog.

My main goal for this blog is to bring freeskiing to the attention of anyone willing to embrace it. If just one person picks up an interest in this wonderful sport this blog will have fulfilled its purpose. Now, that’s not to say that if you already love freeskiing this blog isn’t for you! I plan on inundating this platform with all things newschool. What I hope to offer is a fresh take on competitions, edits, gear, athletes, you name it! This blog can be your one stop shop for freeskiing from the perspective of a 22 year old University of Alabama sorority girl with a serious love for all aspects of the freeskiing lifestyle.

Well, it seems I’ve run out of steam and this is the end of my first blog post. You could say I’ve made it up the lift and really it’s all downhill from here.