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.

Gear Review: Armada ARW 2016

When it comes to women’s skis there has been a recurring trend, famously called “pink it and shrink it,” where companies are doing just that, taking their men’s ski adding a “girly” design and decreasing the size. This just doesn’t cut it. Thankfully the wonderful people at Armada agree. Enter their flagship women’s ski the Armada ARW.

The ARW is the ski used by Armada’s X Game level women. This ski is intended for use in the park but is a great all-mountain ski. The control and power of the ARW are a testament to its construction. Armada opted to use their hybrid carbon and wood core, as they do with their mens ski, this amped up the durability and control. The flex is on the moderate side. Below you can see the flex pattern of the ARW with 1 being the softest and 10 being stiffest. The only issue with the ARW is that they only come in two sizes, 161 cm and 166 cm.

arwflex
Image: evo.com

The graphics on the ARW’s top sheet are really incredible. They used real flowers placed on a chalkboard to create an image of a skeleton and then photographed and digitally enhanced it. Armada has managed to create a graphic with a distinctly feminine feel while staying away from all of the cliche ideas of what makes a “girly” design.

armada-arw-skis-women-s-2016-161
Image: evo.com

 

AFP World Ranking Update

One of the biggest events in the world of freeskiing, the Dew Tour took place this weekend. This, along with the first stop of the USASA Revolution Tour and it’s halfpipe qualifiers mean that there have been a few changes to the AFP World Ranking. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my previous post explaining the rankings. If you’re all up to speed you can see a breakdown of how the disciplines and overall rankings have changed.

Men’s Slopestyle:
After a second consecutive win at Dew Tour, Gus Kenworthy moved up one position from 5th to 4th. Jossi Wells took home the silver medal after a great weekend of competition and made a 9 spot jump from 16th to 7th. In third place, Fabian Bosch made a significantly large leap of 42 spots, taking him from 63rd to 21st. Robby Franco finds himself in the Top 2o after rising from 21st to 19th and Teal Harle has moved into the Top 10. The top 3 spots in the rankings still remain with Joss Christensen, Bobby Brown, and James “Woodsy” Woods after their Dew Tour finishes of fourth, sixth, and fifth respectively.

Women’s Slopestyle:
Kelly Sildaru’s big victory at the Dew Tour this weekend has moved from 8th to 5th. After placing second Tiril Christiansen has moved from 3rd to 2nd. Emma Dahlstrom retains her 1st place position after taking home the bronze medal. A fourth place finish takes Johanne Killi from 15th to 8th in the rankings. Other notable movements in the Top 20 include Silvia Bertagna who finished 12th at Dew Tour and moved from 9th to 7th and Coline Ballet-Baz  who moved from 16th to 12th after finishing eleventh. Lisa Zimmermann has made her way into the Top 20 jumping 24 spots from 42nd to 18th, after finishing ninth at the Dew Tour.

Men’s Halfpipe:
With the Dew Tour,the ASAPA Revolution Halfpipe Qualifiers, and the first official stop of the U.S. Revolution Tour all taking place this weekend there has been quite a bit of movement in the halfpipe rankings. David Wise’s victory at the Dew Tour keeps him in 2nd position, while Beau-James Wells’ huge second place finish bumped him from 21st to 14th. Alex Ferreira rounded out the podium and rose 3 spots from 6th to 3rd. Finishing just shy of the podium in fourth was Kevin Rolland. He remains in 1st. Byron Wells 5th place finish earned him a one spot bump from 8th to 7th. Both Kris Atkinson and Jacob Beebe have entered the Top 20 in the 18th and 19th spots, respectively. At the USASA Revolution Tour Halfpipe Qualifiers Sammy Schuiling’s win took him from 70th to 68th. In second and third were Jasper Donley (now 74th) and Sam Ward (now 78th). And finally at the first official stop of the U.S. Revolution Tour, Kwang-Jin Kim picked up the win and a six spot jump, taking him from 36th to 30th. Gisler Joel makes no move from 128th after placing second and Alexander Yeadon rounded off the podium in third bumping him up 15 spots from 51st to 36th.

Women’s Halfpipe:
There is a new leader in the Women’s Halfpipe Rankings! Ayana Onozuka’s Dew Tour win allowed her to move into the top spot. Cassie Sharpe is up 3 spots, from 7th to 4th, after taking home second place. Brita Sigourney earned a one spot bump into 5th with her third place performance. Janina Kuzma just missed the podium placing fourth but has moved up into 2nd place in the rankings. Other notable movements as a result of the Dew Tour were Sabrina Cakmakli moving into the 8th spot and both Marie Martinod and Isabelle Hanssen moving into the Top 20. Marie jumping an impressive 14 spots from 23rd to 9th and Isabelle rising from 22nd to 18th. Abigale Hansens victory at the U.S. Revolution Tour along with her eleventh place finish at the Dew Tour keep her in 40th. A win at the USASA Revolution Tour Halfpipe Qualifiers has Svea Irving in 65th.

Overall:
In the Men’s Overall Rankings, Gus Kenworthy and Jossi Wells hold on to first and second, Beau-James Wells moves into the Top 3 from 7th, and a one spot bump has moved Taylor Wilson up into 4th. In the Women’s Overall Rankings, Devin Logan remains in the top spot, Kelly Sildaru is just out of the Top 3 at 4th after her one spot rise, Ayana Onozuka is up from 11th to 8th, and Isabell Hanssen moved up five spots into 9th.

Men's Overall Rankings leaders Jossi Wells (2nd) and Gus Kenworthy (1st) during the Dew Tour Men's Slopestyle Final. / Photo: Dave Bergthold
Men’s Overall Rankings leaders Jossi Wells (2nd) and Gus Kenworthy (1st) during the Dew Tour Men’s Slopestyle Final. Photo: Dave Bergthold

“Send It to the Moon”: Sammy Carlson’s New World Record

Pushing boundaries, taking chances, daring to go “where no man has gone before..” This is the essence of freeskiing, the very foundation it was built on.

This week we see these core tenants put into action by none other than Sammy Carlson. Sammy, while filming a segment for his newly released film with action sports media company Teton Gravity Research (TGR), The Sammy C Project, set out to hit the largest ski jump in the Western Hemisphere. This jump, Michigan’s Copper Peak, was built in 1970 as a long jump for “ski-flying” and hasn’t seen use in 20 years. It was the perfect jump for Sammy to, as he puts it, “send it to the moon.”

Sammy is no newcomer to freesking. He is a 7-time X Games medalist and has been known to be a leader in the progression of the sport. Even after taking a step back from competition in 2014 he still finds a way to impress us all and garner accolade’s by taking home 3 consecutive X Games Real Ski Backcountry gold medals. Sammy’s session on Copper Peak will help him add to his lengthy list of accomplishments and secure him a spot in the record books as the first and only skier to hit this type of jump with freestyle intent. Copper Peak is intended for the straight airs of ski jumping so the spinning and flips of freeskiing is already something this jump has never seen, but Sammy takes it a step further by approaching many of his tricks switch, or backwards (if you are unfamiliar with ski terminology).

To set the scene and help express just how gnarly this jump is here are a few figures: Copper Peaks is a daunting 24 stories. It boasts a 364 ft. vertical drop and a 35° in-run. Distance records from this jump are over 500 feet. Simply put, this jump is massive and to hit it is a major feat alone, but to do it with steaze (a term used in action sports meaning style and ease) like Sammy’s is incredibly impressive. TGR’s co-founder Steve Jones highlighted this saying: “The jump is truly enormous. Hitting a gap this big in general takes significant confidence and skill, not to mention spinning from its lip or dropping in switch. Sammy is unbeatable when it comes to skiing like this.” I could not agree with him more, right now you would be hard-pressed to find someone consistently pushing the limit like Sammy.

“The Sammy C” project premiered in November and is available on iTunes, Google play, and Amazon now! For the official trailer and more information on “The Sammy C Project” check out www.thesammycproject.com.