Countdown To Aspen

I’m starting to feel as though the days are growing longer due to my anticipation, because the countdown to Aspen has begun! The Winter X Games are quickly approaching! We’re 1 month away! 31 days! I can feel the anticipation rising.

Make sure to get all your ducks in a row and don’t forget to finalize your schedules so you don’t miss out on a single thing! I suggest checking out the 2016 Invited Athletes list to see if and when your favorite athlete will be competing this January! This year’s X Games Music is sure to be unforgettable with performances from Nas/Run The Jewels, DJ Snake, deadmau5, Twenty One Pilots, and Kygo!

If you can’t make it out to Aspen not to worry, there is plenty going down on ESPN, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram to keep you right in the action all weekend.

In person or from your couch this is one event you don’t want to miss!

Halfpipe2012
Watch from the slopes or from home! Photo: Mary Genova

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

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 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.