Abu-BaghdadiThe level that Stept, Level 1, Good Company film at. That type of skiing is not fun in the moment. There's satisfaction once you get the shot, but I would be very surprised if any pro in those crews came in and said "I have fun constantly failing a feature to get a shot".
And I don't know much about a pro skiers contract, but it would stand with reason that the better someone does in comps, the more money they get paid. The amount an athlete is paid is determined on how well they sell a product. And if you see that ski on the X games podium, chances are you're going out to buy that ski, or that ski brand. It's known as brand recognition, it's marketing 101. Nick Goepper isn't used to sell Volkl Walls to NS, he's used so that the average skier will see Volkl, and recognise volkl as a top tier brand. Same in the race sector of our sport. How many race skis do you think Lindsey Vonn sells? Chances are it's low. But how much brand recognition do you think Head gets from her podiumming? This is evident in every industry, racing. Mercadis isn't producing an F1 car in hopes someone will buy an F1 car, they're producing it in hopes of positive brand recognition. Why do you think red bull sponsors every athlete and their dog? Brand recognition.
Brand recognition I would argue is alot more important than trying to sell a single type of ski to a single group of people. I remember a freeskiier survery a few years back and one of the questions was "why did you buy your ski" and one of the top answers was "saw a pro using it" Now I doubt an old man is buying Armada because he wants to be cool like Henrik, I say he would buy Armada because he associates it with a top tier ski.
I don't understand how you can categorically say that type of skiing 'isn't fun'. I don't enjoy skiing big jumps. I wouldn't even consider saying that nobody does because I know they do. I know plenty of skiers who ski urban at the top level and enjoy doing it. I've been there, on big urban shoots, they enjoy what they are doing. Not all the time, exclusively. It fucking blows when you crash and get hurt but plenty of guys love it and have fun doing it.
You're 100% right about brand recognition, but it only works as long as a brand sees value. How many car brands have pulled out of F1 because they decided it wasn't worth the expenditure for example. There is no question that the big (ski) brands and big money are moving away from freeskiing competition as a source of brand recognition. By which I mean that ski brands are losing faith in freeskiing contests as a marketing exercise. I imagine because the skiing your average punter envisions himself doing and the skiing he see's in X-Games don't really equate in his mind, where as racing is much easier to relate to but I have no proof of that.
We haven't reached a critical situation yet, but I can think of at least 5 guys who've podiumed at X Games, Olympics or Dew tour recently who can't find a clothing/ski sponsor. At the same time, I can think of a lot of big ski brands who's highest paid freeski riders don't prioritize competitions. Your stance is that comp skiing pushes skiing the furthest, and in one direction, I agree with you. But in terms of profitability for both brands and skiers, that doesn't seem to be what the evidence suggests.
This thread isn't meant to be about this, so I'm going to leave it at that. It's a good discussion and a very important one for the industry. If you fancy it, maybe write something about it or start a thread and the discussion could be better placed there.