This year, I got myself more involved in freeskiing culture than ever. Instead of just hanging with friends and lapping the park or secret pow stashes, I had the opportunity to get some photo's, video, meet some professionals and aspiring amateurs and overhear more of what goes on behind the beautiful and extreme face of this sport.
Its a god-damned travesty. X is pissed at Y for screwing them over mostly petty shit, trash talk, huge clashing ego's and "us" vs "them" rivalries. I'm not naming any names, and its not just a few certain people either. Its the general attitude that has been saddening and enraging me over the last few months of the season. The more involved and integrated into the culture of the sport I love, the more I almost long to back out and ski by myself, out of sight from our "core". Through all of it, I have found myself more frequently asking "Where are all the skiers who are just stoked to be skiing?"
Freeskiing is losing touch with its soul I fear. Back in the day (fuck I sound old), you didn't ski to get sponsored. Freestyle wasnt a career, and and you paid to get to ski. You just skied, and pushed your own limits and the sport by itself. Not for money, fame, a contract, a culture. Theres a difference between skiing for both the thrill and the money, and just skiing because sponsored or not, you love it and would do the same shit regardless. This sport has become more about the industry rather than the actual sport. You have to land that trick and win that contest not to push the sport and yourself, but also to get that contract and get sponsored and famous. Its created a magical barrier separating "Pro" from "You" when there totally shouldnt be.
In this sport, we shouldnt be respecting and ranking people on how they do in contests or the thickness of their trick dictionary. I give my respect to people who are just happy to be skiing, whether they be sponsored, can throw switch misty 9's or are just learning how to get down the bunny hill. Because when I'm skiing, thats all I care about, all I think about, and no matter the weather, what I stomp, or who I ride with, I'm happier clicked in than anywhere else. Somehow, I guess people forget that.
Having an industry should be considered a luxurious extravagance to this sport. Not a lynchpin. Its the dominance of this industry over the riders and actual skiing that I fear may be killing what I love about our sport. Past all the drama, deceit, disputes, everyone just needs to realize that we should all be friends. For each of us has that rare quirk that somehow makes them love life no better than when skiing. There neednt to be rivalries except the friendly sort that pushes the sport further. Real life is complicated and difficult as it is, so please, dont turn the one thing so many of us use to escape the madness into the same.
Its in all of ours hands. I hope we realize what our sport should be.