An Article and Infographic Posters by:
Chris Neltner - Graphic Designer
Freestyle skiing has a very unique look. We are a community with a history of being different. We possess different views, values, and experiences. We as a community have grown and prospered due to our defining attributes.
One of the defining traits of the freestyle community is our attire choices. Even within our own community there is great variety. This variety amongst the community brings flavor to the collective, but variety can also bring prejudice. One's abilities and contributions to the community can often be squandered just because of their differing attire choices. These prejudices can and have led to the segregation of our community. People want to associate and befriend those who look alike. These tendencies prevent the community from truly coming together and benefitting from each other's experience.
The root of style choices are not primarily based on the user's attitude or character, but rather their inspirations and goals. The range of styles can be summarized in three groups, with small amounts of people who associate with a hybrid of the style groups or none of the style groups. The three main styles are categorized here as: Thug, Average, and Hesh.
Thug skiers are categorized as skiers who love wearing baggy clothing. Their clothes often are sized XL or bigger. but to understand why these skiers wear what they wear, you first must question what their goals and inspirations are. Thug skiers agree their favorite era of freestyle skiing was somewhere around 2007-2011. During this time period Jon Brogan was holding the spot light of attention. His edits had exceptional style mixed with the "thug" beats of Lil Wayne and gear most likely in the 5XL range. It could be argued Jon Brogan was an inspiration for this group, which potentially could have led this group to dress like him.
Average skiers are categorized as skiers who put importance in gear that fits well and functions. Their clothes are sized appropriately to their body size. But why do these skiers feel the need for their gear to be as functional as possible? These skiers seemed to show trends of being all around skiers. They skied mountain, backcountry, and park. With such a wide variety of types of terrain it only makes sense that these skiers needs gear to function as best as it can in all cases. Wearing a 4XL hoodie while sagging your pants may not be conducive to powering through deep powder and keeping you dry the entire day. So a need for gear to amend these possible issues is much more feasible.
Hesh skiers are categorized as skiers who enjoy slim fitting and unique gear. Their clothes, especially snow pants, tend to be "skinny" while their upper body gear may consist of a piece of clothing not necessarily associated with skiing. Just like the thug skiers, let us ask what are their goals and inspirations. Many hesh skiers said their favorite skiers are Ian Compton and Jossi Wells. Both of these skiers have a hesh-like style. But why do these pro's have such a style? They could possibly be tired of the baggy trend in gear and be perpetrating a new style. Their choice could reflect other interests out of skiing. In the surveys, many hesh skiers admitted to also skateboarding and enjoying skater like styles. One could argue the skateboarding community has stylistic influence upon this group.
With such a broad and interesting dynamic amongst the community it is a shame that there is such prejudice viewable on hill and in the Newschoolers forums. As a community we need to value others' differences. Without their experience we cannot tell the full story of the freestyle skiing community. So we should focus on appreciating what others bring to the table and understanding what inspires them to participate in our sport. Because at the end of the day WE SKI.