Over the past 24 hours, the internet has been buzzing with posts, threads, and articles about the recently landed snowboarding quad corks. From what I have seen, especially on this website, much of these posts have been that of hate. We all want to protect and preserve the sport we love, but I've laid out a few points on why I think our sport is going to be just fine.
THE DANGER FACTOR
One of the major arguments against quads has been the danger associated with them, and how it will impact those currently participating in the sport as well as newcomers in the future. The argument suggests that quads will push the sport to a point where it is a hazard just to participate in, and to where it looks so dangerous, kids on the outside will not see it as something they ever have a chance at being good at.
Triples and quads are going to be a real factor for people competing at the highest level. At the bigger events like Xgames big air, we will see these tricks unleashed. The people at the top of the sport are likely to have to learn some of these tricks if they want to stay there. This realization has sparked fear, and caused some of these pros to send out a backlash against quads.
This backlash however isn't much different than something seen in MotoX freestyle when the backflips came in.
In the early 2000s the backflip was a game changer in freestyle motorcross. It was something many pros had feared for years and it was something that they either needed to learn, or to step aside. Some people spoke out against the backflip, and felt it would ruin the sport, yet over a decade later the sport is still healthy and bigger than ever.
Some of the biggest names posting about the recent quads, mentioned that the sport as a whole was at risk. In reality, the amount of people throwing triples or quads, even doubles, is a very small percent of the sport. Another piece they seem to overlook is how inviting our terrain parks have become in the last 10 to 15 years.
We have moved farther away from features like this
And shown a huge embrace for smaller features like this
Sure there are still some of the most technical rails being put in, but the trend has been to lower those features closer to the ground. This change has given people more technical features while lowering the consequence and making them more trickable.
At the same time there has also been a change in jump building. Some common building methods have been embraced across the board giving us much more consistently safe and fun jumps. In addition to building better jumps, there has been a huge increase in smaller jumps where the rider is low to the ground and only has to travel 3 or 4 feet to land in the sweet spot.
These changes have made terrain park skiing vastly more accessible to the masses. This is a huge 180 from the days where the smallest jump in the park might be 20 feet and the shortest rail a similar length single tube. That was a situation that would easily frustrate people from participating in the freestyle side of the sport. Even if you conquered your fear and gave it a shot, you could easily get wrecked first time through, and instantly write off freestyle skiing forever.
In addition to building safer, and more progression oriented parks, there have been several advances in training options in recent years. The Mt Hood and Whistler summer camps are bigger are bigger than ever, offering some of the best parks, coaching, and progressive experience. We have huge facilities such as the Woodwards, Ohio Dreams, Liberty Snowflex, and other water ramp/tramp facilities. More mountains have invested in bag jumps, as well as some companies bringing them on tour to different mountains for a few days at a time.
Sure people will be throwing triples and quads, but take a moment the next time you are in a terrain park and really look around. Double corks have been around for years, triples and quads are now happening, yet they have not polluted park skiing in the way that people seem to think. These tricks exist, I have seen several doubles in parks over the years, but for the most part I see people having fun with their friends lapping the park in the 720 and under range. The same with the risk factor, the vast majority of people participating in the sport have never and will never even try a double. I fail to see why we need to push this hysteria as if from now on park skiing will only be about triples and quads. That is simply an inaccurate description of both where the sport is and where it is heading.
COMPETITIONS ARE FOREVER RUINED
Another major argument is that competitions have now been forever ruined.
This is an argument that's been around since doubles came into the picture, hell even since people started spinning 1080's and 1260's. Ski big air, and ski slopestyle are going to suck to watch now because it is going to be triple triple triple all day long. While I do have to say, I much prefer stylish singles, doubles, and even regular spins, I don't think this is going to ruin the sport either. In recent years there has been a huge push in creative and stylish skiing. Some of these skiers are no longer making edits of how fast they can huck themselves but how creative they can use different park and urban features. I feel that as major competition goes more and more into the spin to win realm, we will see more events popping up that are all about style. Events like B&E, Nine Knights and others where the setups are insanely creative. Even the rail sections at some of these major comps have grown to be very interesting the last few years.
I feel as though these new tricks will simply push skiing to split off into different facets. The sport has grown to the point where it is okay for there to be several different aspects such as what we see in skateboarding.
Skiing is a sport we love, has changed our lives, and we wish to preserve for the future. I think we have lost site of the fact that freestyle skiing is an open sport. There are several different ways to participate in it, and that's what makes it so much fun these days. Skiing has grown massively in recent years, and with that growth comes some branching off. That is not a sure sign of the apocalypse but simply a healthy part of growing. For some people, skiing one particular way becomes stagnant, and when this happens they begin to change things up and open new doors. Sure, the Xgames might not be as fun to watch for some people at this point, but there are plenty of new areas that have opened up in skiing that might be.
While other people are posting videos of aerials I'll leave you with this. A great example of why you can't put skiing into a box. There are always new ways to approach it, and that's why I feel that freestyle skiing will be just fine in the future.