So I watched a bunch of video from the recent Dew Tour halfpipe comp, which was held at Breckenridge over the weekend (Dec. 2011).
OK, first things first: These skiers' tricks are really, really technical. There's no denying it. They're spinning both ways; they're hitting both walls switch; they're doing two or three doubles in each run; they're even doing switch doubles. None of this was commonplace four years ago.
But I gotta admit, just because you grab your skis when you're throwing a trick, and just because you wear baggy outerwear and listen to your iPod during your run doesn't mean you have style. And sadly, I saw very little style throughout the skiers' halfpipe runs.
So what's it mean to have style anyway? Freeskiers, snowboarders, surfers and skateboarders have only been talking about it for decades now. Somebody has it, and they're the shit; others lack it, and they're wack. But what is it?
To me, style is the ability communicate a thought, feeling or idea through the physical gesture of skiing.
Take for example Eric Pollard. His safety grabs of 10 years ago communicated simplicity, modesty, understatement and a laid-back indifference.
Candide's super-tweaked mute grabs are aggressive and bawdy.
Henrik Harlaut's afterbang let's us know he's boss and that's skiing is fuckin' easy for him ... kinda irreverent, too.
Tom Wallisch's pretzels off rails mess with your expectations and suggest playfullness. Same goes with his shifty rodeo 540s.
Sadly, a majority of the tricks I saw from the Dew Tour Halfpipe reel had a robotic likeness to them. Sure, this style conveys mastery of the trick itself, but little more. Isn't this kind of sad?