The year was 2000. Skier's weren't even allowed in the "snowboard park". There were those that dared to challenge to status quo and break down barriers. It was deemed "illegal" for us, and have even resulted in our lift tickets being taken from us. Like some, when something is told to be illegal or taboo, they must subvert that authority and show *we* belonged.
Heckled by snowboarders that were far too busy talking shit about skiers rather than working on riding themselves. This was an everyday norm for the young freeski movement. To make things worse, ski patrol and mountain operations usually agreed it was "snowboard only".
After a couple years of JF Cusson, Candide, and Tanner Hall, among others throwing down at X-Games, did we start to actually gain some headway with this uphill battle.
Like anything grassroots in politics or skiing, It starts with *you*. Thanks to mountains that were helping breed this type of skiing, the people started to have access to parks and pipes by 2003-2004. Places like Breckenridge, Mount Snow, and Mammoth Mountain helped by going against the grain, letting it become to breeding ground or epicenter for innovation.
I can still recall times being yelled at by ski patrol on the lift for being in the halfpipe. So as I look upon the teenager that is freeskiing, 3 years removed from skiing, I find myself smiling. I find myself smiling because I see so many bright individuals out there that are about to represent their respective country, in what could have only been a pipe dream 14 years ago.
So from the bottom of my heart to all the skiing athletes out there:
Good luck. God speed. Put on a great show for the world to be introduced to this breed of ski culture. be great ambassadors to the sport. Be safe. and most importantly HAVE FUN, because after all thats why we put those two planks on our feet to begin with.
God speed. good luck and go USA!