There are lots of things I could type but I guess we're talking about ski parts so...
In 2006, there was big divide between the freestyle and freeride aspects of the sport. There still sort of is, but it was much larger at the time. Freeskiing was sort of on the cusp of being accepted culturally as not being the retarded stepchild of snowboarding it had always been, and people wanted to push it over the edge. Freeskiing was finally, at last, almost cool. The problem with this was that a large number of people became very worried that people that were doing this, that or the other thing were jeopardizing how skiing should be presented and risking this acceptance. In short, there was a lot of drama on here, so I wrote this. Part of it has been in my profile ever since. I'm happy that, looking back, this all seems so obvious now. We've come a long way, I think.
I really, honestly do think that a lot of the people on this site have lost their way. Sure, there used to be posts on here that would make you raise an eyebrow and wonder what the guy was thinking, but they were few and far between, and misinformed attitudes corrected... we all went on our way and the sport was as it should be, appreciating its different aspects and generally everybody pushing to get better, and have a good time doing it.
But it's not that way anymore. So many kids these days are so worried about looking cool and making the sport the next hot thing to do, the next snowboarding or skateboarding or whatever, buying up the newest outerwear to look badass, picking up the image or riding style of their favourite X-games champ... and along the way, a lot of people have lost a feel for what skiing is supposed to be.
It's not about looking cool for the mainstream, or about being able to say "I'm a skier" and make that a legitimate way to impress people. It's not even about looking cool for ourselves, doing what the rest of the industry will think is awesome, because the more time passes, the more obvious it becomes that a lot of this industry is in it for the wrong reasons. It's not about "progressing the sport in the right direction" or "making skiing into this that or the other thing" or "moving towards this or that style". It's not about gaining legitimacy in the world of action sports. A lot of people seem to think that it is these things. No. It's about enjoying the sport for what it is.
Skiing doesn't need to improve itself. Of course we all love to see new things, and to push new limits, but when you make that the focus of everything, you lose a lot of the point of taking part in the sport to begin with. Pro skiers have to look at it like a job, because that's what it is to them. But the rest of us shouldn't be taking it all so seriously. Of course this is going to work differently off the mountain; we'll all be concerned for the growth of the industry, the way new companies are going, what new gear is going to come out and all that... but once we're up on the snow, once you or anyone else is skiing, you need to leave all that behind and just ski.
And a lot of people seem to be having trouble doing that nowadays. They take their fashionista demeanor and their "you're gay you did a daffy" smug, superior "I ride with a crew of people who dress and think and ski exactly like me and we're all imitating someone else and we all think alike so you, the minority, must be wrong" attitudes to the hill.
And then we get people saying things like "Hucking backs and lincolns off cliffs is harming the sport." Of course it's not... it's that attitude, that "these tricks are old skool, and aren't cool anymore, so they shouldn't be in our videos, because it makes us look bad, and we want to be cool" way of looking at skiing that's hurting the sport. Almost anyone here will agree that they wish it wasn't the way it is in skiing right now.
Well, then... stop making it the way it is. Wake up, realize that none of the things you're all so worried about, and appear to be getting increasingly worried about the worse the situation in the sport gets, really matters. All that matters is having a good time in the snow. Standing on a peak above a big sheet of fresh is the best feeling any one of us can ever experience. Skiing a new line clean and smooth, stomping some big trick you've never even tried before, just riding with people you know... it's not about showing off, looking good, or making the sport into something. It's about having fun and sharing in a mutual enjoyment of a sport that all of us love and none of us would be able to live without. Don't worry about making the sport worse. Don't worry about trying to make it better. Just enjoy it, and skiing will move in its own direction. Let everything else go, and go ski.
With that in mind, the best segment from ski movies this year is from UP1.2, the Alaska segment with Seth Morrison and JP Auclair. It's chapters 8-9 if you're looking for it.
Are there any 80 foot cliff hucks? No. Are there a bunch of gnar inverts? No. Are there any doublegrab switch 5s in the BC? No. Switch 10s in the park? No. Urban dfd switchups? None. And yet there is no segment in any movie this year that could make me want to ski more than this one. It's not about what these guys can do on skis. It's not, "Holy shit they're good, look at them show off their ridiculous talent"; we know Seth and JP are good at what they do. That's not what this part is about. It's not a competition, either; even though there are two guys sharing a segment there isn't any sense that we should be comparing them, like "JP is skiing way better than Seth here", or whatever. There's a good line in the second song of this 3-song seg where it focusses on JP's face and just says "Freedom is not competition". This segment is not about competition, pushing each other, or pushing the sport in any overt, obvious way. This segment is about freeskiing. This segment is about what skiing is all about: "Being friends and going out in the mountains, and having a great time", as Seth says. The commentary isn't pretentious, or boring, it's just how they see things... you almost don't want to call it "athlete commentary" like MSP does, it's just Seth and JP talking. The skiing isn't overblown, it isn't trying to be more than it really is, hell, both JP and Seth fall once or twice, and they aren't even necessarily spectacular bails, they just get up and keep skiing. The whole thing doesn't have that feel of, "Look what good skiers can do". It has the feel of, "Seth and JP went on a ski trip, and this is what it was like." And that's what skiing really is. Or what it should be, and can be, if you look at it a certain way. That's what I think, and as long as I can watch things like that, and think about how much fun it is to have days like that, I'll always want to be a skier. It's the exact thing that makes the sport so beyond anything else, so indescribably incredible, the way it makes you feel to just stand up there ready to drop into waist deep snow and charge... it's the closest thing I can think of to heaven, or nirvana, or whatever state of perfect bliss you can come up with.
I hope some of the people who've lost touch with that can find their way back to it. Because the moment you do is the moment you come back to truly appreciating skiing for what it is, instead of what you're trying to do with it.
If that's too much to read, let me summarize: JP and Seth's UP1.2 part defined, for me, what skiing should be about and what I love so much about it.