Hey Alex, I hope you read some of these replies and add more to this thread. I have a few things to say and I would love your opinion.
I listened to your interview on The Powell Movement. Heard your story of rise and fall, it was a good interview. I really enjoyed it. You talked about putting all the effort you got and winning the biggest event in the world... then getting out of control. I described it to my riding partner (jd_1260) as a good cautionary tale. Its been a while since I listen to it, so the details for me a little hazy.
We all had that dream of making it big in the skiing world; I had that dream too. I worked hard in the early 2000s to train, make it to the Olympics in mogul skiing and even aerials (because it was really cool back then), but at the age of 16; I found out that I would never make the selection to the national team. I wasnt out of passion, it was about resources...money basically. My parents could not afford my skis, my training or any contests. I couldnt even round up spare cash from sponsors, shops and no one has even considered the potential. So, I put that dream aside and focused on other ways to get funding. I went to school to be a marine engineer, graduated, got a position and found money through a high paying seasonal job. Then, I burned out from work, crashed hard with a depression and took 6 years to get back on my feet. One only constant in life was skiing... it became my best friend when everyone in my life turned against me. It didnt criticize, put me down or belittle me for failures. All it took was getting up in the morning , driving to the hill and the rest just...happened. The sadder I felt, the more I progressed.
Success is a weird thing. When you win at something, it seems something else gets taken away. It can be fame, monetary even pride...but you seem to loose track of other fundamentals of life such as friends, direction or core values. Success comes easy when it happens; its a stroke of luck combined with hard work, but when you reach a goal... the goal gets pushed one step further from external pressures. When you can no longer live up to the hype, the success is overshadowed with failure. When things come easy, building up momentum is natural; but when you are hit with a challenge, the easy part disintegrates and the load becomes too much to handle. Especially when it gets to your head.
Tanner Hall is my "fucked up God" in that perspective. He changed how we ski park, how I perceive skiing, the unbeatable monster in the contest scene and his portrait hangs high in the hall of shame as well. His success and his image screamed "winner" and friendly until you met the guy. His notoriety overtook his career when he broke his ankles at Chads Gap. Then his past caught up with him. In his movie "Like a Lion" he reflects on his sins he had to attone for as much as his physical injuries. CR Johnson was the guy to pull him out of it and to set a new path on life, but Tanner's path was forged from his fall from grace. I met him back in 2014 and he was an awesome guy, stoked on skiing and be a guy I would love to ride with and share stories with. His crash in life wasnt an end to the story, but a chapter being turned.
So to cut to the chase, you shouldnt live for others; you have to live for yourself and to stick to what you know. Success and winning should not be a goal, but an event in the path of life and passion. Its to be taken as granted personally and keep focus on what is important about skiing; hanging out with friends and having fun.
Ive been skiing for 27 years and its still as much fun as the first day I started. I stood on podiums for park contests, half pipe, moguls, ski touring, big mountain events for 15 years and still I am completely unknown. The best time I had was getting off the podium, hugging my buddies and tell them; see ya tomorrow! When I look back at every event since I got out of school, the most memorable aspect was seeing my contest friends and bonding with them through an intense activity. It is like a big gathering with adrenaline.
You should see contests in that light; not for the high praise because the spotlight only shines for a few minutes...
I always to stoked to see new riders in major competitions. I still remember Bobby Brown in his first X-games, what he did was beautiful and so high level, I immediately was rooting for him. Same with you, Alex. But my praise does not go out to one hit wonders, but to consistent, passionate riders that have the ability to evolve the sport sport we all love. That my friend, is where I see my connection to the skiing world.
So I leave you with this (other than the super long post): Stay true to yourself, ride for the love of riding, stay focused on whats really important and always keep a balance between success and failures while developing other aspects in life in general. Learn from mistakes and stay humble because we are all human.
Good luck and feel free to post a response.