Now that all of your Christmas presents are unwrapped, your belly has slimmed down after Mom's holiday feast and your hangover has subsided after draining champagne bottles like a champ, it's time for us all to look to the year ahead. But before doing that, we figured it'd be fun to take the time to reflect on the past. Each and every year skiing is getting bigger, better and more diverse, and last year was a serious indication of that. Our sport grew in leaps and bounds in 2007, and that reality was made possible by a handful of people, events and moments. Here's some of the highlights... The Scanners are here One look at last season's competition results proves what many have known for the last few years...that the next wave of great freeskiers are coming straight out of Scandinavia. Following in the footsteps of the illustrious Jon Olsson and the amazingly well-rounded Andreas Hatveit, skiers like PK Hunder, Jacob Webser and Oscar Sherlin dominated the contest scene last year and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with for quite some time. Jon Wins! The bronze bombshell Jon Olsson finally took home the gold at the US Freeskiing Open after countless third place finishes. In a well deserved first, Jon Kangaroo-flipped and 450'd his way to the top of the podium at Copper Mountain, the first venue change for the event after a seven year stint in Vail. Grassroots Make A Return After a lull in the local event scene in many areas over the last couple of years, two new event tours sprouted to fill the void from coast to coast, bringing the love to resorts large and small. Orage kicked things off with their Pros + Powder Tour, providing Moms, Dads and jibbers alike unprecedented access to the like of JP Auclair, TJ Schiller, and Michelle Parker while shredding at their local resort. Salomon then introduced the first major am competition series since the beloved Young Gun Open with their Jib Academy series. Besides the vast North American schedule, this was an international affair from the very beginning, with the final in Mammoth bringing together the best 16 & under riders from around the globe for a late season session that's as good an indicator of the future of this sport as any comp on the calendar. The Retallack purchase This past summer, pro skiers Tanner Hall and Seth Morrison along with Oakley International Ski Marketing Manager Greg Strokes and Armada Marketing Manager and professional photographer extraordinaire Chris O'Connell invested in the stunning and growingly popular cat skiing resort of Retallack. Retallack, situated near Nelson, BC, has played host to numerous Oakley team shoots and helped provide jaw dropping segments in Tanner's films over the past few years. With the boys' purchase, one can only dream of the footage, photos and level of skiing that will continue to come out of their new home hill. Seth Morrison double front-flips a 130-foot cliff Speaking of Retallack, Seth took the opportunity there this past spring to let everyone know he's still boss by tossing a double front-flip off an unexaggerated 130-footer. While he didn't stomp the piss out of it, he certainly came around and landed feet first, breaking his ski and a few ribs in process while cementing the fact that he continues to be one of the most balls to the walls skiers this sport has ever seen. JOI goes off The 3rd annual Jon Olsson Invitational went down in Are, Sweden, and as anyone who's been has to come to expect, it was perhaps the most anticipated contest of the year. From rockstar parties to drop dead gorgeous women not to mention some of the highest level skiing seen all year, the JOI continues to be one of the coolest events going. This year Jon will be mixing it up by hosting the Jon Olsson Super Sessions in the JOI's place. The event will see the best skiers in the world travel to Are and session five JOI-jump sized features as their selected filmer documents the events over the course of a week for a video contest. Jon plans to continue the JOI as the years go on and is looking to take it to more exotic locations such as Monaco, Dubai and New York City. Candide Reigns As if anyone needed convincing, Candide Thovex cemented his position at the top of the game with his win in X Games Slopestyle. As with everything Candide does he did it with style, recording the highest score ever at X Slope: a 95 on the button (link to video: http://expn.go.com/expn/story?pageName=wx11_results_skistylem). Months later Candide played host in his hometown of La Clusaz for the 2007 version of his Invitational. Always home to some of the largest, most creative features of the season, this years mega jump, dubbed Big Bertha, claimed more than its share of victims, including Candide himself who sustained a broken back forcing him to miss the remainder of the season and skip out on the competition season for 2008. Resorts of the Canadian Rockies eliminate man-made jumps from their terrain parks In one of the more controversially and talked-about decisions in memory, RCR resorts, which include Lake Louise, Fernie, Kimberley, Nakiska, Mont Sainte-Anne and Stoneham, boldly went where no other major resort has gone before by eliminating jumps from their terrain parks. Message boards including this one along with Snowboard.com and others across the Internet were flooded with angry costumers expressing their distaste and anger towards the decision as RCR stood behind it, saying it was a moral one made for the safety of their guests. Time will tell whether or not it sticks. The Honda Ski Tour makes its mark From an exposure and financial standpoint, no event was more important for skiing and its athletes last year than the Honda Ski Tour. The series of halfpipe events brought high levels of exposure for skiing via its broadcast on ABC and helped with the push for the sport to gain entrance into the Olympics. Also benefiting was from the tour was Simon Dumont, who won three of the four events (placing 2nd at the one he didn't win), the overall title, and bags of money to go with it while proving to everyone that he is arguably the best halfpipe skier alive. This year the event was forced to merge with the Jeep King of the Mountain Tour and will only host two skiing halfpipe events as opposed to four, much to the disappoint of many. Independent companies come, go, and push forward 2008 saw the demise of popular freeskiing-based outerwear companies Siver Cartel and Predator/Aeryx, much to the dismay of Mike Nick fans and neon-lovers across the globe. The year also saw the launch of Simon Dumont's highly anticipated new brand Empire as Joystick, Anthony Boronowski's ski pole company, continued to grow in leaps and bounds.Japan!The return of the Nippon Open to the international competition scene allowed many younger athletes to finally visit the storied country and fulfill the dreams created way back when they used to read about the likes of The Three Phils and Mike Nick in the pages of FREEZE. In its first year back the event had little problem attracting the cream of the crop and went off despite less than ideal snow conditions.IF3 & NS Awards The inaugural International Freeskiing Film Festival launched in Montreal this September with world premieres of the top ski movies of the year and a guest list of athletes and industry folk that will be hard to top. Capping things off for the hordes of ski flick fans was the NS Awards, our rowdy salute to the athletes and producers that continually provide us with our yearly dose of ski-porn. If you missed the first one don't worry, IF3 will be back in Montreal for 2008. Marc-Andre Belliveau returns to skiing after being paralyzed from the waist down In the spring of 2006, renowned pro skier Marc-Andre Belliveau was paralyzed following a ski accident in Interior BC while filming with TGR. The following winter, much to the surprise and delight of us all, Marc returned to the slopes on his sit ski, shredding lines, dropping pillows and cliffs and just all-around kicking ass with a big smile on his face. Although it may go without saying, Marc is an absolute inspiration to anyone who loves to ski. The IDEA crew helps redefine skiing In perhaps the most important, progressive and beautiful ski film ever made, legendary filmmaker Eric Iberg teamed up with Eric Pollard, Pep Fujas and Andy Mahre to create IDEA. The film helped define a whole new style of skiing while redefining the way that many look at the mountain and helped prove that the sport is beginning to move in numerous different directions. If you haven't already seen it...what are you waiting for?
The Year in Review
published by schmuck