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I’ve been busy skiing this year so have been neglecting the blog completely. Now that I’m sitting at home with too much knee pain to bother skiing (Breck and Key are closed, so without a real park it’s not worth the pain), I decided to put together a quick edit from skiing Snowmass on Saturday (April 13).
It’s not my best skiing, I’m saving that for Super Unknown XI. This was all filmed in about 2 hours in the Snowmass park which I’d never skied before. It was a pretty fun park – didn’t really do any jumping due to flat light conditions and not knowing the speeds. Enjoy.
Thanks to Brennan Metzler for filming.
Music – Embryonic Journey by Jefferson Airplane.
Clayton “CK” Conway who the internet says is already the best snowskater in the world (Google it) today proved the internet to be correct by throwing down this backflip on jump 1 in Park Lane at Breckenridge.
Have fun. Special thanks to Tom Lowe for getting everyone out to Hood.
I’m currently working on the LDL Mt Hood episode. While you wait, here are the three webisodes my friend Mike made while filming at Hood this spring. I’m in the first one and friends of mine are in the second and third. You should watch them all.
Editor’s note: This is an opinion piece and not all that well researched. Birri pretty much doesn’t know anything about anything and should probably be put back in his nice padded cell for the rest of the summer. If only it were snowing he wouldn’t have the time to write this much. Sorry about that, someone needs to fix the universe so there’s eternal winter.
I have been watching the Olympics recently and it got me to thinking about skiing. Well, actually, pretty much anything will get me thinking about skiing. More specifically though, it got me to thinking about how much girls suck at skiing. The reason I had this thought was because of watching the girls gymnastics competitions. The Americans absolutely killed it – which is beside the point – but ‘MERICA!
Anyway, misplaced patriotic fervor aside, all the girls in the Olympics gymnastics threw down way harder than any skier girl ever. If you are unfamiliar with gymnastics (have been living under a rock for the past week) then let me briefly introduce you to the four disciplines of Olympic gymnastics – which I know nothing about.
First off, we have the VAULT. Surprisingly, safecracking is not part of this competition. It would be awesome if the VAULT involved an Ocean’s 11 (the remake) style gymnastic feat of entering a high security bank vault…but alas, it is not so. Nevertheless, the VAULT is still pretty awesome.
I was going to post a video of one of the American girls (‘MERICA) at the Olympics, but NBC hasn’t released that, so here’s Stephen Colbert explaining it.
Ok, so that didn’t really explain very well what vaulting is…apparently it involves twinkies, which is odd since most of the gymnasts seem to be more emaciated than I am, and that’s impressive. But Stephen Colbert is much funnier than I am so props to him.
Now here’s an actual vault.
This is pretty much the same thing she did in the Olympics. She did not get a perfect score because of a distinct failure to afterbang. And not being Shaun White.
To break it down in skier terms.
The in run is just sprinting down the narrow blue strip of death. After successfully navigating this, the gymnast starts to get crazy with it. She starts with a double handplant. Then lands on a trampoline and bounces up into another double hand plant. She launches out of this handplant (which happens to be switch) into a double misty 900. So, that’s the first event, it involves all kinds of handplants and a switch double misty 9. No grabs involved, but as we will see, girls don’t really grab in skiing anyway, so not a big deal.
Next, we have the UNEVEN BARS. This feature looks to me like it has some serious jibbing possibilities. Then again, show me anything remotely resembling a rail, and I’ll start thinking about jibbing it.
Lots of crazy stuff goes down on the bars, usually involving getting mad inverted but I’m just going to show this one clip.
Boom bomb triple back flip. That was in 2002. Which was long before Jon Olsson popularized the double with the Kangaroo Flip. Sure, the Schrab brothers were getting nasty with their dubs about then, but triples? Not outside of aerials…and this was a girl doing it. In 2002. Yeah, sentence fragments rock.
Other tricks on the dismount from the uneven bars include switch double front 180 and double back 7. Pretty sweet.
Next there’s the FLOOR. From the name, this sounds pretty boring. But this is no ordinary floor. It’s a spring loaded super floor. And the gymnasts also throw dubs on it. Unfortunately it also includes some sort of ballet…which is like regular ballet, not super awesome ski ballet madness. But the tumbling (it actually quite resembles tomahawking on skis) part is sweet. Check this out.
Another American gymnast killing it (‘MERICA!)
The first pass of her tumbling routine starts off with the wild handplant action into a switch misty 5, more handsprings, switch dub misty 9, to superman front. And that’s just getting started. Next pass is another switch dub misty 9 to DAFFY! Yes, daffys are legit in gymnastics. There’s also a spread eagle and a daffy 3 in there as well. She finishes off with some minor stuff like a switch misty 10 and a switch dub backy. No big deal.
As a side note, a guy gymnast threw a triple backy on the floor in 1987. He wasn’t American though so it doesn’t count.
At this point, I’m going to throw in some ski videos because skiing is awesome and it’ll demonstrate that girl skiers suck compared to these crazy gymnasts.
Check it out, Kaya Turski (CANADA! Sorry, I’ll try to put some American girl skiers in at some point but it’s hard to find one that doesn’t suck it up too much) This is one of the best slopestyle runs ever put down by a girl.
The rails are pretty basic, nice style, but not very technical at all. Jumps are switch right 5 safety, left 5 and is that a critical? I don’t know, she didn’t hold on long enough for me to tell, we’ll call it a critical though it could have been a mute or inside safety. We’ll call it a grab though it was more of a touch. On to the next jump! Switch right 7 with a touch, a very palpable touch. And then a switch 10 safety. Heavy head but no arm drag on the landing.
And that was gold at the X Games 2012.
Now back to gymnastics, the final event and my personal favorite, the BEAM. The BEAM is like a rail. I like rails. And as with everything else, the girls get crazy on it.
Here’s NASTIA Liukin (Liu Kang? ‘MERICA!) on the BEAM.
That was good enough for second place in 2008 at the Olympics. Inverted spread eagle, front flip daffy, backy, and mule kick are all thrown down on a 4 inch wide beam. At this point, I have to say that the commentators suck…side somersault..really? REALLY? IT’S A LINCOLN LOOP! Edward James Lincoln, RIP. Anyway, Nastia finishes off her routine with a switch misty 9 off the beam. The 4 INCH WIDE BEAM. In the 2012 Olympics, dubs off the beam seemed to be pretty standard.
And what do girls skiers have to compare with this?
YEAH! DOUBLE BACK! WOOO…uh, yeah, after watching all those gymnasts, that was pretty weak. And her claim of stomped…it was wheelied out hard core. If Tom Wallisch landed like that, he’d probably cry. As illustrated by this:
Yeah, Tom’s steezey. Really steezey.
A girl throwing a sketchy double front.
Compare that to end of this set of beam tricks…
That’s a double arabian. Essentially a switch back 180 to front flip. And that was stomped. No afterbang…but girl skiers don’t seem to understand afterbang anyway.
Clearly girl gymnasts kill it at spinny flippy things. Why don’t girl skiers!? I don’t have a good answer to this question, but I have a few entertaining theories.
First, take a scenario with a simple down flat down (DFD) rail. We have a male park rat. He cleans the rail, stops after skiing out of the landing, looks back up at it and thinks to himself, “Why didn’t I at least k-fed it? Weak. I should probably hike it and do something legit.”
While hiking back up to slay the feature, he sees another male skier hit it and go to the end. Now he’s thinking, “That guy sucks, lolz11!1!” At least, if he’s like so many people that post on newschoolers, he probably thinks like that.
As he reaches the point where he wants to drop in, he sees a girl skier clean it. Now he thinks, “That was hot. I should totally catch her in the lift line and see if she wants to hang out.” He then proceeds to nut himself on the rail because he’s not focusing on his skiing. Noob.
As he’s picking up the pieces and checking to see if he’s still alive, some pro drops in and does a nollie lip stalefish disaster. Go figure.
Anyway, the sad fact of the matter is all a girl has to be able to do to impress guy skiers is clean a DFD. That’s it. But if girls are skiing to impress guys…then they’re pathetic. Guys don’t ski to impress girls or if they do, they’re crazy. The chances of being seen by a girl while throwing down in the park are next to nil since there are so few girls skiing in the park in the first place. Which is another problem that needs addressed but is outside the scope of this post.
So I don’t like the “girls ski park to get guys interested in them” theory because it’s just insulting to the girls. Park is amazing and fun. Girls must love to ski park as well. Everyone loves to ski park. This is a fact and not arguable because park is awesome. (Removed 2,000 word essay entitled ODE TO PARK at this point, no one needs to read that, really – Ed.)
Once again, I find myself at a dead end. Girls should be throwing down harder than they currently are. Maybe it’s the lack of competition? The bar has been set so low that they don’t need to step it up. Whereas the gymnastics bar is so high that near perfection is required for a gold medal, a fairly unimpressive run can win gold for a skier girl. Unfortunately where girls are concerned, they cannot look at a feature as I do and say “What would Wallisch do?” The closest for them is “What would Turski do?” and the answer to that sadly is nothing that exciting…maybe that’s the problem, I don’t know.
From watching the gymnastics in the Olympics, I say girl freeskiers are capable of so much more! Step it up, ladies.
Trying not to sound to negative here for I do believe there is hope. I leave you with the following three edits which I hope indicate good things for the future of girls freesking.
Katrina Siegfried 10-11 Season Edit (I want to see a 11-12 edit, Katrina, seriously…where’s the footy of those right fives?!?)
Nadia Gonzales, 10-11 Compilation. Glad to hear that her rehab is going well and she’ll be back stronger than ever after ACL surgery.
I don’t know Nina Rusten but from this edit, I wish that I did. I would be grateful to anyone who introduces me to her. Her rail game is the best I’ve seen…for a girl!
And I almost forgot, but to conclude: ‘MERICA! U S A! U S A! Nuke ’em all from orb…oops, got a little carried away there. U S A! U S A!
Episode 4 – Dead Winter Dead, covering the end of the season at Keystone and Breck. Starring: Steve Little, Cian Mashei, Alyssa Fachini, Paterson Colson, Andrew Rapp, Birrion Sondahl, Creston Doverspike, and Teddy Goggin
Music – Dead Winter Dead – Savatage
Coming soon – Episode 5 where LDL goes to Mt. Hood for some epic spring skiing.
On June 28, I met up with Pat (The Big Steezey) in Bend, Oregon and we set up a minibooter on Mt. Bachelor. Unfortunately (for me), Bachelor was about to reopen so we could not borrow any salt or jibbable items. This meant super slow snow but we managed to have a great time and get a few shots.
Here it is – some of the gnarliest snowskating to go down last season. Clayton ‘Certified Killer’ Conway shredding Keystone and Breckenridge parks.
After 54 days off snow and a month without jumping, Birri’s back.
Opening Music – Finally Free by Dream Theater
Intro – Warrior by Wishland Ash
Episode – Haircut by George Thorogood
Thanks to everyone who visited me in the hospital and supported me during the tough times! There are too many of you to list – you know who you are. I’m so thankful to be back and stoked to be working on my skiing again. You can’t keep a good skier down!