However with the progression of aerial acrobatics, comes criticism that the sport is heading in the wrong direction. Many skiers and snowboarders express negative opinions of these mega-spins, advocating that slower spins with better style are better than the “spin-to-win” approach. Claims are being thrown around that the sport is headed straight in the direction of aerial skiing, certainly a negative accusation in the world of freeskiing and snowboarding.
Lets take a step back. Skiing and snowboarding are incredibly diverse sports. In addition to the park jumps we’re now seeing quads thrown on, our industry still thrives on big mountain/freeride competition, creative film production, independent backcountry excursions, and death-defying urban missions. Rather than showing off game-changing triple and quad flips, the crew from Hemlock Creative took a trip to Japan this winter and shut off their phones and laptops for six weeks, cutting all of their ties from the rest of the world, and social media outlets in particular. Just about the polar opposite approach from Billy Morgan as he Instagramed his quad cork the day it happened… how’s that for progression?
Even in the park scene, events are being held that push the sport in different ways. Put on by masters of style Henrik Harlaut and Phil Casabon, the B&E Invitational pushes the creative abilities of skiers in a playground of transitions, wallrides, smaller jump options, and one of a kind rail features. Similarly, the Nine Knights event held in Italy offers skiers and snowboarders a week long session on a cluster of unique hits, highlighted this year by five side-by-side monster booters, transitions galore of course – a far cry from the standard jump lines seen in X-Games and Dew Tour competitions.
Given the diversity we proudly possess in the snowsports industry, we can conclude that skiing and snowboarding are NOT moving in just one direction. While the comp scene may be trending towards aerials with mega-spins, there are plenty of other sources for uniqueness and originality within the industry. Ultimately, we all have different perceptions of progression and style. A quad cork 1800 in the book of Billy Morgan may hold the same value as a handrag 5 in Candide Thovex’s book. As snow enthusiasts, let’s stick to what makes us happy, and keep our judgements of others’ riding and trick selection to ourselves. The last thing we need in this industry are ongoing debates about where our sports should or shouldn’t be heading. If you’re going to be writing off triples and quads, at least take Parker White’s approach and do it in good taste…