By The Jaded Local1
Things have reached the point where someone could stick a 375-foot jump on a pair of 20-plus year old skis and not one professional Ski Journalist notices. How do I know this? Because that’s exactly what a guy from Bozeman named Rolf Wilson did in February 2011. Apparently, all the Ski Journalists were too busy re-tweeting press releases from energy drink companies on their iBerries to care. Or maybe the snow was really good that week.
Either way, if an extra rotation or the “drop” of yet another movie is worth burning a trillion electrons in re-tweets and Facebook posts, I would be severely remiss in my duties if I didn’t try to shove this story into the conversation: Wilson broke his own world alpine-binding’d distance record off the 90-meter nordic jump at Howelsen Hill, flying 375 feet during Steamboat’s Pro Alpine Flying Championships (formerly known as Gelande Jumpin’2) on Feb. 11.
Now, jumping 375 feet on alpine gear (or any gear) is, of course, crazier than a bag of cut snakes. But looking at Jace Romick’s photo (above), it’s also clear that Wilson did it on a pair of Salomon 977 bindings and Rossi DH boards from approximately 1988.3
I’ll grant you, no rotations, not even a token grab, but the bottom line is that the man jumped 375 feet and stuck it. He didn’t fall off a big cliff and hot tub into 20 feet of pow. He sent it well and true at speed and stomped. On gear from the Reagan Administration.4
And it’s not like this was some big secret. This happened in the middle of a place known as Ski Town USA, during a well-publicized event that headlines said town’s Winter Carnival, an event where loonbat ex-DH’ers have been jumping 300-plus feet for 20 years.
As far as I’m concerned, the Ski Media owes Wilson big time—and anyone else who has ever hit a 90-meter jump with alpine gear.5 From now on, if we say anything about going big, we should have to keep it the context of Rolf Wilson. Like, “The gap jump at the photo shoot was so huge it was like… almost half as big as Rolf Wilson goes on his warmup runs.”
And I sure don’t want to read any editorial hand-wringing about how Maybe Jumps Are Getting Too Big. If there’s one thing Wilson and the rest of the boys have shown us, it’s exactly where The Level is for going large on skis.6 As far as I’m concerned, the top spinnyflippers ought to be buying old 223s and working on nice, floaty 350-foot 720s at Howelsen. Give me a 90-meter Big Air and I’d have a reason to watch X Games.
So, to Rolf Wilson and the rest of the Pro Gelande Tour: You might never get any love from the Bro Industry, but this one’s for you.
1 Hans Ludwig is The Jaded Local.
2 Gelande Jumping is the art of jumping for distance off Nordic jumps with standard alpine gear and speed suits. Without the huge skis and specialized floaty suits that Nordic jumpers use, Gelande jumpers have to make up for less lift with more speed. In other words, it’s way more badass. The Pro Tour apparently consists of about twelve ex-downhillers with very large legs and high DIN settings.
3 Long after mankind has blown itself to smithereens, and even the cockroaches have boiled away in the fiery heat of our dying sun, race-stock steel Salomon bindings will live on. If aliens visit our planet in the distant future, they will conclude that we must have been very concerned about Throwing A Shoe.
4 Which makes me feel a lot better about the pair of 11-17 977s I’ve been skiing on since 2003 when I bought them for $60 off Marshall on the TGR forum. I can attest that I haven’t had a single pre-release in the 600+ days that I’ve skied on them. Or any release whatsoever, for that matter. So I’ve got that going for me.
5 And what the hell do these guys have to do to get sponsored, anyway? Jumping a football field (and the end zones) isn’t enough?
6 At least until someone lets them jump at one of the 120-plus meter ski flying hills, where the current distance record on Nordic gear is over two football fields (and the end zones).