POWDER’s 2013 Year In Review
The year skiing progressed, regressed, got weird, cool, warmer, and better than ever
The year was 2013. We got a new pope (and he seems cool!), some royal people had a baby, there were wars and revolutions, Miley twerked and did some things with a foam finger, and we all knew the words “Boston Strong” even if we’ve never set foot in Suffolk County. Sometime during all that we went into the mountains to do what we do best: sliding down mountains on a couple of really expensive pieces of wood. And a lot happened while we did that. There’s never been more in ski media. The edits, the blogs, the webisodes, the Insta-vids, it can all be kind of overwhelming, which is why every Friday we roundup the stories and videos that actually matter (and a lot of ones that don’t at all) for our Week in Review. As the clock approaches midnight on 2013, we present POWDER’s Year In Review. —Kade Krichko and John Davies
Competition Highlight: Henrik Sees Triple
January 27, 2013 was already a weird night in Winter X Games history. In what was supposed to be the Triple Cork Show, eccentric Swede Henrik Harlaut had somehow skied to the top of the X Games Big Air standings with a pair of casual nose butter double 12s. Then E-Dollo changed the game. After consulting with life coach Tanner Hall (four words I never thought I’d use together in my professional career), Harlaut unleashed an unprecedented nose butter triple cork 1620, igniting the Aspen crowd and throwing the judges booth into a tizzy. A perfect 50 followed, Harlaut walked away with the gold, and we were all assured that X Games Big Air would never, ever be the same again. —KK
Skiers You Should Know Now
When TGR announced its Co-Lab Contest, based on surfing’s Innersection—best 5-minute edit wins $100,000—a lot of folks turned their heads. Surfing is white collar compared to skiing. For us, that’s a lot of Chalupas. More unexpected was the winner. Little-known and soft-spoken 21-year-old Dale Talkington is now a partial owner of Taco Bell. The 4Bi9 style guru followed that oversized check by winning Breakthrough Performer of the Year at the Powder Awards.
Watch this Best Line win from Callum Pettit (skip to 2:17). In about three seconds he drops a 30-foot cliff, immediately makes a ridiculous power turn to right himself for another drop, and then another. He wasn’t quite as unknown as Talkington, but with that line, in addition to all his work in Into The Mind, he proved he too belonged in the same conversation with the best skiers. This seems like a good place to remind you that Tim Durtschi and Elyse Saugstad were your male and female skiers of the year. —JCD
Weather is a fickle beast—one day you’re talking marriage and kids, the next she’s taken your wallet, your shoes, and left you with a $1500 room service tab. Last winter was much of the same, though some faired better than the rest. Here’s a quick breakdown of the season’s conditions, region by region.
The Ice Coast continued to weather Mother Nature’s bipolar punches, getting massive storms with names (long live the Frankenstorm) followed by periods of mild indifference. There was enough snow for Sugarloaf’s Reggaefest, so that’s all that really matters.
Old Man Winter and the PNW spent some magical time together early on, with Washington and Oregon enjoying big storms in December. Then came an awkward dry period, and the region collectively wondered, “Is he ever going to return my calls?” The dude came knocking again in March bearing beautiful powder gifts that had the Cascades crooning well into June.
Blah, blah, Powder Highway, blah, blah, Whistler got dumped on—okay guys, we get it.
After a couple of dry seasons had them looking enviously at the pillow-poppers in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado finally got its due late last season. Its first few laps were a little slow, but winter’s last second kick gave the Centennial State something to whoop and holler about until the lifts shut down for the season.
It couldn’t get much worse than the winter of 2011-2012, and it didn’t. Plus, there was at least one guy who had a really, really good time.
Well, it wasn’t good. Not sure what we mean? Here’s an edit from Heavenly last season. —KK
Worst Trend of the Year
Fireball, obvi. Are you guys still drinking that stuff? You know you’re taking shots of liqueur, right? Also troubling: the glorification of avalanches, the cliché style (filming) versus spins (competing, the Olympics) argument (we need them both; it’s all skiing), bacon abuse (You know what tastes a lot better than bacon beer or bacon flavored oatmeal? Bacon.), mediocre mustaches, and all your self-aggrandizing Instagram selfies (we get it, you’re amazing). —JCD
Best Trend of the Year
Lots of really, really good ski movies. With long-term projects McConkey, Into The Mind, and Valhalla thrown in with annual releases from TGR, Level 1, Field Productions, Stept, and 4Bi9, it was probably the most competitive Powder Awards ever. (Watch the whole show, here). That the year of movies was capped off by an angry, misinformed poacher, followed by the winners of Movie of the Year accepting the award—to the standing ovation of their mothers—with their hands cupped over their balls, seemed like the right way to conclude the year in ski film making.
Other Trends We Like
The apparent influx of women in ski towns: because they are nice; the shifty: simple, styly, something we can actually do; skinny skis: turning is back; Lego freeskiing: because it’s awesome, and in 50 years, when the only snow in North America is in the Nunavut, this is all the skiing any of us will be doing. —JCD
Small Ski Area Roundup
In an exceedingly dim world for the small ski area, we all took a gut punch when Southern California’s June Mountain announced it wouldn’t open for the 2012-2013 season. Instead of playing the ‘poor me’ card, the community rallied support, and while there was no skiing at the hill this past season, the local uproar was so loud that owners agreed to reopen for 2013-2014—a win for the little guys everywhere.
But June wasn’t the only Comeback Kid in 2013. Maine’s Black Mountain rallied with a little help from big brother Sunday River to spin lifts this year, and New York’s West Mountain is under new ownership after filing for bankruptcy this summer. Even Whaleback, the small New Hampshire area that has been in and out of operation since the 1970s, emerged from the auction block just in time for skiing this season.
We don’t die, we multiply. —KK
Edit of the Year
Man-crushing on Candide Thovex is nothing new around here. But in May, Candide followed a big 2012—he won a slew of awards, including Best Male Performance, for Few Words—by releasing the best self-edit in skiing history. It has nearly one million views. Skiing edits don’t get that. Adorable kittens, yes. Kimye music videos, definitely. Also, following the jump line on a decent day at Thovex’ home hill, La Clusaz, with friends. —JCD
Celebrity Ski Beat
Lindsey Vonn provided the “SAY WHAT?!” ski moment of the year when she and a conveniently single Tiger Woods became a pair last February. We were all a little thrown by the move, but Lindsey proved she was still on our side when she unleashed a wild beast on her hubby. Okay, maybe it was a cute little squirrel, but he probably had some wild in him.
Tanner Hall caused a bit of a ruckus this summer when he stacked some Instagrams with pop dynamo Justin Beiber. Apparently the two had met while on set for a Nitro Circus event in Nicaragua. The two hit it off, and now that The Biebs has officially retired, he’ll likely have more time to dial his snowlerblade switch 5 with THall’s park crew.
It’s been a weird year for celeb ski news, but last week’s developments may be top dog. Heather Mills, ex-wife of Sir Paul McCartney launched into a violent and expletive-filled tirade after she was accused of using an illegal alpine ski prosthesis in competition. Mills, who lost her left leg in a motorcycle accident in 1993, had been on track to race alpine in the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, but the outburst directed at several official international judges quickly kyboshed any run at gold while securing Mills this year’s strangest headline. —KK
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