Red Bull and skiing legend Tanner Hall have ended their 11-year relationship. While it's uncertain at the moment exactly why Red Bull dropped Halls from their ski roster as he begins his training push for this year's halfpipe season and the 2014 Olympics, Hall's agent, Tom Yaps, had this to say: "Tanner and Red Bull are no longer partners. After 11 years with the brand, Tanner is excited to move forward and pursue new opportunities. He continues to film for Inspired Media and train in preparation for his return to halfpipe competition and ultimately, the 2014 Olympics in Sochi."
The timing of the move adds to the mystery, with Hall parting ways with his long-time sponsor shortly after the release of his new film with Inspired Media, The Education of Style, and at the end of a 10-day Red Bull training camp in New Zealand. Red Bull's statement provides little insight into the reasons behind the decision-making, stating only, “After 11 remarkable years together, Red Bull and Tanner Hall have decided to part ways. Red Bull would like to thank Tanner for his achievements including multiple gold medals, a slew of amazing video parts and countless awards and accolades. We wish Tanner the best of luck in all his future endeavors.”
While speculation about the reasons behind the pair's split is now running rampant, Hall’s reaction, captured in an Instagram post Tuesday night, suggests anger about a decision that wasn't entirely mutual. "After 11 years of hard work for Red Bull and everything I have done and been through the decided to drop me last night," Hall wrote. "Guess they don’t believe in me but it’s gonna be bitter sweet proving them wrong." Calls to Hall for more comments went unanswered.
The move suggests that Red Bull has had doubts about Hall's ability to recover from serious injuries sustained during a crash at a film shoot in 2009 that broke both his tibial plateaus and tore both ACLs. While Hall is a living legend within the ski community, the break up, which had apparently been discussed between the two parties over the course of the past year, suggests that Red Bull saw the value in the relationship going forward to be dependent on his competitive success—something the ski community will be eager to see this winter. Hall plans to return to competitive halfpipe skiing for the first time in three years with aspirations to make the 2014 Olympic U.S. Freeskiing Halfpipe Team.
Hall showed well in Education of Style and has demonstrated he still has many of his old tricks in the bag, yet his ability to close the gap with today's crop of double-corking pipe champions won't be tested until this upcoming winter. Until then, Hall will be speaking with several beverage companies about potential partnerships.