The contest scene can be pretty boring. From played out ?stock? tricks to waiting around for hours in the cold just to huck meat in front of sometimes questionable judging, spectators and competitors alike can get a bit fed up with the cookie cutter scene that is ironically referred to as freeskiing by the well coiffed jocks on sportscenter. But every now and then something comes along that breathes a bit of life back into the competitive side of freeskiing the Orage Masters is one such event.
Previously held at Mammoth, CA, this year?s event kicked off the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler, BC. And the timing was right as t-shirt weather greeted representatives of 8 teams, ranging from big timers like Rossignol and Salomon to Utah?s Surface Skis and indie giant Armada, competing for everything from surf trips to new sleds. But the focus wasn?t really on the prizes?skiers were just there having a good time. Costumed competitors in everything from super hero outfits to Viking garb threw down on a jump and jib line in packs of four, hitting twin hips in sync and sending the 60 footer at the bottom side by side.
It was more the kind of skiing you would expect to see in the park on a sunny Saturday afternoon than a contest scenario. Teams were given 20 minutes to complete as many laps as they could, often getting in 4 or 5 runs before the horn sounded. While technical tricks like switch 1080s were being thrown off everything in sight, Sarah Burke swinging a mace overhead 30 feet in the air might have gotten more cheers. K2?s Frank Raymond did what could have been the first ever screamin? semen 900 in competition?what would that score at the X-Games?
At the end of the last 15 minute free for all, K2 most impressed the judges?the other competitors?prevailing over Volkl, 4FRNT, and, finally, Dynastar in the head to head format.
Thanks to Jamie, Mike and Mavis at Orage for pulling off a contest like no other?one where skiers and spectators alike are inspired to just have fun skiing some jumps on a sunny spring day.
Photos by Colin Wiseman
1 – Sarah Burke swings her mace, viking style, at the gathered masses.
2 – Sean Pettit went big over the hip all day.
3 – Xena, warrior princess of Salomon gets to know the spread eagles.
4 – K2 celebrates their win. They also ate glass.