From Rags To Righteous: A Brief History of Freeskiing

The year was 1997 and sadly, skiing had derailed from it’s infamous, heart-pounding adventure-seeking image inspired by legends such as Glen Plake and Scot Schmidt. It seemed as though skiing’s best days were behind it as snowboarding’s popularity grew exponentially. Something had to give, something that would bring skiing back to its rightful place as a beacon of radical, snow-induced adventure.

It was in this moment that a few Canadians and a whole lot of awesome would come together to change the future of skiing forever. Mike Douglas, former Canadian Moguls Coach, was in charge of shaping a very talented field of skiers including JP Auclair, JF Cusson and Vincent Dorion. Skiing moguls was cool and all but Mike and his young crew were looking to take skiing in a different direction.

“Basically on our days off from competing in moguls and training moguls, we would go out to the snowboard parks and try to do snowboard style tricks on skis.” – Mike Douglas

From Rags To Righteous: A Brief History of Freeskiing
Freeski juggernaut Simon Dumont goes huge in the pipe.

Could this be the change that skiing was in such desperate need of? Or were these skiers just impersonating the dude-infused culture that was snowboarding? Only time would tell.

In November of 1997, Salomon gave the green light on the development of one of the first park specific ski models. Three short months later, Douglas and Auclair got their first look at the Salomon Teneighty. The Teneighty, a ski that complimented jumping, riding switch and jibbing would rock the snow industry for years to come.

Now, fourteen years later, an entire culture devoted to freeskiing thrives across the globe. As freeskiing grew, so did the competitions. Today there are just as many major competitions in freeskiing as there are tall tees. With Snowboard Superpipe hitting record numbers in viewership at the last Olympics and Freeski Slopestyle and possibly Superpipe on deck for 2014, shredding to the top of the podium is more intense than ever.

New Zealand freestyle wonder boy and Superpipe Dew Cup champion, Jossi Wells is always stoked for the Winter Dew Tour, recently telling Freeskier magazine, “The first stop of the Dew Tour is rad because it is pretty much our first contest of the season, so everyone is excited to get into it.”

From Rags To Righteous: A Brief History of Freeskiing
Dew Tour standout Jossi Wells keeping it smooth in Snowbasin

And ‘get into it’ is exactly what these skiers do. In an unmatched spectacle of steeze, the Dew Tour puts the best skiers in the world up against each other at every stop. Former Dew Cup champion, Bobby Brown also told Freeskier why the Dew Tour always requires skiers to be sicker than that new dubstep remix you just downloaded, “There are only three stops, so it’s all about you being on your game every stop and every run.”

From Rags To Righteous: A Brief History of Freeskiing
Returning Dew Cup champion Bobby Brown

If you can’t make it out to one of the Dew Tour stops in Breckenridge, Killington or Snowbasin, stay up to date with the tour on the Dew Tour Homepage, as well as on Facebook and Twitter

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