MISTY FLIP BLOWS UP
Mike Douglas, nicknamed the Godfather of Freeskiing, nailed the first recorded misty flip in February, 1997. “It was the first off-axis rotating move I’d ever done,” he says of the trick. “To take something we borrowed from snowboarding and land it was huge… It was one of the best moments of my whole ski career. I just thought: ‘Man this is sweet; this is stuff we can do. This moment legitimizes that there were possibilities for freeskiing.’”
NEW CANADIAN AIRFORCE
The original Canadian Airforce, as any student of skiing’s history will know, was a group of amazing freestyle skiers who dominated back when freestyle was huge in 70s. “We were doing a story for Freeze on the new guys up in Canada, the guys who had left freestyle and organized competitions and who were doing their own thing,” says then-editor of Freeze, Tom Winter. “I remember coming up with the phrase, and at the time I didn’t think much of it, but it totally took off. I remember seeing the phrase in a Salomon ad soon afterwards and thinking, ‘Damn, I shoulda trademarked that one!’ But if we hadn’t used it in Freeze, someone else probably would have come up with it. The connection was an easy one to make between the freestyle hot doggers of the Canadian Airforce and this new group of athletes.”
JP AUCLAIR SLAYS RIKSGRÄNSEN
Chris O’Connell recalls: “We had this massive quarterpipe but the athletes weren’t allowed to hit it. I was cringing because I had come all the way north of the Arctic Circle to BFE, Riksgränsen, Sweden, and the weather was terrible. We had one day where there was sun and I shot the QP, but not with JP or JF because the person in charge wouldn’t let them hit it when it was sunny. JP, being the super professional that he is, hiked up with me to the quarterpipe at about 7 o’clock at night and sessioned it for about an hour before it got too dark. It was the first really cool shit I had shot with skiing.”
“Harvest was pretty breakthrough. We skied on downhill skis before there were fat skis. The big, long skis worked best in powder and now they look so little. We just throttled. People were not used to seeing AK like that.”
— Kent Kreitler on TGR’s 1998 release, Harvest
• Jonny Moseley wins a gold medal in freestyle at the 1998 nagano Olympics with a 360 mute.
• Skiercross premieres in the X Games, making it the first skiing discipline to be included
About the author:
Shay Williams is the former Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He now works full-time with Monster Energy, and continues to contribute to freeskier.com.