PETER OLENICK INTRODUCES THE WHISKEY FLIP
There will always be times in our sport when a single moment changes the way we look at its progression and evolution. Although halfpipe skiing progression was far from sluggish, Peter Olenick’s double flatspin — later named the whiskey flip — one morning in Breckenridge changed what was conceivable in pipe skiing. “It’s one thing to see that kind of trick on a TV screen, but it’s another to be there in person,” says MSP filmer, Scott Gaffney. “It only took him, what, three or four tries to stomp it? That’s pretty impressive. It unquestionably has the wow factor and I just thought, ‘Well, here we go!’ It opened new doors for skiing.”
THE SKI TOUR PUSHES HALFPIPE SKIING TO NEW LEVELS
Last year’s arrival of the Ski Tour marked the beginning of bigger coverage, bigger competition, and bigger paychecks for pro skiers. Skiing’s contest schedule grew by four stops, and the purse rose by hundreds of thousands of dollars. The TV coverage on ABC didn’t hurt, either.
Although the Ski Tour itself is a story worth discussing, it’s the infusion of interest that poured into pipe skiing that has really changed the sport. The Ski Tour can be credited with encouraging skiers to focus their efforts on improving their pipe skills, enough so that guys like Peter Olenick focused on putting a double flatspin in his run, a first of its kind.
Of ourse, Peter Olenick wasn’t the only one pushing pipe skiing to new levels. Simon Dumont took his already famous huge hits to a whole new level, and Tanner Hall brought in new switch hits that took him to the podium multiple times throughout the year, including a gold medal at the X Games. It also brought light to some new-comers, especially Mike Riddle and Jossi Wells who podiumed at multiple Ski Tour Stops, bringing their names into the common vocabulary of the skiing world.
SARAH WINS ESPY AND KRISTI NOMINATED FOR TEEN CHOICE AWARD
Arguably the two most recognizable female athletes in our sport had a banner year in the awards department. Skiing was put in the spotlight and on the red carpet by by two non-endemic institutions, ESPN and FOX. Sarah took home an ESPY for Best Female Action Sports Athlete and Kristi was nominated for the Teen Choice Best Action Sports Athlete. “It was cool to see skiing being accepted as a legit part of action sports,” says Kristi. “Being a part of something like this just shows where our sport is going.”
About the author:
Shay Williams is the Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He loves cheeseburgers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sweden. He's likely on a plane right now—first class only.