“One part slopestyle, one part free for all and one part masquerade party,” the Orage Masters is back. Affectionately known as skiing’s “Anti-Comp,” the Masters returns after a two-year hiatus. The time off hasn’t let the event’s reputation fade, however, as evidenced by the sheer lunacy that has been witnessed over the past 24 hours here at Sun Valley Resort.
In its seven-year history, the Masters made its home at Mammoth Mountain, and later at Whistler Blackcomb. This marks the event’s first invasion of Sun Valley.
“It’s been one hell of a year,” said Mike Nick, Orage Marketing Director. “Sun Valley is a super partner, they’ve done amazing work over the past few years with Josh [Berman] and the Level 1 crew, 4BI9 and Stept. They know what time it is in terms of freestyle and they’re down to throw a party. After all, Sun Valley is the OG freestyle and hot dog resort in North America. There’s not a better host resort than these guys.”
Your first look at the 2013 Orage Masters course
Also new this year, teams represent film crews, whereas in the past they represented ski manufacturers. The change brings an exciting new vibe to the competition, as the various production companies battle for the ultimate bragging rights both on-hill and off. The teams are as follows:
Mike McLeod (filmer)
Shane McFalls (filmer)
Alex Martini (filmer)
Toy Soldier Productions
Shane Dowaliby (filmer)
Josh Berman (filmer)
Elite 8: Me Gustan Aviones
Dave Van Atta
Sean Devoy (filmer)
The gang arrived here on Thursday afternoon, and promptly got the party started with a private bowling session at the Sun Valley Lodge. It didn’t take long for the Sun Valley Resort staff to discover exactly what they were in for with the Masters in town this week: Human bowling via skateboards, broken light fixtures, airborne bowling balls, kegs, flamingos, shotgunning and smashing of beers on the lanes, etc. After we’d exhausted our arms, we took the debauchery back to the condos. And a few visits from hotel security later (cops, too), we made our way into downtown Ketchum to explore the bar scene. The late-night escapades that followed ain’t quite fit for print. Let your imagination do the work…
“The reputation of previous seasons has already sort of inspired this year’s crew to do more damage than has been done in the past,” said Level 1 founder, Josh Berman. “People are really taking the bull by the proverbial horns and getting after it.”
This morning, competitors awoke bleary eyed and made their way up to Dollar Mountain for a riders’ meeting and the ensuing practice session. While the snow is sparse on the hill—due to warm temps of late—Terrain Park Manager Brian Callahan and his crew have been working around the clock for the past week, farming snow, and building and shaping features. The result is a course that athletes are more than satisfied with.
“It’s unreal,” said The Kids’ Matt Margetts about the layout. “There are trannies everywhere, sick rails, epic jumps, it’s soft, sunny… this is what it’s all about. A member of the winning Masters team in 2010—the K2 Spread Eagles, Margetts knows a thing or two about what it takes to win the Masters title. “It’s all about the stage presence,” he explained. “Whoever sends it the hardest will win, and I’m not talking about the actual skiing ability… it’s whoever can put on the best show.” His thoughts on the event in general? “Orage Masters is hands down the greatest event to hit the planet. All the boys are here, I’m losing my voice, we’re f#cking partying, and it’s going to be an awesome weekend.”
Tomorrow, the teams will take to Dollar Mountain once again—this time, with all the marbles on the line. The format will be as follows: Teams battle head to head in two heats. The six non-competing teams, along with a crew of judges, will score the teams on course using a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the best possible score. Each team will be scored from a potential max score of 70 points, and depending on their performance will either advance into the next round, or be banished back to their “crib.”
After the remaining two teams square off in the final round, the six eliminated teams will select a winner. In the event of a tie, each team will send a chosen athlete to challenge the tied rival in a one-run, tie-breaker ski-off.
With some hefty prizes on the line, we anticipate one heck of a show. The first place team will walk away with $10,000 cash, courtesy of GoPro. The second place team will have a choice between a three-day trip for four to Retallack Lodge in BC, or a five-day summer getaway to Sun Valley, complete with golf, guns and more. There will be a handful of additional prizes awarded for the “half time hoedown,” the Orage Clip contest (best edit produced by one of the teams wins $5K) and the Masters broom ball tourney, which, as a matter of fact, starts in ten minutes. And we’re off!
To follow along with the madness behind the scenes, follow the #OrageMasters hashtag on Instagram and Twitter.