A Man And A Superpipe. Simon Dumont in Mammoth.
It’s a simple plan. Take Simon Dumont and Tanner Hall, two of the sports most dominant skiers, put them in a halfpipe together at Mammoth, and let them go buck wild to create some of the most creative footage and stills of the year. It seemed simple enough, as both skiers are winding down yet another successful season; both winning AFP titles, both filming with respective film companies. But even the best laid plans, the easiest of plans, can be derailed in an instant. Tanner Hall, one day before Red Bull organized this shoot, suffered a season-ending injury, breaking both tibia plateaus, narrowly escaping a more serious, long-term injury.
But the show must go on… flights have been booked, money has been spent, the pipe has been built, houses have been rented, and hours upon hours have been poured into creating this simple shoot that suffered a big hiccup. Simon Dumont rolled solo to Mammoth, joined only by the media circus: Freeskier, Poor Boyz, RedBullSkiing.com and Oakley Skiing were all on hand to capture the action. And if Tanner’s absence wasn’t enough, Red Bull athlete Angeli Van Laanen couldn’t make it to Mammoth due to an illness, leaving Simon high and dry in the halfpipe. The active cameraperson-to-skier ratio this shoot was 7-1, which doesn’t exactly incite motivation for a lone skier.
High winds forced Simon to keep his amplitude to a reasonable height and turned productive shoot days into long spring days filled with activities that weren’t slaying the halfpipe. Basketball, Xbox, long brunches, shooting interviews, cutaways, coffee runs, long dinners, parking lot waiting sessions, more Xbox, more basketball, and more waiting.
Eventually Mother Nature cooperated and let Simon do what he’s best at. Gigantic 900s, gigantic 540s, gigantic switch 1080s. Stylish, massive and blunted, Simon made the Mammoth pipe his whipping boy over the course of a couple days. Sunny skies and Mammoth’s late season 22-ft pipe gave Simon ideal conditions to shred.
Despite Tanner’s absence, Red Bull and Mammoth still put on one hell of a shoot. Tanner’s loss was indeed colossal. Simon had to ski alone, the story angle is all but gone, and Tanner’s season ended on a horribly bad note. Mammoth’s pipe may not have been slayed by two iconic skiers, but at the end of the day, one iconic skier isn’t all that bad.
Visit RedBullSkiing.com gallery for more photos from the week.
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.