Seth Morrison Gives Andy Fischbacher Free K2 Skis For Life
Scooters, jell-o eating, ski boot smelling, meat hucking and ski designing were just some of the challenges presented to the five Golden Ticket winners as they vied to win one of the best prizes in all of skiing: free skis for life.
But that was just the finale. The contest actually started last fall, as the five found their winning tickets in one of a number of ways: by buying skis, ordering stickers online and entering along with 100,000 other people at freeskisforlife.com.
The five finalists were flown to Seattle last week for the final competition: impress Seth Morrison by doing a series of challenges and building skis. The winner, at the end of the painfully long day, would walk away with free skis for life. I say painfully long because each finalist had to wear his ski boots from about 9 am until things wrapped up at 10 pm. Sweaty.
The finalists were a rag tag bunch from all walks of life. There was Dan, an ex-military officer who recently finished a tour in Iraq. There was Andy who, at 18, lays bricks in Austria. There was Eric, who was filling in for his dad while he underwent surgery. There was Alex, a physics major who seemed to really love him some physics. And last but not least, 14-year-old Jake, the online winner, who narrowly escaped losing his seat at the table when he was at a big-mountain camp, not checking his e-mail to get his invite.
Jake ordering a virgin mojito.
After a wild dinner Tuesday night, the Big Day kicked off Wednesday morning with a meet-up in the lobby of K2 headquarters. The group was met by Drill Sargent Jeff Mechura and Seth Morrison, who set the tone quickly by ordering the finalists to put on their newly provided spandex garb and ski boots, both of which they were ordered to wear for the rest of the day. The finalists were then lead through a maze of elevator riding and stair walking, just to ensure the boots got a good working in.
For the next six hours, the finalists were treated to what few people have ever had the opportunity to see. They learned the intricate process of how to build a ski. They learned how die-cuts are made, how the proprietary K2 woven core wrap is spun, how the topsheet graphics are created, and how the massive amount of K2 skis move through the shipping system. At the end of the day, each finalist had the opportunity to hand-build their own skis, topped off with their custom-made topsheet that they prepared the night before. "All the skis are skiable," commented Seth Morrison; an impressive feat considering the number of things to mess up when building a ski.
Pep breaking a ski over his head.
The headquarters tour was educational, but it was the challenges that would help Seth decide on the one most worthy to win the ultimate prize. The highlight of the day was probably meat hucking, where each finalist grabbed a large, raw piece of beef and hucked it at a target. The spandex suits came fully equipped with spandex that ran all the way over the fingers, so there was no escaping the utter grossness of squeezing blood-running juicy beef into the suit's grips. If there's a bright point, it's that the meat juice probably made the idea of smelling each other's boots minutes earlier seem tame.
Other challenges included an obstacle course where finalists ran through a maze, hopped on scooters while evading gauntlet-esque interference from the Jack Links Sasquatch, climbing ladders, and more. Allegedly, the Sasquatch creeps around K2 headquarters from time to time, scaring the living bejesus out of unwitting employees. It had a field day with the finalists. There was a basketball game of S.E.T.H., a ski breaking contest, a game of stump… the list goes on.
When things seemed to be wrapping up, the finalists got a surprise that none of us saw coming. "You are all now part of a band called The Basslines, and you're going to be starring in K2's international ad campaign."
The finalists were carted across town to Easy Street Records, where a large stage occupies half the venue. The entire K2 Factory Team joined the finalists and a plethora of other extras K2 had gathered, and a three-hour long photoshoot ensued, with K2's Mike Powell talking on the mic the entire time. Never have I witnessed someone who can talk rubbish for that long without ever getting boring.
The Basslines put on a great show with their ski-tars while the horde of newly recruited fans partied like it was 1999. Bret Michaels wishes he could still draw such an enthusiastic crowd.
Halfway through the shoot, the DJ's record ground to a halt and Seth Morrison jumped on the microphone. It was time for each finalist to present their hand-built ski: the final and perhaps most important challenge of the day. In front of the masses, each finalist explained why they deserved free skis for the rest of their life.
After nearly eight months, a day full of challenges that culminated in a heart-felt speech, Seth came to his decision. Andreas Fischbacher, the 18-year-old bricklayer from Austria, had won the prize of a lifetime. He wore elation on his face like cheap foundation, glowing speechlessly under the stage lights, a smile from ear to ear. Though The Bassline were a fake band, Andreas, or Andy, was a true rockstar in that moment as he stood beside Seth Morrison; a true dream come true for any skier.
"You know that feeling when you stand up in the morning, looking out of the window and the weather is shit, and then you are riding on the mountain, get through the clouds on the gondola and the sun is shining and there are no clouds on the sky?" says Andy. "If you know this feeling, it's like this just a bit awesomer!"
Congratulations to Andy, and a huge thanks to K2, Seth Morrison, and everyone else involved for putting on this incredible contest, two years running.
Stay tuned, as we're about to announce a new, equally insane contest with K2 for next year.