The North Face athletes converge upon Central Park to spread freeskiing stoke
The North Face and a handful of its wintersport athletes including Tom Wallisch, Nick Martini, Callum Pettit and Kaitlyn Farrington, converged upon Central Park for Adventures NYC this past Saturday, June 22, with the goal of inspiring folks to get outside and be active.
“We’re out here in Central Park for Adventures NYC,” described Blair Witte, Sr. Coordinator for Outdoor Exploration at The North Face. “The goal is really to turn an urban park into a mecca for the outdoors and to get people excited about trying new things.”
With the introduction of freeskiing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, The North Face athletes spent the day interacting with the people of New York and educating them about the sport of freeskiing. “The North Face specific activation is really designed to educate people about freeskiing,” said Jessica Kunzer, Marketing and Communications Director for Mountain Sports International. “We’re moving into an historic event with the introduction of freeskiing at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.”
Photo displays around The North Face tent described the sports of halfpipe, slopestyle and skiercross to bring an awareness of the sport heading into Sochi. Fans could also compete against each other in a “hike the pipe” simulation, or take turns standing on the podium to experience what it’s like to take home a medal at the Winter Games.
The North Face athletes Nick Martini, Kaitlyn Farrington, Callum Pettit and Tom Wallisch.
Recent The North Face events, including the TNF Park and Pipe series, Swatch Freeride World Tour by TNF and TNF Masters and Subaru Freeride Series have been instrumental in the grassroots development of freeskiing heading into 2014. “I think that the morale in the sport is really high and people are very excited about the debut of freeskiing,” said Kunzer. “Not only is it going to be great for freeskiing, it’s going to be great for the entire ski industry and I think that’s the biggest silver lining in the whole event.”
For the athletes, it was a great opportunity to spread their love of the outdoors and help inspire youngsters to get after it. For an athlete like Nick Martini, who grew up outside Boston, sharing his personal experiences of getting outdoors—despite being located in an urban center—was very relatable to city dwellers.
“Getting that motivation to get out there and actually make it happen is a huge part,” said Martini. “To come to an event like this and have The North Face encouraging these kids to get outdoors, which they might not do that often, is really important.”
Fans also had the opportunity to “challenge” the athletes to a variety of different lighthearted competitions, including rock-paper-scissors, push-up competitions with Nick Martini and hula hooping, with the hope of scoring TNF swag. “On the East Coast, especially in these big cities, kids get stuck in the city hanging out and don’t really appreciate the outdoors,” said Martini. “That’s what we’re doing here, just getting these kids to come out and enjoy the sun and have some fun.”
That mentality and enthusiasm showed from Martini who, while at New York events like this one, is always “scoping out a bunch of rails. It’s pretty incredible terrain to be skiing on,” he said. “So if they ever get snow we’ll definitely be back here, for sure.”
For an athlete like Callum Pettit, who grew up in the outdoor playground of British Columbia, getting outside doesn’t necessarily have to mean skiing gnarly big mountain lines or climbing the tallest peaks. “I think that you can get outside everywhere, there’s always something to do,” said Pettit. “If you’re in a city or a small town, there’s endless possibilities: skateboarding or just running, swimming. Everything I do outside, I enjoy.”
While the event focused on promoting the competitive side of skiing, the athletes are all involved in additional filming projects, aimed at getting the best snow sports content out in the open for the public to consume. Wallisch had just returned from a film trip to Norway with Kyle Decker and the Field Productions crew, where their love for the outdoors is evident with every shot. See Tom recap his Norway trip here.
Whether it was gaining an introduction to the sport of freeskiing, learning about stand up paddle boarding or just hanging out on a sunny day in Central Park, Adventures NYC certainly made significant strides in spreading the love for the outdoors that many people in the United States unfortunately lack.
About the author:
Donny O'Neill hails from the mystical, faraway land of New Hartford, CT. When he's not in the mountains searching for Big Foot, he's the Associate Editor here at Freeskier.