The year 2011 was certainly a memorable one for us here at Freeskier. We launched a new website, we produced our biggest issue ever (our 2012 Buyer's Guide), we introduced the Backcountry Edition to our lineup, and we traveled the globe to partake in many exciting events from X Games—to the Dew Tour—to the AFP World Champs—to SIA—to The Meeting 7 in Aspen—and beyond.
Along the way, the skiing community around us was hard at work. Athletes pushed themselves to the limits, film production companies and photographers went the extra mile to "get the shot," the media worked tirelessly to generate exciting and intruging content, manufacturers unveiled new products and resorts and ski hills continued to improve the skiers' experience on the slopes.
That being said, we've singled out the 10 most significant stories to hit Freeskier.com in 2011.
10. SAMMY CARLSON FIRST EVER SKIER TO RECEIVE FORMAL INVITATION TO SNOWBOARDER SUPERPARK
Having proven himself worthy as an informal guest of Snowboarder Magazine's Superpark event in 2009 and 2010, Carlson received a formal invitation to join in 2011. Carlson happily obliged, and he was present at Mt. Bachelor, OR for the duration of the session. Sammy is the only skier in history to be invited to the event, and he did skiers proud as he slayed the features one by one.
- Main story and video — posted Thursday, May 19
9. TOM WALLISCH IS THE 2010 SKIER OF THE YEAR
We pitted a handful of outstanding athletes against one another in head-to-head matchups. The winner would emerge as the 2010 Skier of the Year. After tallying more than 30,000 votes in the final round, Tom Wallisch came out on top. We sat down with Wallisch to discuss his stellar season.
- Main story — posted Tuesday, January 4
8. MADNESS IN SILVERTON AT THE RED BULL COLD RUSH
The Red Bull Cold Rush (along with the Red Bull Linecatcher) have earned their position amongst the most celebrated events in freeskiing. Combine a select group of invited athletes with insane terrain and handmade features in a big-mountain setting and you've got a recipe for some serious shredding. Take that and share it with the world in the form of kick-ass videos and awesome photo galleries and, well, now we're really talking…
- 2011 Red Bull Cold Rush results – Sean Pettit and Grete Eliassen take top honors — Posted Thursday, March 17
- See videos and content from the entire 2011 Red Bull Cold Rush
7. BOBBY BROWN FIRST FREESKIER TO LAND MULTIPLE TRIPLE FLIPS
On a filmshoot with Poor Boyz Productions at Squaw Valley, Bobby Brown made history as he launched, then stomped a triple cork 1440. Having landed another triple on location in Alyeska, AK the season prior, Bobby secured the title of the first freeskier to land multiple triple flips. The action will not disappoint.
- Main story and video — posted Monday, April 18
6. PEKKA HYYSALO BACK ON HIS FEET, SKIS
Finland's Pekka Hyysalo is one heck of an inspiration. After suffering a traumatic brain injury in April, 2010 at the age of 20, Pekka worked his way from an induced coma, to hospital, to hospital, to rehab center, to hospital, and so forth, slowly regaining everything from his motor skills to his speech.
After many months of hardship and perseverence, Pekka ultimately got back on his feet. Months later, Pekka made an emotional return to the snow.
Pekka's story is not to be missed.
- Back On His Feet: The Pekka Hyysalo Story — posted Monday, April 11
- Pekka Hyysalo is back on his skis — posted Wednesday, October 26
5. SHERPAS CINEMA RELEASES JP AUCLAIR'S URBAN SEGMENT FROM THE HIT FILM "ALL.I.CAN"
There were a great many standout performances in the plethora of ski films released this season. Of those, it is arguably JP Auclair's urban segment from Sherpas' film "All.I.Can" that stands out most. JP, a founder of the very sport which we have come to know as freeskiing, hits the streets of Trail, Rossland, and Nelson, BC looking to rejuvinate his passion via a slightly "different" experience. The skiing is phenomenal, and the camera work and editing are extraordinary.
4. ALEX SCHLOPY WINS BACK-TO-BACK AT X GAMES AND FIRST EVER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SLOPESTYLE
In late January, Alex Schlopy propelled himself from up-and-comer status to big-stage-contender when he took gold at the X Games big air and followed up less than one week later with another win at the first ever World Championships slopestyle event in Park City, UT.
Schlopy's successful week continues to stand out as one of the most impressive competition moments from the 2010/11 season.
- Alex Schlopy wins X Games big air — Posted Sunday, January 30
- Alex Schlopy wins the World Championships slopestyle, makes freeskiing history — Posted Thursday, February 3
- Catching up with Alex Schlopy: On top of the world — Posted Monday, February 7
3. SIMON DUMONT SKIS THE CUBED PIPE AT SQUAW
An idea brewed in the mind of ski superstar Simon Dumont for more than six years. The culmination of much hard work in addition to a great deal of luck, Dumont's vision finally came to life in the form the famed, "Cubed Pipe." Words don't quite do this justice, you're better off just having a look for yourself.
2. IOC APPROVES SKIING SLOPESTYLE AND HALFPIPE FOR THE 2014 OLYMPICS IN SOCHI
On Wednesday April 6, the IOC announced to the world that skiing halfpipe would join the event roster in Sochi, RUS. The decision was met with excitment from many, and dissapointment from others—worried that the integrity of the sport is at risk.
On Monday, July 4 the IOC announced that ski and snowboard slopestyle were also "a go" for 2014. The inclusion of ski halfpipe and slopestyle at the 2014 Olympics will change the face of freeskiing. Exactly how remains to be seen.
- IOC approves ski halfpipe for inclusion in the 2014 Winter Olympics — Posted Wednesday, April 6
- IOC Approves ski slopestyle for inclusion to 2014 Winter Olympics — Posted Monday, July 4
- Sub story: Athletes' initial thoughts on slopestyle inclusion — Posted Tuesday, July 5
1. JAMIE PIERRE KILLED IN AVALANCHE IN LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON
On Sunday, November 13 rumors began to circulate on Twitter of an avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT. Early reports were confusing, suggesting that at least one person died in the slide.
Shortly after news of the avalanche broke, we confirmed that it was in fact Jamie Pierre—family man, avid big-mountain shredder and star of many influential ski films—who had lost his life. The entire ski community was shocked by the passing of this veteran rider.
- Main story — Posted Sunday, November 13
- Sub-story: Official accident report — Posted Tuesday, November 15