After making waves in Jackson Hole on the first stop of the 20th Anniversary RV & Party tour, bringing down the house with live music and gear giveaways at one of Wyoming’s best après spots, the Mangy Moose, the FREESKIER crew made its way to Crested Butte, Colorado to keep the good times rolling.
Before the chairlifts started spinning on Saturday, February 10, we pulled our custom-designed RV right into the heart of Mt. Crested Butte’s ski plaza, steps away from the Silver Queen and Red Lady lifts, which are the base area’s access points to some of North America’s most coveted inbounds terrain.
With boxes and boxes of handmade donuts from Niky’s Mini Donuts—a local delicacy—freshly brewed coffee, delicious Honey Stinger waffles and a bottomless supply of high fives, team FREESKIER mingled with the many herds of skiers that traveled far and wide to be with us at 9,735 feet above sea level, including Crested Butte locals, and visitors, alike.
To make things even more exciting: As the clock struck nine and the chairlifts began to spin, a precious gift from above graced the East River Valley. Big, fat snowflakes fell heavily out of the grey sky—a snowstorm that would continue all day long until midnight. Leaving just over 10 inches in its wake, everyone in Crested Butte was notably enlivened by the fresh snow blanketing the mountain and downtown.
Whether it was the young gun kids on their way to compete in a local slopestyle competition; collegiate ski racers from Western State University, Colorado State University, and more, at the mountain for one of their season’s biggest races; Crested Butte shop employees who couldn’t help but chat about the gear stowed in the RV; the small groups of CB locals equipped with touring gear, covered in snow with smiles on their faces from an early morning hike; or, ski patrollers grateful for a donut and hot coffee on their way to keep the mountain safe, there’s nothing better than connecting with skiers on this personal level—sharing in the stoke and celebrating life in the mountains.
Once the crowds of skiers dispersed across Crested Butte’s 1000 acres of open terrain, our caffeine buzz ran out and the last donuts were enjoyed, we couldn’t help but treat ourselves to a few hot laps with the crew. Editor’s note: Smashing low-tide moguls at top speed with a good group of friends is highly recommended if you want to get the blood pumping and smile from ear to ear.
Later on, with the snow still falling, FREESKIER turned up the heat at Crested Butte’s very own BONEZ Tequila Bar and Grill. Former Olympic skier Wendy Fisher—locally known as DJ Red—hopped on the ones and twos, providing the packed house with funky, fresh beats to which everyone danced the night away. With free ski gear giveaways part-way through the night, including an outerwear kit from 686, custom skis from Meier Skis, jackets from Under Armour and Outdoor Research, Kari Traa baselayers for the ladies, socks, goggles, helmets and coozies galore, the party left everyone in high spirits—although, attendees may need an extra boost of energy to get out of bed and plunder some powder this morning.
You’ll be able to catch us in Park City, Utah next week for the third stop of FREESKIER’s 20th Anniversary RV & Party Tour, where we’ll be dishing out donuts and coffee in the morning once more, followed by a rock and roll extravaganza featuring live music by the all-ladies Led Zeppelin cover band, Zepparella, later in the evening at O.P. Rockwell. In the meantime, keep scrolling to enjoy a full gallery of our Crested Butte celebration.
Coffee and donuts with team FREESKIER
Late night antics at BONEZ Tequila Bar & Grill
FREESKIER’s 20th anniversary; thanks to our readers
Twenty years ago FREESKIER’s founder—then 25 years old—stood on a secluded lakeside dock in Wisconsin, clad in nicely pressed khakis, hoping to appear professional. He carried a laptop case in one hand and a prototype edition of FREESKIER in the other. He was there attempting to get world renowned model and actress Cindy Crawford—who was a ubiquitous presence on magazine covers, runways and in fashion campaigns in the 80s and 90s—to star on the magazine’s first-ever cover, alongside newly crowned Olympic champion and skiing celebrity, Jonny Moseley. To his surprise, she obliged. The next few years were much more “all-nighters in a dirty office than hanging with supermodels on the dock,” jokes our founder and CEO, Brad Fayfield, but it was the same entrepreneurial drive and anything-is-possible attitude displayed that fateful day that helped grow the magazine that is now celebrating two decades of fun-filled and inspirational storytelling.
Since the ‘97-98 ski season, FREESKIER has enjoyed a front-row seat to the sport’s greatest moments. The magazine has covered the technological breakthroughs of skiing’s top manufacturers, from the advent of rockered ski profiles to the widespread utilization of super-light yet super-strong materials in today’s top planks—not to mention the incredible advances in boots, bindings, outerwear, helmets and beyond. The magazine has supported your favorite ski hills, partaking in countless chairlift openings, base lodge unveilings, terrain expansions and noteworthy anniversary parties. Beyond the resort boundaries, FREESKIER has partnered with athletes, guides and under-the-radar adventurers to chart new territory in unexplored backcountry zones. We’ve shed light on iconic backcountry lodges and heli- and cat-skiing operations. The magazine has celebrated skiing’s unsung heroes, from patrollers to marketing managers to ski shop warriors. And FREESKIER’s staffers have witnessed skiing performances of the most fantastic sort, from the high peaks of the European Alps to Olympic stages to the halfpipes in Aspen.
Dozens of individuals have called the FREESKIER offices home over the past 20 years and I speak for the lot of ‘em when I say we’ve been mighty fortunate to collaborate on a near daily basis with visionaries and pioneers… with athletes, engineers and designers, snow scientists, “lifties” and instructors, photographers, cinematographers, writers, artists and so on. And we’ve been fortunate to serve a reader base that spans the globe. Today, we disseminate stories about our favorite products, places and personalities to millions of skiers whose collective appetite for great content is completely and utterly insatiable. It’s a whirlwind, and it’s a damn honor.
Though much has changed since FREESKIER’s inaugural issue hit newsstands, the skier’s passion remains constant. Yeah, we may still experience the occasional all-nighter in a dirty office, but those late-night fire drills are quickly forgotten about come morning, when we click into a pair of skis, ascend to a summit, point our skis down the hill and succumb to gravity’s pull. Today, we’re gearing up for the next 20 years of big fun and inspirational storytelling—covering gear innovations; exploration; rising stars and growing legends; and countless “firsts.” We’re looking forward to another two decades of smashing pow, cranking up the speed dial, engaging in high flyin’ antics and clinking our après mugs together, and we’re grateful to have you along for the ride.
— Henrik Lampert, Editor-in-Chief