Words and photos by Nate Abbott
With the contest season on hiatus, the filming season has gotten into full swing. For me, bouncing around trying to fill pages, stories, holes and covers for next year's issues of Freeskier. That has meant a whirlwind of activity.
For starters, I spent two days with the Monster Energy team at Snowbasin, Utah immediately following the 2011 Winter Dew Tour Toyota Championship which was not coincidentally held at Snowbasin. Originally, we planned on just doing a halfpipe shoot, but with the packing up of the Dew Tour set, we did a last minute scramble and shot at sunset on the final jump of the Dew Tour slopestyle course. Last minute calls added Alex Schlopy (big winner of pretty much every jump/slopestlye contest over the previous 3 weeks) and Tom Wallisch to the roster of pipe skiers — Jossi Wells (stylish two-way athlete), Kevin Rolland (who acquitted himself in fine fashion) and Justin Dorey (who has some damn fine skills himself, as he showed as a part of the victorious Team Canada at JOSS 2010).
Alex Schlopy… Champion of the old school 360 Iron Cross.
The next day we put in a long stretch of half tube shred fun, adding Peter Olenick (injured and taking it mellow — heal fast bud!) and Sarah Burke (feeling the effects of a fall the previous week, but still game as always). All day, we took laps in the warm and slushy pipe. And at 7 PM we headed back and had a long and chilly night session involving strobe lights, fog machines, flood lights, flashes and ice. Dorey banged out some dub 12s and skied a ton, Rolland showed why he's won pretty much every pipe comp this year by showing flawless form in his bag of tricks, Jossi was untouchable in the style department and overall we basically did everything the Snowbasin pipe (or any pipe for that matter) could handle.
Look for a bunch of the "A" shots to end up in the magazine next year thanks to the hard work of Monster, the Monster athletes and Snowbasin.
And since then I've spent a week shredding powder and jibbing with the Orage team followed by a sprint across the Atlantic just in time for a 20 cm bluebird powder day in St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria with Bene Mayr and Bobby Brown. Check back later in the week for those stories and more from me.