Archive for December, 2011

Girls on Film

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

By: Tawnya Schultz
December 28, 2011

All of the snowboard flicks have finally dropped and it’s getting to be time to shred. Getting stoked for the upcoming season watching videos is one of my favorite pastimes. It’s been so exciting to see what the pro girls have been doing in terms of video parts and filming. While I thoroughly enjoy checking out the gnarly things the boys do, the girls get me motivated. It seems like this season more than ever the girls are representing and sending it hard. Here is a list of videos and webisodes worth checking out. Girl Power!

Standard Films “TB20″
Kimmy Fasani lands a double back in the backcountry of Silverton of Colorado in her segment. Leanne Pelosi and Raewyn Reid hit the streets in Canada.

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Ligety Skis to Victory, With Party Included

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

By Brian Pinelli
Published: December 23, 2011

ANDALO, Italy — With the towering and jagged limestone peaks of Italy’s western Dolomites as a spectacular backdrop, the bottom of the race course at Paganella Ski Area quickly morphed into a high energy rock concert on Friday. It was a festive yet slightly chaotic atmosphere in a typically serene region of natural wonder.

Less than an hour before, Ted Ligety had demonstrated that he was the master of the giant slalom, carving near perfect turns en route to a thrilling victory at the VPAY Alpine Rockfest. Ligety was the fastest of five skiers in the final round of this unusual race, which consists of five elimination rounds on a 400-meter sprint giant slalom course.

Ligety’s winning time of 34.73 seconds was only one-hundredth better than that of the young Italian Giovanni Borsotti.

“To come down and see yourself one-hundredth ahead, it was a relief for sure,” Ligety said. “Standing in the start gate, there is a lot of pressure knowing how fast you’ve already been and being the favorite also,” he said, referring to the semifinal, when he was more than five-tenths quicker than his nearest challenger, Borsotti.

Ligety, a 27-year-old from Park City, Utah, was awarded a check for 60,000 euros — a winner-take-all grand prize of more than $78,000 — as the Italian rock band Radiottanta played. Read More

Nominees Announced For 13th Annual TransWorld SNOWboarding Riders’ Poll Awards Presented By New Era

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

By: Editors of TransWorld SNOWboarding
December 21, 2011

Carlsbad, CA – The best riders of the year have officially been selected by their fellow pros for the 13th annual TransWorld SNOWboarding Riders’ Poll Awards presented by New Era and will swoop down on the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, Colorado, on Friday, January 27 to collect their accolades. It’s all part of a little thing we like to call the biggest night in snowboarding. To find out who won, join us at the Fillmore when the doors open at 7:00 p.m. The show starts at 8:30 p.m.

And the nominees for the 13th Annual TransWorld SNOWboarding Riders’ Poll presented by New Era are…

Men’s Rookie of the Year
Ethan Deiss
Mark McMorris
Jake Kuzyk

Women’s Rookie of the Year
Marie Hucal
Enni Rukajarvi
Helen Schettini

Read More…

Daron Rahlves Latest LSSM Ambassador

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Editors of: LSSM.org

LAKEWOOD, Co. (October 31, 2011) - World champion skier, Daron Rahlves is the latest Ambassador for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM), the national initiative that encourages children and adults to get involved with skiing and snowboarding by taking lessons from professional instructors. Learn more about Rahlves on the LSSM website.

Rahlves serves as ambassador for Sugar Bowl Resort in Norden, California, near Lake Tahoe. He works with the ski academy and ski team sharing his knowledge from his ski racing success. He retired from racing in 2006 and recently was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame along with the first LSSM Ambassador, Glen Plake. Olympic Gold Medalist Bode Miller is also a LSSM Ambassador.

“I’m excited to be an Ambassador for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Skiing is an amazing feeling and a great way to connect to the mountains. I’ve done it my entire life with family and friends and it’s a huge part of me,” said Rahlves. “My passion for snow sports is strong and I encourage others to try, especially kids because it’s a fun adventure and a great activity for the whole family. Once you ski or snowboard down a mountain, your life will change. I see it in the eyes of my young twins and everyone else out on the snow.”

As a racer, Rahlves won 12 World Cup races, stood on the World Cup podium 28 times and took seven U.S. National titles. He is the only American to win the legendary Hahnenkamm in Downhill and Super G. In 2001, Rahlves was the World Champion in Super G. He was named to five World Championships teams and four Winter Olympics teams.

Born in Walnut Creek, California, Rahlves was exposed to all kinds of sports including soccer, tennis, golf, waterskiing, jet skiing, motocross, and skiing. Growing up, he spent every winter in Tahoe and summers at Clear Lake, skiing and participating in water sports.

“We are so pleased to have Daron and Sugar Bowl involved with this initiative,” said Raelene Davis, chair of the LSSM task force. “He is the epitome of the all around elite athlete and recreation enthusiast who can set a good example for involvement in winter sports and activity year-round.”

Rahlves lives with his wife and two children at their home in Truckee, California and balancing that out with a place at the beach in Encinitas. For more details, go to DaronRahlves.com.

Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month is an industry initiative organized by numerous state and regional ski associations, the leading snow sports media outlets, snow sports rep associations, the Professional Ski Instructors of America, the American Association of Snowboard Instructors, SnowSports Industries America, the National Ski Patrol, and the National Ski Areas Association.

Happy Holidays From Your Friends at SIA!

Friday, December 16th, 2011

As sleigh bells ring, snow begins to glisten, we dream by the fire, walking in our winter wonderlands.

All of us at SIA are wishing you a wonderful holiday season filled with love, laughter, good health and lots of snow. As it “‘Tis the Season of Giving”, we encourage you to give locally this holiday. SOME is the local charity we are giving to this year. SOME, an organization in Washington, DC, who for more than 40 years has helped thousands of people get off the streets, transform their lives and live independently.

As we head into the New Year, let’s remember how lucky we are to work in our industry full of passion and joy. Have a wonderful holiday and we’ll see you in 2012!

686 Reclaim Project Needs Designers

Friday, December 9th, 2011

By: The Editors of 686

December 9, 2011

The RECLAIM Project: 2011 Process from 686 Technical Apparel on Vimeo.

686 is looking for a few good designers for this year’s Reclaim Project.

Have you always dreamed about being a designer? Do you live for snowboarding fashion? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then we want YOU to enter the second annual RECLAIM PROJECT, being held this year in the US and Europe at two separate and well-known tradeshows.

The three winning designers will win a trip to the SIA Show to compete on the show floor by creating a jacket out of reclaimed materials from the 686 factory. Click here for all the details or follow the jump for more.The RECLAIM Project is back and we’re looking for talented designers around the world to show us the next big thing in outerwear design! Have you always dreamed about being a designer? Do you live for snowboarding fashion? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then we want YOU to enter the second annual RECLAIM PROJECT, being held this year in the US and Europe at two separate and well-known tradeshows.

In the US and Canada, join the SIA Snow Show, 686 and Malakye.com from January 26-29 in Denver, Colorado, for the environmental design contest for emerging outerwear designers. Be one of THREE FINALISTS selected and you win a trip to the SIA Show to compete on the show floor to create a one-of-a-kind jacket design in 3 days!

For those interested participants living in Europe or Asia, join ISPO and 686 from January 29 ˆ February 1 for the design competition!

This contest will give three designers the opportunity to make an original outerwear garment from reclaimed materials, trims, and left over items from the 686 production facility. The contest will begin the opening morning of both shows but first, we have to find THREE qualified designers who can come show their stuff on the show floor.

So, the big questions is, do you think you have what it takes to be one of the finalists? If you think you can handle the pressure and have ideas bursting from your dome, all you have to do is send us your best idea for a jacket design.

We’re not talking about a crayon drawing or a stick figure. We’re talking about a legit design that you’ve thought about for years while riding the lift or sitting behind a desk. We want to be able to see your inspiration and passion for design and outerwear. Make it techy, make it innovative, make it cute, but make it YOURS.

Show us what you’ve got. If you’re chosen as one of the Finalists, you’ll be flown to SIA in Denver, Colorado from January 26 ˆ January 29 or to ISPO in Munich, Germany from January 29 ˆ February 1 to create your own masterpiece using RECLAIMED 686 trims, fabrics and materials. We’ll supply the sewing machines and all you need.

On your mark, get set… DESIGN!

Submit your entry to reclaimproject@686.com NO LATER THAN JANUARY 9, 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!

Attachments will be accepted and a jacket CAD is available for those who need it. Please email to have one sent to you.

Winners of the online contest that are chosen to compete in Denver or Munich will receive their materials and have three days to complete their garment in their workstation at the RECLAIM booth. The winner will be announced Saturday, January 28 at 5 p.m in Denver and Tuesday, January 30th at 5pm in Munich. The winning contestants from both shows will receive an internship at 686 as well as many other great prizes.

Is America the New Austria?

Thursday, December 8th, 2011
As U.S. Skiers Win Races and Ink Deals, the Sport’s Royal Power Frets; ‘All the Kids Love Bode’

By MATTHEW FUTTERMAN

The Wall Street Journal

Something strange is happening up in the snow-crusted mountains of Europe and North America. A group of U.S. skiers is trying to execute a takeover of Austria’s national sport.

After hauling in two gold, three silver and three bronze medals in Vancouver last year, the U.S. Alpine ski team has continued to make the Austrians, the sport’s still-reigning superpower, look about as dangerous as two cups of spätzle.

American Ted Ligety won his second World Cup race of the season Tuesday, beating Austrian Marcel Hirscher in the giant slalom at Beaver Creek, Colo., by a hefty margin of 0.69 seconds. Wednesday, when three-time overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn races, she’ll be attempting to win her fourth straight Alpine event.

[VonnIllo] In a photo illustration, three-time overall World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn is depicted in a traditional dirndl. Vonn attempts to win her fourth straight Alpine race Wednesday. 

The wins have moved the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association considerably closer to a goal that, when first set in 1997, seemed like a fairy tale: to produce the best Alpine team in the world. “I don’t know that I ever expected us to be this good,” said Luke Bodensteiner, vice president for athletics at the USSA, who has been with the organization for 14 years.

“You train with them and compare times and if you’ve come out ahead you know you’re in good shape,” Mathias Berthold, coach of the Austrian men’s team said of the U.S. skiers. “They’re coming on strong.”

Last weekend at an event in Lake Louise, Alberta, Vonn raced as though the rest of the field had waxed its skis with peanut butter. Vonn, who recently announced she will divorce her husband and longtime coach, Thomas Vonn, skied as though she had not a care in the world, winning her downhill races by an absurd 1.95 seconds Friday and 1.68 seconds Saturday—the equivalent of about 40-50 meters. Then she took the Super G race Sunday by 0.19 seconds.

“The U.S. has always had Olympic champions but not skiers that have won consistently as they do now,” said Herbert Mandl, who coaches the Austrian women’s Alpine team. “They have made the big effort.”

Alexandra Meissnitzer, a former Austrian World Cup champion said Austrians now envy the less-rigid U.S. approach. “We see them as super-cool because they look like they’re having so much fun,” Meissnitzer said. “With the Americans, it comes from the heart.”

The U.S. has produced world class skiers before, but never has it produced so many skiers who consistently land on the podiums at World Cup events. There’s also a pipeline in place with a group of young skiers who are on the verge of breaking into the sport’s top tier in the coming years. “It becomes easier to reach a higher level when you already have a road map to get there,” said Ligety, who is the defending World Cup giant slalom champion.

It should be noted that the Austrian and the Swiss teams have a depth that the U.S. hasn’t been able to match—but that, too, seems to be changing.

You’ve likely heard of Vonn and Ligety, as well as three-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso and, of course, Bode Miller, the winner of 33 World Cup races. The U.S. team also now includes emerging talents like Nolan Kasper, 22, who became the first American since 1989 to win a title in the Europa Cup, ski racing’s second tier. Another American, 16-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin is already ranked higher than Vonn and Mancuso were at her age.

The evolution of the U.S. success—and the fading hegemony of Europe—is as much about culture as results. American skiers are becoming viewed, by many, as the marquee faces of the sport.

A promotional poster for the season’s opening event in Soelden, Austria, for instance, featured the mug of a single skier, Bode Miller. “All the kids love Bode—he’s a little different,” Berthold said of Miller, the sport’s risk-taking iconoclast.

In another surprise, the U.S team recently signed a sponsorship deal with the tourism bureau of the Otzal Valley in the heart of Austrian ski country. The multi-year deal, which according to USSA chief revenue and marketing officer Andrew Judelson includes a “significant cash component,” gives the team a winter home that includes housing, training facilities and easy access to top World Cup tour stops. Several top European consumer brands, most notably Audi, have signed as sponsors.

Investment in facilities is also helping move the sport’s center of gravity closer to the U.S.

Earlier this year, the top European skiers descended on Copper Mountain in Colorado, where the U.S. team recently opened a $4.3 million speed skiing training center. The facility offers the only slope of its caliber nearly guaranteed to have quality snow so early in the season.

Of course, the U.S. team has gotten plenty of help from the old empire. “They hired all our coaches,” Mandl said with a laugh. Indeed, Austrian Patrick Rimi, is U.S. skiing’s Alpine director. Austrian Alex Hoedlmoser is the women’s head coach. Austrian Roland Pfeifer is the women’s technical expert.

Money has helped, too. The USSA raised $60 million during the past decade to build its training center in Park City, Utah. Thanks to a 70-member board of trustees that includes some of the country’s wealthiest citizens, the organization has an endowment that has grown by about $10 million the past five years to nearly $40 million. Since 1997 the USSA has added about 17 full-time conditioning coaches, physiologists, nutritionists and psychologists, developed a training plan it shares with hundreds of junior clubs and started concentrating its spending on the top performers.

Mancuso said she feels the U.S. skiers are already the best in the world technically. “I feel like having five of the top 10 skiers in the world is definitely possible for this team,” she said. “It’s all confidence at this level, and sometimes with the European skiers they just have another gear that some of our skiers may not have yet.”

Ex-snowboard champ Kevin Pearce charting a new life since brain injury

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

By , Published: December 1

For the past 23 months, Kevin Pearce’s life has been like one of those sixth-grade evolutionary charts, the one that starts with the ape on the left side and gradually progresses into the human on the right. He started out, after the accident, flat on his back. Eventually, he was able to sit up. Then he was able to stand on his feet, then walk, then run. Unlike the ape-to-human evolution, Pearce’s didn’t take several ages to complete. It only felt that way.

“It just feels like the never-ending journey,” he said.

On Pearce’s figurative chart, the panel on the far right, the one representing the pinnacle of his evolution, is still blank. When it’s done, it will show him standing on a snowboard. No halfpipes, no contests, no groundbreaking flips. Just strap into his board and take an easy cruise with some friends, the way he used to do when he first started.

“Soon,” the doctors tell him. But only then will the never-ending journey will be complete.

“The contests are cool and all,” Pearce, 24, said, “but now I almost feel like [the equivalent of] winning the contest for me is to get back on that board.”

His sense of time is one of the things that was robbed from Pearce after the accident, but he’s fully aware of the anniversary that approaches at the end of this month: On Dec. 31, 2009, in Park City, Utah, he struck his head on the side of the halfpipe while attempting a difficult trick called a double cork. Almost nothing about his life has been the same since.

At the time, Pearce was one of the top snowboarders in the country — a four-time Winter X Games medalist, a leading medal contender at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Instead, Pearce was still in the hospital when the Olympics came around, the victim of a traumatic brain injury that has dictated almost every aspect of his life since.

“I’ve pretty much hurt every other part of my body, and it’s all doing fine. I’ve broken plenty of bones — and they all come back,” he said. “But the brain comes back in a whole different way.”

Pearce was in Washington on Thursday to accept a Victory Award at a gala ceremony hosted by the National Rehabilitation Hospital, in recognition of his courage in overcoming his injury and his advocacy for brain-injury awareness.

Anyone meeting Pearce for the first time would never suspect the trauma he had been through. He looks and sounds like any 24-year-old from the snowboarding scene: sporting a mop of hair, a flannel shirt, utility pants and sneakers, and dropping the occasional “gnarly” and “mellow” into his unrushed but hardly slow speech.

“Have I changed much, Danielle?” he asked his publicist, Danielle Burch, who had joined him on the trip.

“You’re the same Kev as always,” Burch answered. “Maybe a little more lovey-dovey.”

At that, Pearce howled in laughter.

“I think that’s where I’m lucky, in that I’m the same person,” he said. “I feel like some people change after something like this. I really come across as the same person. I’m so lucky there. . . . Unless you hung out with me a lot [previously], you wouldn’t notice the issues. If you just have a conversation with me, you’d think I was totally fine.”

But he’s not totally fine, of course. His vision is still poor, although the surgery he had on his right eye a month ago has improved it greatly. The strong medicine he takes to prevent seizures makes him drowsy and necessitates afternoon naps most days. His short-term memory is sometimes faulty. And his sense of balance is still coming back. He doesn’t have to go through eight hours of rehab a day — eye exercises, physical therapy and cognitive drills — like he did in the months just after the accident. But he still does plenty.

Where Pearce is strongest in his battle against the injury is in his emotional state. When he speaks of his situation, there is not a trace of self-pity — only acknowledgment, and almost a boyish sense of wonder at the sudden lack of long-term direction in his life.

“I’m not like scared of saying that I’m brain-injured and I’ll always be brain-injured, and that’s just how it is,” he said. “. . . I’m trying to figure out my life pretty much. It’s pretty crazy. It was all kind of heading in this one direction, and everything was going so well. I was at the top of snowboarding. I was hanging with all my buddies. We were just living the best life, just living it up, and then it just kind of turned pretty quickly to the exact opposite of that.”

Pearce thinks about the future, of course. Just not very often and not very hard. Wisely, he isn’t looking too far ahead. He and some friends are gathering in Colorado this weekend to start shooting a pilot for a reality-TV show — about snowboarders, naturally — that they hope to get picked up. After spending seven months living with his parents in Vermont, he was able to move back into his own place in Southern California. He has dabbled in television commentary for snowboarding competitions, but he’s not ready to think about a career, or even a steady job.

“I’m not really in position to have a nine-to-five right now,” he said.

Whatever the future holds, it will not include competitive snowboarding.

“What I’ve heard from everybody is that if I hit my head again, it’s just game over. I’m done for. . . . And I don’t want to go through this again. It’s been such a struggle on me and such a struggle on my family, and such a burden for so many people to deal with. I don’t want to put that on them again.”

For now, it isn’t so bad being 24 years old, with few responsibilities outside of rehab, with plenty of friends and family to lean on, and with some money coming in from the several sponsors who stuck with him after the accident.

“The future is going to be mellow, and it’s a bummer that it has to be so mellow,” he said. “But I’m still young, and I’ve still got my whole life ahead of me. I’m not stressing it too hard yet.”

 

© The Washington Post Company