FREESKIING MAKES ITS OLYMPIC DEBUT IN SOCHI. HERE’S A LOOK AT THE GEAR TOP COMPETITORS WILL BE ROCKING THIS SEASON.
1 » SMITH MAZE
Because of its minimalist styling and impressive set of technical features—nine vents, integrated audio, beanie compatibility, and a self-adjusting fit system—the Maze is the brain bucket of choice for Denver native and freeskiing wunderkind Bobby Brown. It’s safe to assume it will work well for you too. Of course, because of Rule 40 (see page 16), Bobby won’t be sporting the graphic of his longtime sponsor Red Bull if he makes the Games. He’ll be in a subtler matte-black version.
2 » FULL TILT DROPKICK
Last width: 99 mm Flex: 6 Expect to see the Dropkicks with this flashy lime-green paint job on several Olympians competing in slopestyle, halfpipe, moguls, and aerials. They swear by this boot because of a smooth fore-aft flex that isn’t too stiff and punishing, and a shockabsorbing boot board that helps with firm landings. The 99-millimeter last makes for a snug but not crushing fit that’s responsive but still comfortable. And if freeskiing is about style points, we give this boot a 10. [$600; fulltiltboots.com]
3 » OAKLEY A-FRAME
Seems like the A-Frame has been around forever. That’s because it fits smaller faces well, ventilates beautifully, is treated with an antifog coating, and offers incredibly sharp vision. In short, it does exactly what a goggle should do. For these reasons, Canadian slopestyle hopeful Kaya Turski trusts it. [from $100; oakley.com]
4 » ARMADA ARW
117/84/107 Lengths: 161, 166 Radius: 18.5 Vermont native Devin Logan has her sights set on both halfpipe and slopestyle at Sochi. For both events she’s chosen the ARW, a traditionally cambered, women-specific park ski. It’s designed to provide edging strength and pop for high-level freestyle skiing, while its semicap construction—sidewalls underfoot and a more flexible cap at the tip and tail—lends a little playfulness. [$650;
5 » SCOTT JIB TW
114/86/108 Lengths: 158, 168, 178, 184
Built with an interesting “3D sidecut profile”—increased radius
toward the tips and tails and almost no sidecut underfoot—the Jib
TW is designed to hold a sturdy carve while still providing an easy central pivot point. It’s the pro model of Olympic hopeful Tom Wallisch (see page 24), and it butters and presses just the way T.W.
likes. Canadian halfpipe favorite Rosalind Groenewoud will also be riding a similar version of this ski.