Vancouver Sun

Top 10 best skiing, boarding moments of 2014


1. Cody Townsend’s line of the year: The premise behind Days of My Youth (Red Bull Media House) was simple: life is short, take risks, have fun and point your skis through a tunnel of rock and get it all on the best GoPro video footage of the year. The skier was Cody Townsend, the location was a mystery peak in Alaska, and his descent has been viewed more than seven million times on YouTube.

2. GS perfection at the Sochi Olympics: The most demanding competitio­n in ski racing is giant slalom, which requires cat-quick reflexes, an almost supernatur­al feel for the snow, and the perfect tension between going faster than hell and skiing in control. No one skis giant slalom like Ted Ligety of Park City Utah, and at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Ligety put in the run of a lifetime, leaving the rest of the field in the snow and securing an Olympic gold medal.

3. Les soeurs Dufour Lapointe: Really, could the Olympics possibly offer up a better story than the one/two/12 finish of a trio of impossibly attractive and athletic young women from Quebec and their gold and silver medals? The freestyler­s’ victories in the 2014 Sochi Games shows that freestyle skiing has truly supplanted alpine ski racing as Canada’s top snow sliding disciple — though you have to love Jan Hudec’s bronze medal in Super G, too. Bravo, Justine, Chloe, and Maxime Dufour Lapointe!

4. Mountain living and style, defined: For lovers of mountain culture, the defining moment of 2014 was Margaret Supplee Smith’s splendid book American Ski Resort Architectu­re, Style, Experience. Smith is a professor at Wake Forest University, who has spent most of her career studying the developmen­t and gleaning the significan­ce of second-home architectu­re in the mountains. The stories and cultural analysis of some of the most iconic resorts in North America are rendered in a meaningful, entertaini­ng way.

5. David McColm’s photograph­y: If you looked around any of the big social media photo websites like Instagram, you’ll see that 2014 was the year of night photograph­y — plenty of photos of the Northern Lights, the Milky Way, and jagged white mountains or frozen lakes. Whistler’s David McColm fuses technical perfection with a true artistic vision. Catch his Beyond documentar­y on the Whistler Blackcomb website.

6. Switchback releases Snowman: Whistler’s Mike Douglas orchestrat­ed the Beyond Series videos for Whistler Blackcomb (and even stars in one), produced several segments of the hugely successful Salomon Freeski series, and, most importantl­y, literally “kickstarte­red” a campaign to complete Snowman, his first full-length movie that screened to rave reviews at the Whistler Internatio­nal Film Festival.

7. Night skiing reaches a new level: In Valhalla, the creative crew at Nelson-based Sweetgrass Production­s got a bunch of skiers and riders to go nekkid in the Kootenays, which isn’t that surprising given its hippie vibe. But they topped that organic little documentar­y this winter when they dropped TK, an absolutely dazzling video which features — wait for it — night skiing. Sponsored by the Dutch electronic­s maker Phillips, Afterglow cloaks well-known skiers like Pep Fujas and Eric Hjorleifse­n in specially designed lightsuits for an entirely new take on night skiing.

8. Ski with an Olympian program at Whistler Blackcomb: “Hey, meet my new friend Rob Boyd!” Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing you could say to one of your ski buddies? Whistler Blackcomb’s Ski with an Olympian program offers the chance to ski/ride with Olympic skiers and snowboarde­rs. Skiers can choose from a day with Julia Murray, Rob Boyd, Davey Barr, Kristi Richard, Tami Bradley, Anastasia Skryabina and gold medallist Ashleigh McIvor, while snowboarde­rs can rip it up with Mercedes Nicoll, Crispin Lipscomb, Tara Teigen, Darren Chalmers, and Mike Michalchuk.

9. The airbag arrives: Every backcountr­y skier needs a backpack, but most of them are pretty tight with a dollar, making the purchase of a new bag costing over $500 pretty unlikely. But what if that backpack contained an airbag that you could deploy if you were suddenly engulfed in an avalanche? Colorado-based Backcountr­y Access makes two Float packs in 22-litre ($529) and 32-litre ($579) capacity. Other bags with ABS, Mammut, and Black Diamond are worth considerin­g, too.

10. Whistler’s stock price: If you were a Whistler Blackcomb shareholde­r in 2014, the stock was up 24 per cent over the year and paid out a five per cent dividend. Maybe ski bumming can be more profitable than banking after all.

 ?? ALEXIS BOICHARD/AGENCE ZOOM/GETTY IMAGES ?? Ted Ligety of the United States won the gold medal in the giant slalom competitio­n at the 2014 Winter Games at Sochi, Russia.
ALEXIS BOICHARD/AGENCE ZOOM/GETTY IMAGES Ted Ligety of the United States won the gold medal in the giant slalom competitio­n at the 2014 Winter Games at Sochi, Russia.

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