Mountain Sports International (MSI) became involved with the sport of freeskiing at its origin in the 1990s. Since that time, the sport has reached new heights and will soon make its debut as an Olympic sport at the 2014 Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics.
To honor this historic year in freeskiing, The North Face partnered with Mountain Sports International, Teton Gravity Research, Sherpas Cinema and Stept Productions to create “The Rise,” a 13-episode series exploring the history and progression of freeskiing. Leading up to the Olympics, these episodes capture the spirit of U.S. Freeskiing’s rich history and revolutionary counter-culture attitude.
The first episode starts in the 70s when freestyle skiing was known as ‘hot-dogging’ and considered too dangerous to be an Olympic sport. The episodes move on with time to the early 90s when a pioneering group of skiers known as the “New Canadian Airforce” took freeskiing into snowboard parks. This group pushed boundaries and developed aerial and rail based tricks as well as the design for twin tip skis, which allowed skiers to ski backwards (switch). Finally, in 2014 freeskiing is no longer considered too dangerous and is making a historic debut at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
“Through making these episodes I had the chance to reflect on how freeskiing has grown for the pioneers of this discipline of skiing,” said MSI Video Editor Hennie van Jaarsveld. “Freeskiing was taken to the next level from living legends like Mike Douglas and Skogen Sprang. The North Face has taken freeskiing even further by investing in events like the Park and Pipe Open Series and the Freeride World Tour…that’s fantastic!”
During the production of the films, MSI had the opportunity to work with freeskiing legend Mike Douglas, aka the Godfather of Freeskiing, as well as up and coming Olympic hopefuls Devin Logan and Tom Wallisch. These athletes have been invaluable to the progression and the future of freeskiing.
Producing video of this quality requires effective communication, progressive partnerships, drive and strong work ethic. By creating this video series The North Face has given MSI the opportunity to let the public know just how outstanding the sport of freeskiing is and how it developed. MSI is contributing three episodes — Early Competition, Evolution of Pipe (from rut to super pipe), and Where is Competition Heading (Youth movement and The Olympics).
Watch the newest episodes of ‘The Rise’ each Friday at http://www.thenorthface.com/freeskiing.