● By Alesha Damerville
Images courtesy of Corey Kopischke
By Robby Brown
As soon as I wake up, visions of freeskiing pop into my head.
I see the entrance to the Bashor Terrain Park waiting. The features there are dangerous: lengthy jumps, hard metal rails. Without proper care, I could get hurt, but that’s part of the attraction. The sweetness of the dance is what makes the risk worthwhile. There’s nothing like spinning and flipping through the open air. What I dream calls me to test myself. I follow the visions and it motivates me. Nobody gets up without a similar flood. Motivated by my visions of skiing, my awake-dreams, I head to the terrain park.
There is nothing like breathing the frozen early-morning air, which hits harder when it’s so still. I’m here to perfect my dance: a routine consisting of flipping, spinning, grabbing and sliding at high speeds off jumps and onto rails. The wild essence of the park is expressed in the tricks. All tricks have a takeoff and landing; feeling a strong takeoff and a seamless, smooth landing is a freeskier’s sugar.
The sport is individual, but communal. We don’t ski just for athletic activity, but also for our ski friendships. The mountain community thrives on the slopes, and in tuning into this soul, people find new friends and connect in new and exciting ways. Introduce yourself to strangers. Well-spirited commentary is greatly appreciated – yell to anyone and everyone you see. The lift conversation you have today could lead to a phone call catching up with a now-friend 10 years down the line. Look for the smiles on people’s faces. Thank someone for being a part of your experience. Find the magnificent pleasure your friends embody when turning gleefully down their run. Seize the memories and the moment in your head and lock them safe away with reverence, to bring them with you wherever you go.
Robby Brown is a 22-year-old, Steamboat Springs-native freeskier.
[“More @” callout:] Watch videos of Robby Brown tearing up the terrain park on SteamboatMagazine.com
Interested in a terrain park session? Here is what to know:
- Confidence is key. Fully commit to everything you do.
- Start slow and small. Know your limits. Pushing too far beyond your skill level could lead to injury.
- Read signage and observe all warnings.
- Respect others on the mountain. Be kind. We are all friends.
- Assess the takeoff and landing of the jump. How big is it? How much speed is necessary to clear the gap?
- Observe someone properly hitting the jump to gauge your speed. If still unsure, ask if you can follow them off the first time.
- Scope your line in, and go. Proceed down the in-run with the goal of straight alignment 20 feet before the takeoff.
- “Pop” (jump slightly) at the takeoff of the jump. Time yourself so you pop as close as you can to the moment you leave the lip.
- As you fly through the air, look for your landing. Check your own body position to be ready for landing.
- Land with your body strong and ready for impact. Brace yourself and land with even balance.
- Examine the box. Make sure it’s smooth enough to ride across.
- Approach the box straight on, with an athletic stance.
- Align yourself to ski straight over the box.
- Riding onto the box, pull your feet together to the appropriate width matching the box.
- Maintaining an athletic composure and flat ski bases, glide to the end of the box. Prepare yourself for a slight drop back onto the snow.