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Rippin Riders

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  • Freeriding Influences Products
    From Twin-tips to Baggies, Get on the Trend

    Skiing's new commitment to fun isn't just about wild new terrain, rowdy flicks, and wild teens. The trickle down effect is sparking a new revolution and interest in skiing. Both equipment and clothing manufacturers are turning out products that capture the spirit of playing in the mountains. K2 was one of the first companies to catch the wave, using team riders to help design all-terrain rippers like the Seth Morrison signature ski, the Morrison and the twin-tip Enemy.

    In fact, twin-tip skis figure to continue to boom as a category, with manufacturers like Rossignol (the Pow Air), Dynastar (the Twinboard), Volant (the Machete), Line (the Twelve Sixty) and Salomon (the Teneighty) all building upon a new mentality that mixes snowboarding and freestyle skiing moves in parks, pipes and, increasingly, a big mountain environment.

    "There is absolutely no reason not to have skis twin-tipped, it's really limiting not to," says McConkey, who played a major role in designing the Machete line for Volant, "I mean, why not?"

    Kids who have tuned into the trend (Via ESPN X-Games or the intriguing Gravity Games) want to play the part like the big guys. If your child has not already turned to snowboarding, expect the freeriding ramble to begin.

    Kids want to look like the riders in the posters on their walls. And the youth movement is driving design of product as well. Freeskier legend Dean Cummings is part of Boulder Gear's design team, and their new designs reflect a trend sweeping the outerwear industry. No longer are manufacturers relying on designers to deliver the goods. Increasingly outerwear is being designed and tested by athletes in the field. Spyder looks to Kent Kreitler, a member of K2's freeride team, to deliver the goods on its 2000 Venom Freeride line, Sessions taps into McConkey and hot newcomer J.T Holmes, Phenix looks to Jonny Moseley and the "Three Phillipes" to push their new Freeski line and Hard Corps has its "street to summit" collection using extreme skiers Darian Boyle and Dave Swanwick. "Do you know who designed the Teneighty?" adds Salomon athlete J.P Auclair. "Mike Douglas, J.F. Cusson, Vincent Dorian and myself. No office guys involved."

    This doesn't mean that tradition will be forsaken. Companies like Rossignol and Fischer will always make high-quality racing skis for GS and slalom and tight in-the-boot stretch pants won't be going away anytime soon. But the youth-driven freeride market will become increasingly important as those in the ski industry attempt to draw new consumers to the sport and cater to those who just want to go have fun. In other words, the industry has started to remember an important aspect of the ski business, that, no matter what else it may be, at its core it is the business of selling fun. So have some.

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