Ed.’s Note: This story references three separate articles. Read them here:
Freeskier.com “These are the 10 hottest women in freeskiing right now”
Nate Abbott “Under The Bright Lights”
BroBomb.com “A Few Thoughts on the Nate Abbott Phenomenon“
I like skiing. And I like ski media. Writing, filming, and photographing skiing is important to me. The ways it’s created and presented are fascinating and I generally enjoy taking in all of it, sort of the way one takes in a variety of food. There’s a time and place for filet mignon and also McDonalds, if you get what I’m saying. When it comes to skiing, most of the media tastes good, even the leftover ballet skiing from back in the day.
In light of Nate Abbott’s refreshingly honest appraisal of Tom Wallisch and JP Auclair’s street segment in the Sherpas film Into The Mind and Ryan Dunfee’s wandering thoughts about said review on BroBomb, I figured I’d toss my two cents into the circle and see if anyone gives a shit. At the very least, I know I do.
Nate’s review was great. As a former ski magazine editor I understand the sensitivity it takes to write a critical review (not to be confused with a negative review) while still maintaining a professional relationship with a film company your employer works with. Nate did so with tact and force. But he chose to post on his blog and the timing couldn’t have been worse. While he was widely encouraged on his personal Facebook page to post the story to Freeskier.com, Donny O’Neill, a writer I do not know and have never met, was working on his scorching, UnofficialSquaw-like, lowest-of-the-low Internet shit pile that was the 10 hottest women in freeskiing.
Donny writes that he’s there to remind us bros that there are women on the hill and, holy smokes, are they sexually attractive. That’s all well and good, Donny, and I agree that those women sure are good looking, but with a little research you’d find the women on this list are far more impressive than their physical appearance.
Maybe you’re new and, hell, when I was new at Powder, I got into a Twitter war with Snowboarder magazine about whether Glen Plake was radder than Terje Haakonsen. Hardly my best work. So Donny, maybe you were tired of opening day edits and galleries from outerwear press trips, and that’s why you posted your story but here are a few story angles you could’ve pursued instead. Don’t worry about using these. To paraphrase Lil Wayne, “I got so many of them, I give that shit away for free!” Here goes:
-Ingrid? What hasn’t she done? She’s done so much, in fact, that just this month two other major babes (in a literary sense), Heather Hansman and Megan Michelson, penned excellent features on her many accomplishments, struggles, and victories. This one writes itself. And Ingrid is one of the most professional, kind, and thoughtful people you’ll ever interview. Give her a call.
-Meanwhile, Lynsey Dyer, while never one to shy away from the camera for a bikini photograph, is hard at work on a two-year film project. In talking with her, Lynsey doesn’t want her film to be a “statement” or “women’s issue” silly thing like that. She wants to make a rad ski movie that just happens to have only women in it. I wonder how that’s going? Maybe give her a call. Use the telephone. See what she says. Write it down and post it.
Who knows? Maybe, in your job as a magazine/website editor, you could lend her a hand or put her in touch with good connects. People helping people. It’s an awesome feeling, man, and one that makes me want to work in the ski industry for a long time.
-And while that adorable photo of Caroline Gleich in roller blades is certainly one of her many modeling photos, the December Powder Cover Skier is on her way to the summit of 20,702 foot Chimborazo in Ecuador. That’s the tallest mountain in the country. You’d know that if you did a little research instead of Googling the always terrible Female Pro Skier Name + the word “hot.” I’m actually Googling Ecuador now because I only vaguely have an idea where that country is on a map.
-Keltie Hansen? You mean one of the rising stars in Canada’s already stacked halfpipe program? I wonder what her experience is growing into an Olympic athlete in the shadow of the legendary Sarah Burke?
-Or how about Sierra Quitiquit? Maybe talk to her about what it’s like to be a polarizing figure in a male dominated sport where women struggle to get, really, anything and she’s riding a wave of success in both modeling and skiing? I did, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Check out mine on ESPN’s Freeskiing page, see what I missed, then make me look like an idiot that doesn’t know how to ask questions.
Okay, that should get you started, Donny.
The real problem I have here isn’t that this list exists, but that there’s an unhealthy culture in ski media that says a hot chick top ten list has greater weight than Nate’s honest ski movie review. That sucks. Dunfee claims people love negative reviews. I disagree. BroBomb’s numbers are meager and that proves my point (sorry, Dunf). What I believe Ryan and Nate are trying to say, and I agree with, is that ski media needs to be more critical and balanced. We’re not, as Johnny Stifter alluded to in his Intro, Chicken Soup for the Skier’s Soul, but we’re also not Mother Jones. If we care about skiing so much, shouldn’t we have strong, developed opinions about it? I know I do.
A few years back, I wrote a negative review of an MSP ski film and posted it to Powder.com. Within a day or two, my editor and I received a scathing email from the folks at MSP, berating my review, maybe even calling it worthless, and probably threatening to kick my ass if I ever stepped foot in Crested Butte.
The next year, I saw those same guys at premiere in Seattle. And we had a great chat. A few years later, I moved to Tahoe and low and behold there’s Scott Gaffney from MSP pretty much everywhere I go. Does he snicker at me as I order a beer at the Chammy, turn down interview requests, or talk shit? No. Instead, we too occasionally share great chats about ski media, that thing I was telling you about earlier that I really love. Turns out Scott does too.
I believe Scott and I have a mutual respect for one another, one that clearly wasn’t shown to the female athletes featured in the top ten list. Although Scott and I’s opinions about a piece of his work were different, it also allowed us to have a critical, constructive conversation about making ski media. And that not only benefits us as creators of art (not to be confused with assets or content), but also the end consumer, be it a movie-goer, magazine reader, or Internet browser. Sure that top 10 list “sells” but it also presents the sport as a masochistic, meathead (not to be confused with the always awesome Meatheads), lame sport that only cares about objectifying women, getting drunk, and doing crazy stunts. This, in a time when we’re, as Freeskier always reminds us, putting our sport up on the biggest stage.
I’m glad to see Nate putting it on his blog and watching the shit storm form on Newschoolers.com. I’m glad to see him signing his work, not shying away from his opinions, which, shocker, I tend to agree with more times than I don’t. However, I wish this post was made on Freeskier.com instead of his Tumblr page and definitely in place of the top ten hottest women in freeskiing.