Nu school? skiing’s rebirth? Ummm, maybe that’s how it was for dodgy-kneed veterans counting down to the big 3-zero and beyond. but for gen next it’s just the way skiing is and was ever since they can remember. For them it comes with gear and facilities to match, so it’s no surprise they are taking it to the next level. Time to meet some children of the revolution

Thomas Waddell

Getting a ski sponsor is a huge step on the ladder for up and coming groms, but like most things in life, you won’t get far on talent and potential alone. So sussing out candidates for this series we talked to coaches and sponsors looking for some recommendations as to who was seriously worth writing up among skiing’s next generation. One of the first and most frequently mentioned was Jindyabyne’s Thomas Waddell.

“Thomas was recommended to me by Andrea and Ursula Berchtold, who coach him at their trampoline centre in Jindabyne” says Liberty Australia’s Simon Blondel. “I got in contact, we had a great chat, he had so much passion and desire to do well that I knew he would be someone to look out for. We had a ski together at the start of last season and I could see that he had loads of potential and was driven to do well. He was already ripping, but his determination to nail tricks and be up on the hill all day in any conditions won me over. He’s got a family that back him 100%, and his Liberty family are stoked to have him onboard the team. He’s a super humble kid and a grommie that rips!”

Why did you choose to ski not board as a kid?

I tried boarding for a little while as a kid, but I could already ski and I was over crashing on my board as I was learning.

Early influences – did you have any local role models or overseas heroes growing up?

Local heroes would have to be Russ Henshaw, but when I was younger and finding out more about freesking it was Simon Dumont who was my hero when I was about the age of 11.

Did you get into freestyle and the park really early on or did you do race and moguls etc more?

I did an all mountain program until I was 14, then I switched over to a park and pipe program.

What’s a normal day at Perisher for you?

Skiing Front Valley park with all my friends having fun.

When did you get into comps?

I think 2012 will be my 3rd year of competing.

Did you always want to compete at top level or did you start that just for fun?

I started for fun when I was younger and as I got older I looked up to all the pro’s in X-Games and all and I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

You’ve been getting some big results, have you got a favourite comp or favourite event format?

Yeah the 2011 season turned out pretty well for me so I was stoked. I think that the Perisher PlayStation Night Slopestyle Series is super fun, all my friends are in it and it’s super fun to compete at night.

What about tricks – got some favourite moves?

At the moment my favourite trick would have to be a flat spin 5 or a cork 7.

We hear from the coaches you are good in the air – you have a great sense of where you are. What’s the biggest jump you have hit so far?

Yeah I developed my air sense from just doing a heap of trampolining over the years and I think the biggest jump I have hit has been at the junior section for the One Hit Wonder, which 5 juniors (from the Skiers Junction program) were invited to go session the jump for the day.

Are you scared or are you too busy concentrating on your trick?

Sometimes I get scared but you just have to keep pushing yourself.

Do you still get to do much freeskiing or are you just full on training?

I get to do a little freeskiing each season. I normally go out when the snow is super good, or the funnest day of freeskiing I had for the season was for a Liberty shoot and it snowed a heap up at Thredbo and I got to do some tree skiing.

Apart from the Olympics what comps would you most like to get into?

I would love to get into the Free Flow tour and progress that into the Dew tour, get invited to One Hit Wonder, and my goal is to be able to make it to X-Games one day.

How was it doing the One Hit Wonder stepover jump and getting up close to some of the legends?

It was super fun being able to be skiing alongside those guys and good to hit that jump with all my friends that I compete with.

Who do you respect as skiers out there at the moment?

I think Sean Pettit is an amazing skier along with all the slopestyle guys like Bobby Brown, Russ Henshaw and guys like Justin Dorey for pipe skiing and Elias Ambuhl is a nut in the big air scene.

Goals for 2012 season?

Just to do even better in my comps, work on a whole heap of new tricks and just have a heap of fun.

Ryan Cooke

Marker Volkl National Team Manager Nick Hill got the inside word on a then 12 year old Ryan Cooke via a call from Mick Klima, owner of Rhythm Snow Sports in Cooma, some 4 years ago.

“Mick recommended him as a kid showing some talent up in the Snowys, so we took a look and gave him a start” says Hill. “Cookie has been with us ever since. He loves the equipment and is super passionate and loyal about riding Marker Volkl, and now Dalbello. Last season he had a great competition year skiing on the Volkl Wall and riding Marker Royal Family bindings. He’s talked about getting more into free skiing, so this season we will get out into the back country a bit and hone his skills out there as well. He loves to ski and and has a lot of fun with it, which is so important. Stoked to have him on the Team.”

It certainly shows in his attitude and results. We caught up with him as he caught up with high school back home in Cooma after 4 weeks in Colorado on the Skier’s Junction program based out of Breckenridge.

Why did you choose to ski not board as a kid?

My parents both skied so it was only natural that I started out skiing. Then there was really no reason for me to change to snowboarding because I enjoyed it way too much and felt like a spastic if I strapped into a snowboard.

Early influences – did you have any local role models or overseas heroes growing up?

I just watched all the people around me that were doing cool stuff so I decided that I wanted to do it too. Guys like Ramone Cooper, Charlie Timmins and Russ Henshaw have always been skiers that I looked up to. I really looked up to the way they skied as well as their attitude towards skiing.

Did you get into freestyle and the park really early on or did you do race and moguls etc more?

In 2007 I went to a freeride camp in Silverstar Canada, it was then when I really started to get into park skiing and progressed a bunch. I also comped in my first freeride comp over there and that’s what sort of kicked off my love for competition.

Competing has never really all been about winning for me (although it’s nice), it’s more just going up there having fun with mates. At first competitions were not serious at all as I was 4 years younger than all the other guys in my division, it was more just about the experience. But in recent years as I started to place in events it has come to be more of a goal that I strive for. It’s amazing the level of competition from the junior Australian skiers and how close they are getting to the open mens.

Have you got a favourite comp/favourite event format?

My favourite competition would have to be the Rip Curl Free Ride Pro, it’s a super fun competition because it combines big mountain skiing with elements of park as well. The winner has to be a solid skier while also laying down a run with big drops and smooth tricks, a lot of my friends thoroughly enjoyed it as well, like Olly Immures.

What about tricks – got some favourite moves?

Truthfully I dont really have one. It really just depends what mood I’m in, one day I could be having a bunch of fun just doing 360’s and 540’s and the next it could be something totally different like flat spins, corks or 1080s.

What’s a normal day for you up at Perisher?

A normal day of skiing at Perisher I generally get up to the hill at around 9:00, usually with one of my mates, Adam Kroenert or Will Bissaker, who we pick up on our way through Jindabyne. If it’s a good day for skiing park (sunny) we spend the morning lapping the jumps in the Front Valley terrain park, whilst meeting up with other friends like Harrison Mcinnes and Thomas Waddell. By 11:30 everyone is pretty worn out, so we head into the pub for lunch. After lunch if there is still speed for the jumps we keep sessioning them, or we will just ski rails for the afternoon. Around 3:00 is when I usually head home because everyone is tired and the park starts to get icy again. And then there’s the 80 minute drive back to Cooma to look forward to.

From being over in Colorado training and doing local comps, and when you see Dew Tour and X-Games and stuff, do you look at it and think you can get up to that sort of level maybe?

The progression at the top level of freestyle skiing is insane. It was only 3 years ago when the first ever double corks were being landed, and now competition runs consist of 4 back to back doubles. It’s hard to imagine what goes through guys like Russell (Henshaw) and Bobby’s (Brown) minds.

Of course I would love to be in the top bunch of freestyle skiers in the world, but at the moment it’s hard for me to even get my head around some of the tricks that they are doing!

So I guess I will just have to wait and see where my trick progression takes me.

 

 

Jodan Cook

A perfect illustration of the fact that if you want to get ahead you need some get up and go is Falls Creek teenager Jodan Cook, who did just that over summer, lining up sponsors and hitting the road across the USA & Japan in a mega van trip attacking parks and pow from California to Hakuba. Check our Travel Bible issue out July for the full story. In the meantime, we caught up for some background.

How did you get started in skiing?

My parents moved down to Falls from Townsville when I was 5.

So you were starting just when twin tips were coming in?

I remember Tanner Hall was riding the old Rossignol Pow Airs.

You never even thought about snowboarding?

I did like half a season of boarding then decided after I saw Tanner Hall I just wanted to ski. I was maybe 11 or so at the time.

You did some racing as a kid?

I did a bunch of racing, and moguls. It wasn’t fun but it was good for you.

Falls went big with the parks early, did they let skiers in the pipe and park straight up?

Yeah they had Headwater, I think Tommy Costa and those guys were all in there. I remember my first ever time in the park was on Headwater, in the halfpipe, it was the coolest thing. It was only my second season skiing, I was supposed to be racing but I went to the park instead.

On an average day now what’s your main mission at Falls, it’s park, park, park?

Yeah, it’s straight over to Castle.

Unless there’s snow?

Yeah it’s important to keep that real.

Never got into groomed runs?

No, I just never found that interesting. Groomed runs, it’s just like you’re standing there.

Now slopestyle and pipe are in the Olympics does that make you want to go join the program – presumably then there’ll be a lead up series of events and if you’re not on board as a happy camper then you’re not involved?

I feel that it’s kind of like trying to put a tornado in a box trying to put freeride into a FIS kind of style. But with the Olympics I think the point is that it promotes the industry, it’s like if people see it then they’ll go watch the movies and things that showcase what people really do.

Maybe, but with aerials we worked out it was relatively easy to get to medal level and threw a lot of money at it, then the Chinese worked out the same thing and now they are grabbing the medals.

Yeah, and who like goes home and watches a video of aerials?

And who would want to go skiing with an aerial skier?

Like most aerial skiers can’t ski can they? But freeride skiing has got that cool factor, people just love it.

At Falls when it goes good do you want to jump on Steve Lee’s snowmobile or skin out to Mt Mackay, you young park dudes are not too lazy for that?

No, for sure, earning your turns is worth it once in a while. As soon as there’s powder it’s great to get out there.

Seriously though, people maybe don’t realise how hard kids are working. People get to see the cut and polished tricks, but what they might not realise is that kids are working for weeks, taking savage beatings, some of which can be life altering, all in order to have a trick in the bag. Or it can be life threatening, like Sarah Burke, she lost her life while training for X-Games, such an awesome skier, terrible accident. So there’s a huge amount of commitment and work going on.

For sure. And some unbelievable performances happening, absolutely next level. Are you managing to make some sort of living out of skiing yet?

Ha ha, kind of, you wouldn’t call it a living! But I am getting some money out of it, which is good, it’s nowhere near enough to cover the costs of doing it. Like travel insurance, it’s ridiculously expensive if you’re skiing comps.

What’s your best/favourite trick?

Double cork 10 and switch 9.

Who do you rate among local/OS skiers?

Dhanu Sherpa and Nick Stevens for his dedication locally. Tom Wallisch and Mike Hornbeck.

Without giving much away what were the highlights of your summer roadie?

Definitely heading out to Colorado and seeing the level of skiing out there. It’s truly inspiring to see how much the average kids are pushing it, and it seems Colorado is leading the charge!

Japan is such an amazing source of powder. You can go there for a month and not see the sun due to a seemingly never-ending snow storm. The culture is the true treasure though. It is so unique, and a really awesome feeling to have the modern skiing/western world combining and working around the traditional Japanese buildings and customs.