The Art of Freeskiing

Rediscovering my love of ­skiing, ­whether in the course or not, saved me.

waterskiing
The Art of FreeskiingJason Lee

Think back to your very earliest water-ski memory. From the weekend enthusiast to the world champion, those memories are undoubtedly quite similar. It will be on a lake, man-made or natural, and will involve your family and the exhilarating allure of skimming atop the water. Fast forward slightly and those constants will still be there: family, friends, and the freedom of flying across the wakes. Slalom skiing, freed from the parameters of the course, is the very root of all forms of competitive skiing. Freeskiing, while oft neglected by the competitive masses, is still at the very center of the water-ski world; every other discipline of towed watersports is a spinoff of the first set we braved to tackle.

Moomba Masters slalom champion Marcus Brown was as buoy-centric as anyone. He dedicated his life to honing his form, always looking for that extra buoy that would move him from finalist to champion. When injury took the sport away from him in 2011, he was ­quickly ­reminded of what truly drove him to greatness in the first place. “Looking back, it was easy to see that being at the lake with my parents and my family and unmistakably existing in the moment was what skiing used to be all about for all of us,” Marcus recalls. “There’s something so intoxicating about summertime; every second on the water was cherished.” Injured and uncertain, Marcus was fortunate enough to find the clarity that would propel his career instead of sideline it. “Rediscovering my love of ­skiing, ­whether in the course or not, saved me. Ninety percent of my skiing is freeskiing now, and I love it as much as I ever did.”

The industry took note of Marcus’ ­exploits. HO Skis hired Marcus to help design a line of freeride-specific skis, and the other industry players followed suit. Time, effort and R & D dollars are being allocated to design skis that perform better at all speeds, as well as boats to produce minimal wakes, even at slower speeds and longer line lengths. Even the most seasoned competitor will improve their buoy count by periodically spending time away from the course, rediscovering the dynamics of a turn. Make it your goal this summer: Load up the boat with friends and family and take a ski ride, purely for skiing’s sake.