Style Never Dies
Christian Gagnon, building on pioneers of the past. Tyler Kraushar Photo.
Styles Never Dies
The new school of riders are building on what the pioneers started, continuing their art of expression and taking it further than before. This is why the notion of style never dying is cyclical in nature; there’s always a new crop of up and comers that are killing it. Everyone brings something unique to the sport. It’s what you bring that separates you from others. And when done right it leaves a lasting impression, which is why authentic style is timeless and eternal. Riders come and go, but style is a legacy, it never dies.
There’s no Stanley Cup of backcountry sledding. Everything a player does in a traditional sport can be measured and documented, which determines the value of a player. Team sports are quantified and an athlete’s legacy is based off of statistics. So where does the value of style work into sledding and why does it matter?
It’s unspoken knowledge that there’s a hierarchy to the sport’s best riders; you can compare to see if you can do everything they do and have a rough idea of how you stack up. But if two riders can both pull the same move it’s style that separates them, and all of a sudden style has value and is sought after, which it should be because at the end of the day it’s what people remember. Not only is it the legacy of a rider, it’s the legacy of the sport created and carried on by individuals.
The greats of freeride snowmobiling
The greats of freeride snowmobiling have a legacy defined by the most stylish and progressive feats they’ve accomplished on a sled. You watch old riding footage from the top guys and a lot of it is still stylish today. Guys like Cameron Elliot and Shad Free who rode aggressively and were some of the first people throwing tricks on sleds. Blair Morgan had standout style on a sled even pre-2000, and was known for making everything look smooth. He had an aggro racer style, often combined with tricks and whips when in the backcountry. Jay Quinlan was always innovating on new tricks and completely pushed the sport. Most of his riding in the days of the Rev chassis and even prior is just as gnarly as what most guys do on a sled today.
There are so many top-notch riders out there bringing fresh ideas and style to the table. Cory Davis and Brett Turcotte are among them; they’re basically the kings of whips. Very few people can whip a sled fully sideways off a freestyle ramp. And they also trick everything.
Every rider in the sport that is charging hard, is dedicating time, and is driven to better themselves is a part of the style movement. No matter the situation or adversity they face, the stamp of the truly passionate rider is to throw down and give their all on everything. It’s a contagious fire that catches in the hearts of every generation.