Sunday, April 3, 2016

Jerry of the Day

The world of ski media has been mesmerized by Jerry of the Day. Some kid named Colton found his calling on Instagram by posting pictures and videos of hilarious crashes, behaviours, and outfits. But what is almost as hilarious as the videos themselves is watching ski media institutions like Powder Magazine, Teton Gravity Research, Freeskier, Unofficial Networks, etc... take a break from posting garbage clickbait and fall over themselves to repost the latest Jerry of the Day video to try to cash in on the phenomenon and battle for the scraps of page views and ad clicks. The joke's on them as Jerry of the Day has almost double the amount of Instagram followers.

Ski media has always tried to present itself as "more hardcore than thou" and is almost completely devoid of the self depreciating humour that makes Jerry of the Day hilarious. What is lost in the never ending quest for progression of abilities, ski design, and fashion that they are trying to sell is the reason why people ski. We don't ski because it is serious business and goggle straps must be placed under helmets and toques must be worn at all times to cover up messy hair and skis must be at least 5 inches wide and the gnar is where the deepest pow is. We ski because it is one of the only activities where we can go wherever we want and we can control the accelerations of our bodies around corners, over bumps, and through 3D snow. We ski because it is fun. We laugh at ourselves when we faceplant.  Doglotion gets it. Powder doesn't.

7 years have now passed since Shane McConkey died while ski BASEing. I am constantly surprised that his impact reaches well into the mainstream; to be honest, I only knew of him from seeing him in the odd ski film and reading about his signature ski, the Volant Spatula in a copy of Powder Magazine my mom picked up for me at the gas station (And 7 years later, I'm still skiing on traditional cambered, traditional sidecut skis). Shane was famous for his ability to laugh at himself and his way of life, even creating a game to quantify the ridiculousness required at the top of the sport. Few skiers are talented enough to collect line score points in G.N.A.R. but everyone can enjoy the quest for extra credit points. Like licking Scot Schmidt's boots.

Colton found the humour in the mistakes we all make. Not everyone can relate to that time they skied 7 days of deep Alaska heli runs, not everyone cares about who is the best skier on the mountain, but everyone's got a story of that time their buddy forgot a key piece of equipment at home. Or that time they bit off a little more than they could chew and ended up face down in the snow.  Look in any social media comment section and it's filled with average Jerry's! They might dream about the couple of trips out west they are taking this winter. They still think moguls are cool. They still think that skiers hate snowboarders. They probably have a Jerry of the Day worthy outfit collecting dust in the attic. These are the consumers of ski media. All people looking forward to getting out, even if the only time they are "the best skier on the mountain" is around the water cooler.

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