Remembering those Hot Doggin' Days
I. I remember those old hot doggin days, first as a kid reading about it in the magazines in the early 70's, than competing in it in the later part of the 70's. The circuit in the early part of the decade was called IFSA (international freestyle skiers association). Eddie Ferguson, Wayne Wong, Scott Brooksbank, Bob Theobald, Bob Salerno, Mike Shea and Eddie Lincoln were amongst some of the guys at the time. Genia Fuller, the Post sisters and Karen Huntoon were some of the women.
The mid 70's saw the emergence of a more lucrative tour called PFA (Professional Freestyle Associates) created by a guy called Curtis Oberhansly. This is where Midas became the big sponsor of the men's tour (remember the Midas Muffler scarves, and Colgate became the sponsor of the women's tour. The big events were given big air time on ABC's Wide World of Sports. Guys like Bob Salerno, Frank Bare, John Eaves, Bruce Bolesy, Alan Schoenberger and Mark Stigemeyer were doing lots of the winning then. That's also where Alan Schoenberger introduced The Puppet character on the stunt/ballet slopes. I saw one of these PFA events at Stowe, highlighted by Schoenberger's Puppet routine, John Eaves double front flip and Eddie Lincoln's HiHo (maybe the first twisting double flip).
Another tour started to emerge called the "Chevy Circuit". It was underwritten by Chevrolet and featured skiers the likes of Greg Athens, the Bowie brothers and Mike Brooks.
Both these circuits died out between 1976 and 1977.
The new circuit started the idea of a World Cup circuit. This came to life thanks to a huge push from Scott Brooksbank and his wife (at that time), Mary. That continued on through the later part of the 70's and into the early 80's. Skiers like Nano Portier, Jeff Chumas, Peter Judge, Frank Beddor, Stephanie Sloan and Renee Lee Smith were part of that era.
In the early 80's the sport started transitioning from a pro sport to an amateur sport. This was done with the intention of making it to an Olympic status. Pretty soon, the Olympics allowed pros anyway and Freestyle skiing became a demonstration event in Calgary (I think).
Throughout most of its existence, the sport had been 3 events; aerials, moguls and stunt/ballet. Aerials and moguls got admitted to the Olympics and stunt/ballet suffered a slow death from that point on.
Prior to the 3 event format, there were a number of cool, uniquely formatted events. One that comes to mind is the Friday contests. Although I never saw one first hand, I did have friends describe to me what it was like to compete in them. It was a on one run event, with a flat, smooth section on top, where the skiers did their tricks like tip rolls, pole flips, outriggers and ruels. They then moved into a steeper, moguled section which flattened out into a big jump at the bottom, where they did what ever they could in the air. One run, one winner. I think Eddie Lincoln might have one a rotted out old Jag at one of those events.
I wish someone would make a documentary on the hot dog and early freestyle years. There's tons of old movies that I'd like to see again, like Salomon's "Between Chaos and Beauty" and K2's "The Performers". If anyone knows where any of that old stuff might exist, I'd love to know.
II. I had a pair of Jet Stix. Unfortunately, I was looking to leverage my leverage, so I slid them between the shell and liner of my boot. A few attempted jet turns later, the back of my book shell ripped. I might have explained it a bit differently to the guy at the shop that I took the boots back to.
Reading some of the quotes on people's postings made me remember a quote that I appropriated for my high school year book in 1976...."If man were not meant to fly, god would have given him roots"
- Airborne Eddie Ferguson
I've got so many stories coming back into my mind, jarred by this chain of notes. Maybe I'll sift through them and share the ones that might actually be interesting to someone else, and not too embarrassing to the people in it.
One of the kindest people that I rubbed up against in my doggin days was Alan Schoenberger. In the mid 70's, he invited me to join him on an on-snow show that we toured around the east coast. I then invited this girl that I really like to join the show as well (I don't think she was too into me...yet). Eventually during the tour I wore her down to the point that she could see my one or two reasonable traits. We've now been married for 23 years and lead a great life in British Colombia. Spending that time with Alan was inspirational and rewarding. I've heard that he's doing well for himself and continues to be the showman that he was truly born to be.
That's so great.
III. I remember the event at Silver Star, as I was there competing. I don't remember who won the bumps, the person you're describing. Silver star is also where we had the "ingress", which was where the newbies got a chance to qualify for a select number of spots to join the PFA tour.
That's where the Quebec Airforce first started to emege. Aerialists like Craig Clow and Jean Corriveau started to scare the established jumpers combining fearlessness and talent into a wild package.
I was skiing on The Ski, Scott and Spademan at that event. I remember it well, as I was bump skiing and had a huge blowout. I got up looking for my skis, as they clearly were no longer attached to my feet. What I soon realized was that the soles of my feet we're feeling kinda chilly, as the soles of my Scott's stayed attached to my bindings, while I had the rest of my boot still attached to me. I've so many stories about those Scott boots.
There was also a bump skier there called Stan Colby, from Idaho. Stan was one of my favorite people on the tour. He hailed out of Bogus Basin Idaho and came up with a pack of great guys, like Brian Reynolds and Steve Youngerman. Stan was the only guy sailing HUGE helicopters in the bumps on a consistant basis, eventually moving onto 720s. I remember him completely ringing his bell crashing a 720 in training in Piancavallo Italy (might have been Austria). He got up, dusted himself off and hopped onto the T-bar that I was already riding back up the hill. By the time we got to the top of the hill, he had no idea where he was, who I was, or "what the hell" he was doing in Europe. I think he took the rest of the day off.
I thought I would add some thoughts for anybody looking for info on early days...i was second generation school, inspired by eddie ferguson, wayne wong, s. brooksbank, b. theobald, jake jakespeare...
I started competing in the chevrolet freestyle ski association circuit in 1975-6 that emerged as an alternative to PFA following the Alta, Utah ingress in 1975 or 1976 . I am trying to find more info from that time, like locating photographers who toured with the PFA or Chevrolet Freestyle Ski Assoc. to run down photos. I never won any events, but did place in the top 20 in stunt/ballet, as well as moguls and aerials, and sometimes even better combined score.
...also when I was touring i traveled with a crazy group of guys from NH, the names of whom I can't remember but went by the name of Mad Dog Aerial Ski Team or something like that...one of the guys was out of his mind throwing double back layouts 50-60 feet up and having us call him out sometimes, which really pissed off jake jakespeare who at the time was the aerial jump engineer. He never gets mentioned but he was one of the first guys back then in his silver bullet outfit doing old school stuff (jake)....
also, there was this guy who was the hottest bump skier that I had ever seen at the time (he was my age), winning some of the Chevrolet mogul events (like at Boyne Mt Michigan). He was a scrappy looking guy with long hair who had this style of always looking just about out of control but not, and had a trademark move of kicking his ski tips down at the last possible moment after blasting out of a mogul way back on his tails...it would drive the audience crazy...i remember meeting him again in the Left Gully at Tuckermans one early summer skiing VW bug size moguls...i picked up some good mogul techniques from him that day...i wonder what he is doing now...
I have lots of memories, like hanging out with Eddie Lincoln and his girlfriend at their apartment in Boulder, after driving across the country with (wild) bill o'leary in a Head Skis/Raichle ski van we were given to get to utah in for the PFA ingress in 1975 I think it was (i was sponsored at the time by Head skis).
I'd be interested in getting anybody's take on these events if you know anything more about them, or finding some cool sites with more info....I am looking for films with Tom Leroy and Herman Goelner, two pioneers of aerials...
--Moonwalk, Burlington, Vermont
For those seeking info on freestyle back in the '70 -- Rolling Stone published a comprehensive article in, I believe, the spring of 1976 (I could dig it out and give exact date to anyone researching that history or it might be available in the RS archive by now, I don't know -- Donnie Osman was on the cover). The article was by Lucian Truscott IV and it profiled many of the original players in the sport in typical "crazed" '70's style. I owned a company, PFA (Professional Freestyle Associates) and for the serious researcher I have access to info and my own p.o.v. (there are others) of the hard birthing and controversial beginings of hotdog skiing.
There seems to be a lack of material on Freestyle during the International Freestyle Skiing Association (IFSA) days...1973, 1974, etc. In 1974 we made "WINTER EQUINOX", a film that focused on John Clendenin, Ed Ferguson, Bob Salerno, and Roger Evans as they competed on the 1974 IFSA Freestlye Tour. It ran 73 minutes and went into brief theatrical release; was shown ocassionally on TV (in edited "PG" form) in the late 70s -early 80s; and then disappeared. I was 1 of the camera guys and I edited it. Bill Burks (a former freestyler) directed.
I recently came across a copy of it and have been re-editing it...making the changes we would have made if we had the time to tighten it up when we completed it in 1976.
WINTER EQUINOX follows the 1974 IFSA Freestlye Tour, starting in Waterville Valley NH, through Park City, Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, and on to Heavenly Valley...with a stop for some freeskiing at Snowbird and Brian Head UT. In addition to plenty of Freestyle competion, it has interviews with Clendenin, Ferguson, Salerno and Evans at the top of the runs, at the bottom, in an airplane, motor home, condo, hot tub, bar, and on the streets of Jackson Hole.
It's an honest (if somewhat raunchy) record of what it was like on the Freestyle Pro Tour during a 6 week period in Feb-Mar 1974. Is there interest out there in something like this? If so, we may spend the time and energy to find a pristine print of the film, digitize it, recut it, remaster the music, and put it out there.
We are not into this for the money, and before it goes anywhere there would be legal issues that must be addressed. But it is probably the only documentary out there that covered the "Good Old Days" of Freestyle in depth.
--Chuck, La Crescenta, CA
the first book was called "Hot Dog Skiing" by Bob "boogie" Mann - I must have worn that book out- i need to seek it out on ebay or something. I alwasy wondered what happened to these guys- I know Wayne Wong, Brooksbank, Eaves (Bond Stund skier) and the great Greg Athans all went on to some industry success- but where is Genya Fulller? Mark Stigemier? Sid Ericson? Mike Shea? So many others. Of course few of these guys could really ski well- especially compared to the racers of the era so they never got any real respect. I remeber in Vail we had the 1st and last Look Ma Slalom ( a SL race on a bump run. The racers destroyed the freestylers. Really after that the pro mogul tour died off!
I saw Bob Burns at the SIA ski show still hawking "the Ski" this past January.
Those were the days!
Oh, but for the good old days!... I managed to get in on the tail end of the early freestyle era, just before insurance killed the various tours. That earlier post by TIPVAULT brought back memories of names I haven't heard in years! But just to correct what I'm sure was a typo by TIPVAULT, those tours folded in 1976-77, not 96-97. And those Friday events at Aspen Highlands were called the Dearborn Cup. They were held just above Merry Go Round. What a trip they were! In those days, a really big crash in the bumps could earn you as much cash as a perfect run! They were truly the days of "FREEstyle". Now that a clock has been placed on the action, it has changed the face of the sport considerably, and limited what a competitor could do. I'm happy to see the FIS opening up those rules again- maybe one day the sport will really be "FREE" again?
Keep on rippin', guys!
The last I heard of Jack Taylor was he had moved to Steamboat, and had gone nordic... That was in the very early 80's...
Chris Thorne ran a pro bump tour in the Tahoe area for a couple of years,in the late 70's early 80's. Joey and Barb Cordeau, Dean Murphy, Mike Chew, etc were competing about then.
Scotty Brooksbank is still around- living in Reno , and is currently listed as an accredited PMTS instr. (GASP!) haha
John Clendenin was running some ski deck programs in the Bay Area for a while, then shifted to Aspen , where he runs "Ski Doc's" and "Camp with the Champs". He is also listed by Harald as an accredited PMTS instr.
Marion and Ellen Post(Foster) - Marion became a school teacher, and Ellen still lives here in the Vail Valley. She and Allan Schoenberger developed the Turning Point Ski Foundation, and together have authored several books on skiing, most recently, "The Art of Carving". I highly recommend all of her books!
Mike Grazier ran a freestyle camp program at Crested Butte for a while.
Bill O'Leary ran a freestyle training center in Lake Tahoe for several years as well.
I have completely lost track of Eddie Lincoln, Joaney Teorey, Dave Lincoln, Bob Salerno, and many others from that crowd.
Bob Salerno is a partner in a Santa Monica CA based company, Virtual Snow, where he teaches skiing and boarding on ski decks. John Clendenin owns Ski Doctors (a high-end ski school) in Aspen. Ed Ferguson lives in SE Washington, sells expensive lakefront property, and plays alot of golf. Roger Evans owns Moose Mountain, a ski resort outside Fairbanks Alaska. Michael Grazier (the other half of the aerial team of Evans and Grazier) lives in Salt Lake. I'm not sure what he is doing, but it involves outdoor sports.