Dropping The Gloves

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Julian Carr skis for Rossignol, Spyder, Levitation, and Smith. A Utah native, Carr front-flipped a 200-foot cliff in Engelberg, Switzerland, for Rage Films' latest release,

Corduroy.

Julian's Point: Not As Dangerous As It Looks

You could die. It's not skiing. You're just falling like dead weight. No talent and no brains.

As the skier who jumps more gigantic cliffs — safely — than anyone in the world, I hear these things all the time. And I understand. Jumping huge cliffs isn't for everyone, just as spinning a 1080 in the pipe isn't for everyone. But when most skiers think of jumping a 200-foot cliff, it is so far from their reality that they dismiss it as a reckless, meaningless stunt.

Here's what they don't know. When I jump cliffs 140 feet and bigger (five under my belt) I am 100 percent confident in the snowpack and my abilities. I'll probe the landing. Maybe I'll even study it in the summer. I'll also study the sheerness of the cliff and spend up to an hour manicuring the takeoff. When ready to jump, I have such total body awareness that my heart rate doesn't increase. And if even a hair on my body didn't feel right, I'd walk away — which I have done. When I'm in the moment, though, everything gets smaller. I look at the cliff and visualize how jumping it is possible. Everything is planned.

It's also not as dangerous as it looks. Snow is remarkably forgiving when it's piled on an angle. If I jump into three feet of fresh powder on a steep landing, because of my trajectory and the angle of the slope, it's essentially a 15-foot-thick powder pillow. And my body doesn't take a big hit if I distribute the impact to my legs, butt, and back.

The naysayers need to recognize that jumping giant cliffs demands skills and focus. It's a calculated risk, even if it doesn't look it. Besides, if everything comes out positive, how can it be construed as anything but? —JULIAN CARR

Click on page 2 to read Anthony Boronowski's CounterPoint.[pagebreak]

Anthony Boronowski skis for Armada, Oakley, Whistler Blackcomb, and Joystick poles. A business-school student and visual artist, he lives in Vancouver, BC.

Anthony's CounterPoint: It's a Meaningless Stunt

Julian, the voices inside your head are absolutely right: Skiers

do

get injured, you

are

falling like dead weight, and jumping huge cliffs is

not

for everyone. But you're dead wrong on a few things. Your argument for big-cliff jumping is akin to a drag-car racer claiming he's a talented driver. Sure, it takes some skill to be a drag racer. The skill set consists of the following: hitting the gas when the light goes green, driving straight for two seconds, and praying your car doesn't explode—which is precisely what the audience is hoping for. Monster hucking is to skiing as drag racing is to car racing—the most mindless niche of the sport.

Real skiing has nothing in common with drag racing. It's a lot closer to rally-car racing. Rally drivers make judgments every second and rely on a diversity of hard-earned skills. They do so in new situations and varied conditions—kind of like skiing a technical big-mountain line.

Me, I love the feeling of flowing with the mountain. I'm most satisfied when I can look at natural terrain features and then incorporate freestyle tricks into my line. The controlled rush of performing freestyle tricks in an ever-changing scenario is very satisfying and, for me, the ultimate connection with the mountains.

Take a look at the most influential skiers in history—in any niche of the sport—and you'll notice a common thread: All were

smooth

. They weren't dropping like stones. When you're performing a stunt whose sole barometer of success is whether you get hurt or not, it doesn't matter how well you've calculated your risk. It will always be a "reckless, meaningless stunt. —ANTHONY BORONOWSKI