Tanner Hall issues apology following baffling rant about park skiers

Posted By: The Ski Channel on January 13, 2010 7:10 pm

Check out the apology here:

Tanner Hall, one of the most decorated park skiers in the business, had a very out of character moment yesterday following the 2010 Red Bull Linecatcher competition. After watching France’s Candide Thovex light up the backcountry course with one of the most impressive runs ever witnessed in a ski competition, the injured Tanner took to the microphone and uttered some not so friendly words that might seem offensive to 99% of Newschoolers.

To briefly summarize the original clip (which has since been pulled at the request of Tanner) the park skiing pioneer essentially slams those who “rollerblade” their way through terrain parks, and essentially called out many of the ski world’s top pros for focusing their talents solely on park and pipe skiing during the alcohol-fueled tirade.

For skiers like myself who have been around the block a couple times, and seen many trends come and go in freestyle skiing for the last decade or so, I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the resounding controversy about this public rant.

On the one hand, I could take direct offense to Mr. Hall’s remarks. I grew up skiing outside Pittsburgh, PA (as did pro skier Tom Wallisch) and spent much of my time in the limited terrain parks my home mountain had to offer. It’s pretty easy to fall into a park-rat cycle when you could shred the 700 vertical your mountain had to offer, when you were 7.

Additionally, for many years I was a seasoned rollerblader, something to this day I largely credit with helping me overcome the physical and mental hurdles associated with breaking into park skiing. Those who continue to slam the sport ought to try falling on concrete after dropping 12 feet out of the air. Let me tell you first-hand, falling on snow from that height is a little bit softer.

However, rather then grow angry after viewing Tanner’s clip, I found myself recalling a similar, very publicized incident not so long ago where Tanner Hall was the subject, rather then the critic, of anti park-rat hate.

Tanner, during a Freeskier Magazine 2004 interview, claimed ski racing to be “easy.” Hall went on to add that he could easily complete a downhill course, but any ski racer would fail to even drop into the same superpipe where pro competitions are held.

Daron Rahlves, an eight-time World Cup champ, fired back: “I want to see him strap on some 215 cms. He couldn’t even turn those things, couldn’t even ski a clean arc on those things.”

Flash forward several years, and we find Tanner Hall having shifted his focus from earning X-Games Medals to producing all-mountain ski segments. Hall no longer plans to compete when he returns from rehabbing his injured knees. Meanwhile, Rahlves has retired from World Cup racing, and is now competing in Skier-X, already having competed in X-Games, with plans to attend the Winter Olympics in the newly added discipline.

What does this mean? It means that skiing is a rapidly changing sport. One day your on top of the X-Games podium, and the next you find yourself with two torn ACLs, unable to match the flashy moves of the latest 15 year-old prodigy.

While that doesn’t give you the right to trash the die-hard skier from the Midwest who rips his respective park, and attempts to learn to ski pillow lines when he is able to ski British Columbia once a year, it does earn you a unique perspective on the sport.

I’m not going to sit here and say Tanner did no wrong with his statement. However, the man has been no stranger to spur-of-the-moment outbursts. Flash back to the 2009 Winter X Games where Tanner seemed more stoked about Xavier Bertoni’s victory, than Bertoni himself. Many criticized Tanner for stealing the limelight from the Frenchman’s first X-Games win. 

But that’s just Tanner. He’s outspoken. He’s sometimes offensive, but he absolutely loves skiing, and truth be told, even if Tanner had to go about in an offensive way, someone needs to occasionally remind the freestyle skiing world about its roots. 

If two World Cup and X-Games champions can totally shift their respective focuses, and continue to dominate, then maybe skiers should continue to push themselves. For example, if your a racer, take the time to learn a 360, for if nothing more then bragging rights. If you shred only park, take some laps to polish your GS turns on a NASTAR course. In the end, you’ll become a better skier for it, because when it’s all said and done, it’s all skiing. We’re all cut from the same cloth.