|ESPN.com: Freeskiing||[Print without images]|
|A look back at the biggest stories in freeskiing in 2012.|
At the turn of 2012, skiers were hopeful. It was the start of a new winter, big plans were in the works, and new snow was hopefully on its way. Skiers felt optimism and promise.
When January arrived, the snow didn't come in many parts of the country. Then, on Jan. 19, 2012, the freeskiing community was hit with the hardest blow imaginable: We lost one of our best and brightest, Sarah Burke. We skiers lost other friends last winter, too. But through the sadness, we rallied together and reminded ourselves why we love this sport in the first place: It's the community of people, a tribe that follows the snow and stands up for one another. And it's that sensation you get on those perfect days when, despite all of the odds, everything comes together just right.
Last winter brought those miraculous days, too. Slopestyle and halfpipe athletes now motivated by Olympic rings, surprising underdog victories in big-mountain contests, mind-blowing film segments, deep La Niņa powder days, game-changing gear innovations and more. Last winter, when things felt down and out, skiers like Josh Dueck, who is paralyzed from the waist down, landed the first-ever backflip in a sit-ski and reminded the rest of us that anything is possible.
As we come to the close of 2012, we look back at the 12 biggest stories in freeskiing from the past year, the highs and lows that we all experienced together. We also look ahead to 2013 and wonder what this winter will bring. We have our optimism and promise back. We have a chance to start anew.