X Games Gold Medalist Asks Fans For Feedback

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After taking the win at X Games Knuckle Huck this past weekend, professional skier Colby Stevenson, in response to alleged negativity the event generated, asked the internet via Instagram how they thought Knuckle Huck could be better.

"Have seen a lot of comments of disapproval," Stevenson wrote. "Do you guys want to see longer butters and more hand drags for this event? Because that's surely a lot more fun and easier than the progression session we had haha! Lmk in the comments below."

First off, Stevenson is correct in noting that Knuckle Huck—and competitive freestyle skiing as a larger institution—has generated some negativity.

Below the X Games post announcing the 2024 Knuckle Huck winners, several commenters called the event a "spin to win," arguing that it lacked creativity.

Isn't spinning a lot cool, though? What's the big deal?

As freestyle competitions have gotten more competitive, winning—as it always has been, in a way—has become about who can do the most spins and flips, like aerials or gymnastics. Not who can be the most creative or stylish.

To freestyle skiing's core audience, this is a problem as freeskiing initially started as a way for wayward skiers to avoid the rigidity of disciplines like racing or moguls.

Ostensibly, X Games founded Knuckle Huck to assure "core" fans that its events weren't turning into dull, highly technical aerials. Thus, when this year's Knuckle Huck saw lots of spins and flips rather than slower, more "stylish" tricks, these "core" fans were rankled.

Professional skier Sammy Carlson, in a comment below Stevenson's post, might've summed up this stance best. "No one can knock the talent it takes, but it doesn't look attractive to see people spin so fast you have to watch it in slow motion to see what actually happened or try to count the spins," Carlson wrote. "Grab or no grab to me it still looks like gymnastics and I'm not talking about your performance."

Carlson stated he wasn't talking about specifically Stevenson—just competition skiing generally.

Other pros, like halfpipe superstar Hunter Hess, weighed in from the other side of the argument. "I want you to ski the way you want to; no one needs to approve," Hess wrote.

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