Alex Hall and Taylor Lundquist were among the biggest winners of the night at the first annual Newschoolers Awards, presented on Friday night at Copper Mountain. The ceremony celebrated the rising generation of grassroots-level up-and-comers, bookended with a Newschoolers Hall of Fame Award for Tom Wallisch, making for a passing of the torch vibe.
“This is dope,” A-Hall said, accepting the Skier of the Year nod. “I don’t even know what to say, just thanks to everyone along the way who was having fun last year. I’m trying to have just as much fun this year and keep skiing.”
Lundquist, winner of the Women’s Skier of the Year Presented by Toyota, made a huge impression in 2019 in Jyosei, a month-long street and powder filming mission in Japan with an all-female crew of riders, shot and directed by Laura Obermeyer. Genuinely surprised and somewhat at a loss for words upon receiving the award, in a year full of progressive evolution in women’s skiing, Lundquist’s acceptance speech was short and delightfully full of f-bombs.
“This is f***ing insane, I could cry right now,” she said, accepting the award. “I’m so excited for the future… what the f***?”
Jake Mageau won Men’s Breakthrough of the Year and the Style For Miles award, partly in recognition of his fan favorite entry for the 2019 X Games Real Snow video contest – with its physics-bending nollie backflip – and his part in ON3P 5, the most recent ON3P Skis team video.
Caroline Claire, previously best known as a contest skier with several FIS World Cup slopestyle wins under her belt, won Female Breakthrough of the Year as a rising star of the Faction Skis team videos.
“I just want to say thanks, Newschoolers. I didn’t know this was an awards show, I thought my name would just be posted on the Internet,” she said. “I want to thank my mom and dad, obviously, and some of my best friends are here tonight.”
Claire was a star of the women’s team section in the Faction Skis team video The Collective, which won the Ladies’ Choice film category. She also gave the acceptance speech for that award, ending with, “It’s fun to ski with your best friends and be able to produce content like this.”
The Nimbus film Drawn From Here won Outstanding Video Project (Newschoolers’ way of saying Movie of the Year). The 20-minute film documents Eric Pollard’s challenging and painful return to skiing after a severe tibial spiral fracture in his leg in 2013 that required eight surgeries.
True to the Newschoolers website’s roots as an online skiing community, awards were also presented in a number of insidery categories like the Blue Baller Award (Newschoolers members’ names appear in blue text on the site), which went to Finns T-Dog and Aapo Myllärinen for their Backyard Park edit. Newschoolers member Tall T Dan won the Valedictorian award, and Andy Parry, founder of the Tell A Friend Tour, won the Outstanding Contribution Award. Memecork won They See Me Trollin’ honors, because such dubious distinctions are also core to the Newschoolers ethos.
The final award of the evening went to Tom Wallisch, whose status as an active Newschoolers member predates a storied pro skiing career that now includes a string of memorable video parts, multiple Dew Tour slopestyle wins. and an X Games slopestyle gold. Spending his formative years on the Newschoolers forums also arguably launched Wallisch’s second-act career as a TV analyst for major freeskiing events including the X Games.
“If anything this just means that I’m old,” Wallisch joked, accepting the Hall of Fame Award, before recalling “Writing ‘sick vid 10’ on every video we saw when were kids.”
“Literally becoming a pro skier was always the dream, and Newschoolers and commenting and being a part of that forum has always been the biggest thing in skiing, so it’s so sweet to have this awards ceremony here,” Wallisch said, before shifting focus back to the night’s other honorees. “Thank you all, and congratulations to all the winners: the sport of skiing is in good hands.”