Just a month before Dew Tour kicks off in Breckenridge, Colorado, Canadian halfpipe skier Justin Dorey announced his official retirement from the sport this week in an open letter to the ski world.— Kade Krichko
"It's time to hang it up," he says. "I've finally come to terms with retiring from competitive skiing, but I'm not going to lie to you, I'm going to miss this sh#t. I've broken into tears a few times while writing this, but not the type of tears I would have expected. Looking back and reflecting on everything that's happened, I realized that I'm the luckiest damn guy in the world."
The 28-year-old halfpipe veteran struggled to stay healthy at the tail of his competitive career, including suffering a series of concussions culminating in a particularly nasty head ding last year that is still producing symptoms today, according to Dorey. Ultimately, it was the head injuries that forced one of Canada's best to throw in the towel.
(Double cork 1260 from his 2012 Dew Tour winning run.)
Dorey put himself on the map with a Superpipe win at the 2005 World Ski Invitational (now the TELUS Ski and Snowboard Festival) and grabbed his first Dew Tour podium with a silver in halfpipe at the Mount Snow stop in 2009. Since then, the Vernon, BC native has been a mainstay on the Dew Tour circuit, including six podiums and a 2012 overall championship. Dorey also won an Association of Freeskiing Professionals World Championship, a FIS World Championship, a World Cup Championship, and a US Grand Prix Championship during his decade-long competitive career.
The high-flying Canadian was best known for going huge and landing highly technical runs. But in addition to bringing style to the stunt ditch and the podium, Dorey was also an ambassador at the halfpipe skiing's most critical hour, helping push the sport into the 2014 Sochi Olympics as part of the Canadian National Ski Team. Dorey finished first in qualifying at those Games before falling short in the final.
In Canadian teammates Simon D'Artois and Mike Riddle, Dorey has left the sport in capable hands, but the halfpipe will miss Dorey this season and beyond.
"This life has literally been a dream come true for me," says Dorey. "From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone who's had my back along the way, whether that meant cheering me on from the bottom of the halfpipe or from the other side of a TV screen. I felt the love and you guys really brought the best out of me."