2012: Freeskiing's Year in Review
When freeskiing pioneer and Winter X Games champion Sarah Burke died on Jan. 19, 2012 from injuries sustained in a halfpipe crash, it affected the entire action-sports industry and beyond. A memorial set up in Burke's honor has raised more than $300,000.
First Olympic qualifers
In preparation for ski slopestyle and halfpipe's Olympic debuts in Sochi, Russia, in 2014, the first Olympic qualifiers took place in fall 2012 in New Zealand and Australia. More countries created national teams and more freeski World Cups were added.
In the winter of 2012, 34 people died in avalanches in the U.S. and many more in other countries, including 11 in Nepal. As a result, avalanche awareness became more widespread, more people signed up for safety courses and sales of safety gear spiked.
Record Low Snowfall
Dismal snowfalls during the 2012 winter -- the third-lowest season snowfall on record -- caused sales of ski equipment and visitor numbers at resorts to take a nosedive. Gear sales dropped by 12 percent, and many businesses were forced to shut down.
FWT Merger Complete
After years of negotiations, the Freeskiing World Tour and the Freeride World Tour finalized their merger in July 2012 and announced six world tour stops for 2013, the first time that one skier will be crowned an official world champion.
Passes Get Cheaper
In 2012, season pass prices continued to drop as resorts teamed up to offer joint passes at major deals, including the $379 Mountain Collective Pass, which works at Jackson Hole, Aspen/Snowmass, Squaw/Alpine, and Alta.
Three years after injuring both knees, ski halfpipe pioneer Tanner Hall returned to the competition scene in 2012 with the goal of qualifying for the 2014 Olympics. Skeptics say he won't make it; Hall is out to prove them wrong.
Freeskier Kristi Leskinen issued a survey in March 2012 that found that female skiers and snowboarders may be safer and more able to progress on smaller slopestyle jumps than men. Some women agreed; others spoke out in protest.
Plans to link seven separate resorts in Utah -- which would create the U.S.'s first European-style interconnect and North America's largest ski complex -- moved forward in legislation. Opposition to the Utah development remains fierce.
Josh Dueck's Backflip
On February 3, 2012, Josh Dueck, who was paralyzed in a ski crash in 2004, became the first person to do a backflip on snow in a sit ski. The former X Games Mono Skier X gold medalist earned a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year nomination.
In Jan. 2012, after eight years, two months and 10 days, world record holder Rainer Hertrich ended his streak of skiing every single day due to a health issue. In total, he notched 2,993 consecutive days of skiing.
Shane McConkey Movie
A movie about the late Shane McConkey is currently finishing up post-production, set to debut in winter 2013. The film is being created by Red Bull and Matchstick Productions and will document the life of the legendary freeskier, who died in 2009.