Every Friday in The Weekender we take a look at the best videos from the week that was—like exploring the origins of skiing in the Russian backcountry, slacklining in Hawaii and saying goodbye to a surfing legend—and we give you a preview of some of the most important events in the world of action and outdoor sports coming up this weekend.
A Legend Passes
The surf world mourned the loss of big wave legend Brock Little last night. The 48-year-old succumbed to an advanced form of cancer which he announced he had last month via Instagram. Little, who grew up in Haleiwa after his family moved to the North Shore from California when he was very young, began surfing big waves in his teens and finished fourth in the Eddie event at Waimea when he was 19, finishing runner up four years later. But he mostly made a name for himself by simply charging in big surf at places like Waimea and Mavericks. And as a Hollywood stuntman working on movies such as Days of Thunder and Transformers. “Larger than life to me,” Kelly Slater wrote about Little on Instagram. “The world I know will never be the same. I love you, man. Thank you.”
Finding Family in Bolivia
New Zealander Sam Smoothy comes from a family of alpinists. His father was a climber and explored the mountains of Bolivia as a young man, climbing many of the big peaks in the Bolivian Andes. Along with his friends John Collinson and Fraser McDougall, Smoothy revisits this beautiful part of the world, following in his father’s footsteps. A North Face-sponsored flick, Lost Gringos is a really fun adventure film featuring some good, quality ski mountaineering. Of course the skiing conditions are rock hard but the team still manages to bag some big peaks, including 17,800-foot Pequeno Alpamayo.
Great Siberian Traverse
Skiing is one of Earth’s grand traditions. People from all over the world have used two planks to travel and hunt for centuries. In The Great Siberian Traverse, Nick Martini, Ingrid Backstrom and Callum Pettit ventured into the Russian backcountry to find steep skiing, and perhaps, the origins of the sport. Sherpas Cinemas released this segment this week from the movie—one of the best in my opinion—where Pettit gets a lesson in traditional skiing from one of the locals who teaches him how to make a pair of homemade fat skis with built-in skins for climbing. The natives rip on these things.
Big Island Slacklining
The Hawaiian Islands are a lot of things to a lot of people. But a hub for slacklining? That’s a new one. In this tight short called “Step Out” from Andrew Agacoili, a group of slackliners set up highlines in two different locales on the Big Island—South Point (Kalae) and a private waterfall along the Hamakua Coast. The contrast of tight-rope type balance and the beautiful island scenery makes for good viewing. According to Agacoili, the slacklining community is pretty small in Hawaii. But it looks like it’s doing big things.
Because the Banked Slalom is Legendary
We had to go with this throwback video from the 2014 Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom event, which is coming up this weekend and celebrating 30 years. Banked slalom is basically the roots of Snowboard X you see in the X Games. But Mt. Baker—a steep resort in Washington state—was an original in the sport. Legends like Travis Rice and Terje Haakonsen regularly show up at the start gate for this party on snow that goes back to the roots of the sport: bringing riders together for good food, good company and a good race.
What’s On Tap
Monster Energy Supercross | FS1 | Saturday, 8 p.m. EST
The Monster Energy Supercross roadshow heads to Texas this weekend where “the house that Jerry built” will host the premier supercross event in the world in Arlington. Ryan Dungey is sort of running away with the tour. He posted his fourth win of the season last week in San Diego and is holding a 26-point lead in the overall.
World Cup Skiing | NBC Sports Live Extra | Saturday, 4:30am. EST (and throughout the weekend)
The U.S. women are back at it again this weekend with both of the team’s prime draws relatively healthy and back on course. Mikaela Shiffrin returned from injury last week in Crans-Montana, Switzerland for her 18th world cup victory in slalom. While the downhill and speed events were canceled from weather, Lindsey Vonn holds a three-digit lead in the overall points chase as the women head to La Thuile in northwest Italy while the men are in Chamonix, France.