THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SICKBIRD AWARD IN THE FREESKIING CULTURE
At the end of the event, three men and three women stand atop the podium. Whether it was blood, sweat, and tears along with relentless training or just a spurt of good luck that placed them there, all six athletes are thrilled to be in this position, and they undoubtedly deserve it. But what about that one crazy guy who sent the 100+ footer, or the guy who straight-lined the venue top to bottom? That’s where the Sickbird Award comes in. The coveted Sickbird Belt Buckle is awarded based on no numbered score and no judging criteria, but instead on sheer wow factor, something that made the crowd rise to its feet, confidence and consistency throughout the event, or one of many other factors not on the official judging criteria. Each run that stands out as a potential nominee for this award is signified by the famous call of the Sickbird.
“Though a lot of people will explain the Sickbird as an award for the rowdiest run or most radical maneuver, for me it’s bigger than that. The Sickbird is about not just what a person does in the competition, but about that person’s dedication and passion for the entire lifestyle around freeskiing. When I won at Kirkwood in 2007 it was incredibly meaningful. I was still a new, young rider, and the award represented being accepted and celebrated by a community of people that I very much respected and loved. Furthermore, the winner of the Kirkwood Sickbird the previous year was Tobias Botkin Lee who passed away in a skiing accident that spring. The award now carries his name in memorial. The buckle is a powerful symbol that I cherish greatly.”
“I would say it is most important to me as a connection to the spirit of the sport and the other skiers who have been honored with it, and an occasional reminder that I used to be a bit more badass.”
– Lars Chickering-Ayers