Gaffney’s Drop Everything 11 Greatest Hits (because 10 wasn’t enough, and neither is 11 for that matter)
#11: The Becks:
Pulled from the Squaw locals segment, this needs a quick backstory. In 1975, amongst a crew that was well ahead of its time, Greg Beck sent it over 100’ off one of Squaw’s most prominent cliffs, and the cliff became known as Beck’s Rock. This season, 42 years later, Greg’s son, Brandon Beck—a madman seen in many cliff jumping and rope swing videos into water—launched a massive backflip off the cliff that bears his name. The feat was captured only on an iPhone which, in my mind, makes the whole moment even cooler.
#10: The Talking Rock
We all noticed the obvious face in this rock while scouting lines at Golden Alpine Holidays, and we started laughing at the idea of it speaking. Markus Eder wanted to ski a line into it and then off of it, but he fell tricking a pillow above, so he just pulled up to the top of it to reset himself. He then pinned the bottom pillows, and back in the editing bay it all worked to add up to a fun little moment of movie magic.
#08: Blunck's Cruddy Dub 12
In a rallying scene shot all over Crested Butte Mountain Resort, half pipe superstar and local boy Aaron Blunck and Sander Hadley teed off on almost a dozen different features, including a burly road gap. But this shot stood out to me—a flawless dub 12 into a natural, beat up crud landing. Stomped. Who does that? #MSPFilms.
#07: Parker's Send
Coming back from a major knee injury, there was doubt whether Michelle Parker would even film dynamic action this year. But she got in a groove and started charging. She had hit this air in BC a week prior, but after nailing the landing she kind of just fell over for no explicable reason and went into a violent tomahawk. She had to wait out a storm, just hoping for redemption. This was her last run of the trip, and she sent the cliff again. The result helped earn her way to “Female Performance of the Year” at IF3. The side angle gives a lot better perspective of how big the air actually was. #MSPFilms#Disafear
#06: Elyse Rings Her Bell
Elyse Saugstad sends and stomps. It’s just what she does. Unfortunately, stompers are occasionally subject to Knee-to-the-Chin Syndrome, which occurred on this line in the Tahoe backcountry. But she still stomped the piss out of it, and although her husband, Cody Townsend, got a good laugh, and although it sidelined her for a couple of days, she would soon return to nail another sick line just out of frame to the right.
This beautiful line was the subject of debate—do we cut back and forth from the helmet cam to ground angle? Or do we just let one angle flow top to bottom? Several of us felt the features were too funky and unique to not be able to see it from Mark Abma’s perspective, so we went with both. In typical Abma fashion, I think he planned to spin the bottom feature but opted out at the last moment. He’d return to spin it another day and he stomped it (as he does), but the light was poor and the shot simply failed to match the beauty of this one.
#04: Sammy's Playground
On this trip to Selkirk-Tangiers in BC, Sammy Carlson went off, charging the gnarliest of pillow lines and spinning and stomping just about everything at will. In just four days of shooting he could use a Top 20 all his own. This flat 3 to 7 is just one of the many stellar shots he got from an all-time session on this face. Witnessing and capturing what he threw down was a privilege.
#03: Sammy's Butter Than US
It’s too easy for Sammy Carlson. Even though he said he’d been trying this nosebutter 7 several times through the course of the year without success, he lined this one up, cruised on in and blew us away. He wasn’t totally satisfied with his style and went for another lap and nailed it a second time, but the first hit and fresh tracks won out. The boy is good.
#02: Hoji’s “You Can’t Mess That One Up”
Eric Hjorleifson has a ton of ridiculous shots pinning it through pillows, but this shot makes the list because it’s without question the most consequential line in the movie. So good that I had to let it play out uninterrupted without cutting back and forth to his helmet cam. Couldn’t kill the flow. Look at the exposed high-speed turns with no room for error; look where his sluff pours (where he would have been flushed had he erred), and look at that blind, pinpoint exit air. So many elements here show why Hoji has long been one of the biggest badasses in the game. #MSPFilms #Disafear
#01: Markus Eder’s Immaculate Perception
Okay, I cheated with this one, because it includes two shots of Markus Eder that I simply couldn’t chose between. We built this Wu-tangy booter in the Tahoe backcountry with Connery Lundin, unsure if it would really work. The following morning we toured out in the pre-dawn darkness and were greeted with a spectacular sunrise over Donner Lake. Markus’ very first hit at 7:09 am was this cork 3 that he tweaked and then just held on to forever. He followed that up with a flawless blunted double back. The skies went gray, but he’d snuck in two banger shots and called it a day before most peoples’ days had even started.