Jonny Moseley, a ski bum touting a ski rum
VAIL — Mount Gay rum has found the perfect ambassador in their push to become a choice beverage of the apres ski scene.
Born in Puerto Rico, both a sailor and a skier, Jonny Moseley is that ambassador.
Moseley is best known for winning a gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in the moguls competition, where he crossed his skis and added a mute grab to the standard 360.
Skiing would never be the same.
Moseley visited Vail on Friday, Nov. 9, spending some time at the White Bison restaurant on Gore Creek with representatives from Mount Gay.
Meeting Moseley for the first time at White Bison, Vail native Barclay Rabin thought back to being a ski obsessed teenager in 1998.
“We watched the Olympics, and right after seeing that run we went out into the yard, used a go kart to build a jump, and started trying the 360 mute grab,” Rabin recalled on Friday. “Three-sixties were the jam, but nobody had ever seen it with the mute grab like that. It became the trick for skiing that was like the ollie for skateboarding.”
Moseley said while he popularized the 360 mute grab with that run, it was actually the late JP Auclair who first showed it to him. And locals such as Rabin who attended competitions in our area might have also seen the trick before Moseley performed it at the Olympics.
“In 1997, the event where I first threw the mute grab for the judges was in Breck,” Moseley recalled. “The French Canadians left that event to come to Vail and do the first ever U.S. Open of Freeskiing. JP Auclair won the big air with the mute grab, that was here in Vail.”
‘THE FREESKIING MOVEMENT’
Rabin said seeing the 360 performed with a mute grab re-energized his skiing. It’s a common sentiment among skiers.
On Moseley’s YouTube page, several commenters mention how the trick influenced freeskiing for years to come.
“Boarding was king for anyone under 25 (until) that run,” writes one commenter.
“The jump that changed the game,” writes another.
Moseley said while he had the privilege of popularizing the trick, if he had not have brought it to the mainstream, someone else would have.
“It might not have hit the mainstream as quickly, had I have not done it in the Olympics, but the freeskiing movement had begun,” Moseley said. “That was 1998, and by 2014 freeskiing events were in the Olympics. We never thought it would happen that quick.”
Following the 1998 Olympics, and Moseley would become even better known for inventing the trick known as the Dinner Roll, a 720 with an off-axis rotation.
Moseley won the U.S. Open of Freeskiing in Vail with a Dinner Roll 900, landing switch, but could never get the 720 version of the trick to come together tight enough to incorporate into a moguls run.
“I must have done dozens of them down in Chile, getting ready for the Olympics,” he said. “I finally turned it into a cork 7, almost like a D Spin, which you see in moguls runs today.”
Moseley said he has enjoyed keeping up with Vail’s proud moguls tradition, and was excited to see four of the eight moguls skiers in the 2018 Olympics come through the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail program.
One of those athletes, Morgan Schild, visited White Bison on Friday to meet Moseley.
“She has been one of my favorites to watch, for sure,” Moseley said.
Schild has won multiple World Cup events with her fast and stylish runs; among the key components of those winning runs is Moseley’s cork 720, which Schild often performs on the final jump of a moguls run.
As an homage to Moseley and Mount Gay rum, White Bison was offering a new drink on Friday — the Dinner Roll.
“It really is a great drink for apres,” Moseley said. “Perfect for a rum Manhattan.”
Rita’s two closest peers have climbed the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak 21 times each, but both of them have retired from mountain climbing.