This is not your father's freestyle.
This is not Uncle Wayne's freestyle.
This is freestyle skiing, circa 2009, presented by the Durango Freestyle Team, co-starring fellow skiers from the USSA's Rocky Mountain Division.
The Durango freestylers, under the direction of head coach and program coordinator Kirk Rawles, showcased the Animas Surgical Hospital Southwest Freestyle competition at Purgatory last weekend.
Skiers, ages 8-18, participated in mogul events Saturday and Sunday with a training day Friday.
"It's a challenging run with a natural amphitheater at the finish area," Rawles said, reviewing the 2009 bump venue on the final steep slope of Ray's Ridge, just off Lift 8 at Purgatory.
"And it's nice when the weather cooperates," Rawles said of the picture postcard weather conditions last weekend for the USSA skiers from Vail, Winter Park, Telluride and Purgatory.
Past mogul competitions, which include two big jumps as part of the course, were staged on the bumps of Wapiti, off Lift 5 at Purgatory.
Conditions this year allowed the event to be moved to lower Ray's Ridge, with a generally steeper grade (27.7-degree average) and a finish near the base station where the Lift 8 bullwheel turns, turns and turns - just like the freestylers up on the course.
But they do a lot more than turn - circa 2009.
Executing eye-popping jumps off the well-crafted ramps on the mogul course, the freestylers also added quick, quick, quick mogul turns while a panel of USSA judges scored each run from their vantage point atop the scoring trailer.
The skiers are judged on their turns and line, their jumps and their overall pace.
The older skiers, with the appropriate certificaton from USSA, launched aerials off the jumps - flips and backflips and rolls and loops, etc.
Younger skiers popped conventional twisters and spreads and various combinations thereof.
"I was excited about how well our kids stepped up to the challenge," Rawles said after a weekend of competition. "They were awesome."
Many, he said, had their best outings of the year.
"That's a tough course," added Rawles, who has been producing mogul competitions for 20 years.
"I had kids who skied better than at any other time. Like Jenna Mulligan. Jenna had a breakthrough weekend," Rawles said.
"They all stepped up. Ellen Southworth, Jamie Wanzek ... everyone."
Mulligan, a sophomore at Durango High School, dazzled fans and fellow skiers with her confidence-building runs and her strong jumps Saturday and Sunday.
A J2 category skier, Mulligan finished second overall in Sunday's event. She trailed only J1 standout Lindsey Cannon of Telluride, who is competing in a number of NorAm events this season as she bids to make the U.S. Ski Team. Cannon won both days.
Mulligan was third in Saturday's event.
Durango teammate Ellen Southworth, a J3 competitor, was fourth overall Saturday and seventh Sunday.
Wanzek, another J3, was fifth overall both days.
"They went from intimidation in training on Friday to confidence on Sunday," Rawles said.
The boys, too, had a dynamic weekend, Rawles said, in all age groups.
Zak Watkins, an alumnus of the Durango Freestyle Team, returned to Purgatory to bolster the field and support his former teammates.
Skiing out of Telluride on the NorAm Tour, Watkins is chasing an Olympic bid with fellow Telluride freestyler Wade Parkinson.
They showed why they are challenging for U.S. team positions with dizzying aerials and stunningly quick feet.
Parkinson won both days; Watkins was second both days.
Brandon Denker, with Durango Freestyle roots, was third Sunday, fourth Saturday.
Ben Southworth, one of several Junior Olympians on the Durango Freestyle Team, finished third Saturday.
Other local Junior Olympians who competed include Sam Gosney, Derek MacGuffie, Garret Jung and Matt Mulligan.
"Guys like Zak and Matt started as devo skiers," Rawles said. "Here they are seven years later ... at the top."
Rawles said it is invaluable for the older, experienced freestylers to set solid examples for the younger skiers.
"When you have guys like Zak, coming out of the program, coming back here and skiing, it means a lot. I was really proud of them (older skiers). Proud of the coaches.
"The younger kids see where they are watching the older ones," Rawles said.
"To get a high five or a fist pump from Zak, that's special. And he talks to the younger kids. Anything (he says) goes further than what any coach could tell them."
Matt Mulligan, for one, agrees. He's more than happy to compete with skiers like Watkins. And he's happy to ski for a coach like Rawles.
A J1 competitor, Matt Mulligan was fourth overall Sunday after taking eighth Saturday.
"Kirk has always been there. He's seen me grow up on skis," said Mulligan, a senior at DHS.
"Kirk knows how to explain things. He knows what to say ... to (affect) my skiing," said Mulligan, a budding filmmaker, who debuted his first production last fall.
Mulligan and his Shadow Puppet Productions released "Point of Interest," which has been shown at several ski-film festivals.
The premiere was held at the Abbey Theatre in November.
"(Freestyle competition) makes you a good skier. It improves your overall skiing," Mulligan said.
Likewise, he said, learning proper jumping techniques on a freestyle course serves an all-around skier, too.
"My favorite thing to do is jump off stuff ... in (competitions), in the (terrain) park, wherever," Mulligan said.
He added that he plans to make another ski film this year, with more to follow.
For Rawles, Mulligan's movies and Watkins' "Zak-flip" are all part of a progression.
"They understand this is a progression," Rawles said. Younger skiers progress to more difficult jumps, more refined bump skiing.
Older skiers progress to more difficult aerials, even better mogul skiing.
And, perhaps, movies.