Born in Tigard, Oregon, Sammy Carlson starting skiing at Mt. Hood at the tender age of four. At age 12, while ski racing, he saw local pro skier Eric Pollard taking laps through the terrain park, and was immediately struck by how much more fun and free it looked than racing. He immediately fell in love with this newer style of skiing and within two years, turned pro as one of the hottest up and coming kids in the freestyle discipline. By 16, Sammy was competing in his first X Games, and soon won his first major competition, The King of Style big air content in Sweden. The following winter, Carlson won a silver at his second X Games event, placing just behind skiing legend Candide Thovex. The next four years saw Sammy explode onto the scene, win numerous big air events, stand on the podium of the Dew Tour, and grab four more X Games medals slopestyle gold in 2011. Sammy’s desire to continue to push the boundaries of the sport lead him back home to Mt. Hood, where he built a massive jump and became the first skier to successfully pull off a triple cork. The massive 110-foot switch triple rodeo 1260 blew the doors off of what people thought was possible on a pair of skis, and made a major statement that Sammy Carlson had arrived as the steward of progression in the sport of freestyle skiing.
The following winter in Aspen at Winter X Games 16, while leading the big air competition, Sammy crashed attempting a highly technical double cork 1260 on the final jump. He exploded his knee–ending his season and the competitive momentum he’d accrued over the past several years. That summer, during rehab, Sammy began to question his ability to progress the sport in competitions with small jumps and close-minded judging criteria. The runs had become predictable and boring–creativity was burning out and Carlson was ready to migrate his creative energy and athletic talents towards filming feats never seen before on skis.
The following winter, it was announced that slopestlye skiing would be added to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi–a goal long sought by many in the sport. Under intense pressure from his sponsors, Sammy was forced to continue competing despite his heart no longer being in it 110%. Ironically, that same year it was announced that X Games would add a medal event called Real Snow, where eight of the best skiers would have two months to film a video part anywhere in the world and return with a short video that would compete, online, against the other skiers’. Sammy won the inaugural Real Snow Ski event, and his second X Games gold, with a veritable onslaught of double flips, unnatural spins, tree bonks, and insane back-to-back combos in the Whistler backcountry that justified his desire to move his career away from competitions with their preset courses, and into filming, where Sammy’s drive and creativity could max out far beyond what traditional slopestyle courses allowed him.
Despite having a bag of tricks that was the envy of skiers across the industry, Sammy shocked his sponsors and the world when he announced that he would be dropping out of his bid to make the first US Olympic Freestyle Team only a month before the Opening Ceremony at Sochi. Sammy had achieved everything he wanted to up to this date, and his heart was no longer in invested in goals that weren’t his own. He would not bow to the pressure of corporate money, and was willing to put his entire career on the line to prove it.
The Rise tells the story of Sammy’s singular approach to skiing, life, and his career, his many accomplishments that brought him to podiums as well as to the deepst reaches of the mountains, and will follow Sammy as he attempts a series of feats never before seen on skis, including a 200 meter ski jump in the back hills of Michigan’s remote Upper Peninsula.
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