What do the snow-white slopes of freeskiing and Wu-Tang have in common?
"With his dreadlocks, trousers round his knees and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle gloves, slopestyle skier Henrik Harlaut may have made a bigger impression in Sochi with his choice of dress than his actual performance."
Turns out, though, the 23-year-old Swede--a 2013 and 2014 X Games Big Air gold medalist--is a big-timer in the extremely new and VICE-profiled world of freeskiing, who finished sixth in slopestyle at the Sochi Olympics, despite pantsing himself post-landing and becoming a lightning rod for the gentlemanly UK media. However, pantsing himself was hardly the most newsworthy thing Harlaut did in Sochi.
After one run, he took to the camera, threw up a "W" with his hands, and channeled the late ODB, shouting "Wu-Tang is for the children!"
Grandparents watching from the comfort of Toledo likely had no idea what hit them. Perhaps neither did the world of freeskiing. Because, as it turns out, Harlaut's passion for the Wu-Tang runs much deeper than one slap-happy moment captured on NBC.
In fact, Harlaut's been obsessed with the Wu for years--he even runs with a clan all his own, Inspired Media, loosely based on RZA, GZA, and the like.
Tanner Hall, a gold medalist at the X Games seven times over between 2001-2008, is one of the crew's OGs, along with a bunch of other freeskiers, a BMX biker, an extreme kayaker, and several movie makers. They are a production company. And a lifestyle. And a positive one, at that. They ski, create, produce, live, have fun, and do big, crazy shit--generally all while flashing a big, stupid smile.
Which is about to get even stupider. Because they are about to link up with the Wu-Tang Clan for the first time, all while the actual Clan is fresh off their 20th year together, A Better Tomorrow album release, and ground-breaking new digital content play.
Enter Masta Killa. On January 29 in Denver, MK and Harlaut will cross paths for the first time to promote the Bern Unlimited and Wu-Tang Brand, LTD helmet collaboration.
Mr. Killa himself may even make an appearance in France, at the huge B&E Invitational the Inspired guys are putting on this March.
In Denver, they'll meet. They'll greet. They'll play chess together. Harlaut might rap. Masta Killa might ski. And God knows what else.
Skiing and rapping--and the free world as we know it--may never be the same.