Monday, November 8, 2010

Splash to the Face

Coming into the winter season, nearly everyone who makes the winter months the center of the rest of their year will tell you about the crushing emotions associated with the wait. The anticipation, anxiety, longing, and the endless attempts to ignore the whole thing in hopes that the season will just sneak up on us without realizing it.

The methods of coping are endless and well documented; the urban ice rink lurkers, the weather report addicts, the shred movie groupies, the a lil' too-early grass and rock shredders, and the notorious and often self-deceiving 'I don't care and it will come when it comes' folk.

I've been guilty of all of the above, and I'm sure I'll try a thousand more before my times up.

But once those first sights of snow finally do show up, it's something magical. A little click occurs in the brain and I feel like a different person, a complete person once again.

With that in mind I headed up these past few weeks to enjoy some early season turns outside of Squamish in the Diamond Head area. Dropping freezing levels and optimistic forecast checking prompted myself and a few hungry friends to hike through the mud, rain, and fog in hopes of finding a thin layer of snow to quench our thirst.
Old Skicks, Fresh Look, Fresh Precip
P///Aaron Schwartz
Strapping up and hoping for snow
P///Aaron Schwartz
A few hours, and several ponderings on what the hell we were doing here, we were greeted with the first sights of snow. A vision that was compounded more and more with each step until we arrived at the conclusion that 'holy shit winter is here!'
First steps, looking real artsy
P///Aaron Schwartz
Snow line, slap dem' skins on
P///Aaron Schwartz
Simply seeing those first fresh layers of snow on the ground, gave the feeling of a fresh start and a new year in myself. A new snowfall, you've ridden it before, but never this exact one. Hell maybe even a few of the flakes in this one have already found their way under your skis or into you face during another pow day of a season past. Then traveling the world via jet stream and gulf stream alike, only to make it right back here to play once again. getting deep on day one
P///Aaron Schwartz
Shredding was accomplished, slashes were thrown, flips and spins stomped, pillows were popped, leg hair was lost, and blisters were gained. At the end of the day it was the same old fun, as if we'd never left. A quick splash of water to the face to wake us all up and offer a kind reminder of why we keep coming back.
First Backflip of the season!
P///Aaron Schwartz
Colin, already stacking that footy
P///Aaron Schwartz
Stoked, just stoked
P///Aaron Schwartz
Big thanks to Aaron Schwarz for all the photos, fresh doodles on the skis, and good times. I'll miss ya this season homie. This one's for you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Twitching Monkey

If you have a passion in life you know the feeling. If you're also hyper and have way too much energy then you really know the feeling.

That severe emotion that follows not the act of doing, but the act of not doing. That little bit of emptiness and unrest that comes from not being able to partake in whatever true joy you may find in your own life. It's a sensation that leaps and bounds around one's mind, startling in it's power to affect your actions, emotions, and overall view of the world.

For me it comes in the dead of summer, right when everyone is out enjoying the sun and bounding about in summer activities, I find myself with a little reverse seasonal mood disorder. No snow equals no ski, no ski equals way too much unfocused energy and a want for something that I know won't arrive for months and months.

Over the years of I've luckily found a way to mature in my dealings with this by well... being extremely immature. Genius right?

Monkey in action

Monkey reaction

Jumping, playing, climbing, slipping, sliding, flipping, spinning, surfing, skating, and a whole plethora of actions that keep me sane during the summer months. Usually this still translates into a vast excess of energy that keeps those around me either highly entertained or increasingly annoyed.

The 'monkey' as he is referred to by those who hang around with me the most, and getting swept up in any and every moment is what he does best. Whatever the consequence I have a good time letting that inner primate run wild in the summer and no matter the ends it always seems to bring a smile to face and a giggle to my voice.

Monkey see

Monkey do

So here's to you monkey, keeping my summer's sane, and stoke for life alive.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Selkirk Wilderness Catskiing

So maybe I’ve been slacking on the ol’ blog a little bit. My reason? Nothing good really, but I’ve been busier than I ever thought possible during shred season and I couldn’t be happier. I could rattle off the events of the past few months, but that would be no fun, check out the vibrant images, colorful language, and moving pictures below to see what’s been up.

Making sure to spend any free time I have surrounded with awesome people, meet the Cambie House crew

I’ll kick things off with Dendrite’s, and my own, inaugural Cat Skiing trip.

Morning commute

The destination, Selkirk Cat Skiing located deep in the intricate system of dirt covered and furry animal littered heart of BC. Maxim Arsenault and Chris Turpin made up my car and after seven some odd hours of driving, a late night bowling trip to Revelstoke, star gazing inside the wrappers of A&W burgers (seriously try it), and 100k a dirt road driving while trying to heard elk and birds with a truck, we finally found ourselves in Meadow Creek, BC. I’d say look it up but this place is far from easy to find.

Maxim and Turpin checking out other galaxies courtesy of A&W

Every morning I was glued to the cat windows with too much excitement for my own good

I brought all my usual camping supplies and food expecting to get stashed in a side room of some distant log shed, but things panned out a little differently. Instead we were greeted with more delicious meals than I could believe, untracked pow as far as you dare to look, masseuses, yoga sessions, and even 4 o’ clock appetizers. Plush doesn’t even begin to cover it.

A far cry from the standard pasta and oatmeal

But all amenities aside, this place has the goods. We kicked things right off with deep pow, cascading pillow lines, and multi stage goodness.

Turpin and I pretty much played add on with pillow lines all week, crazy results

This trend continued for the next several days, with more stomps than I can even begin to recount. Spins, flips, drops, flaming trees, rope swings, road gaps, explosives, bloody faces, tweaked knees, and Selkirk tea sessions, all came into play but rather than go into too much detail, I’d say just watch the movie. Let’s just say it’s mo’ better than my writing.

Perspectives #9 - Selkirk Wilderness Skiing from Dendrite Studios on Vimeo.

Also for another perspective on the whole trip here's Dendrite's take on the whole experience.

All said and done now, but I can’t wait to get back up to this spot next season. Big thanks to all the guides putting up with our nonsense, and lodge crew for putting us all up and inflating our bellies well beyond the legal limit. Cheers boys and girls, cheers.

Powder Stoke! Yeah it makes me a bit crazy

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dendriite Studios

Been filming all this season with a truly inspiring and talented group of people. They call themselves Dendrite Studios and simply put, they kill it.

They've been releasing a series of webisodes throughout the season called Perspectives. Call them lil' gems of visual delectibility...with some epic shredding tossed into the mix of course. This is all leading up to their full feature release coming this fall.

Between these shorts, the footy being stacked daily, and the lines I've been fortunate enough to witness in person, I can say with serious confidence that this flick is going to melt some faces, blow some minds, and maybe even ruin some lives. We can only hope.

Anyways without any further adue, here is the most recent clip featuring myself and Chris Turpin. Head over to to the rest of the optically delicious goodness.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Riding the Ditch to Fernie

Left Calgary after dark and started trying to get to Fernie as fast as possible for some freshies the next day. All was going well and we were enjoying the moon lit drive, until the road made a right and the truck...well the truck kept growing straight.
We killed a road sign

Two-hundred feet of plate ice, one road sign, and a roadside ditch later and we found ourselves kind of immobile.
Avy shovels, getting it done

The truck was fine and so were all it's inhabitants, so we started laughing, that was until we noticed about four or so crosses and various memorials in our impromptu ditch of death. Strain booked it up the road to try and wave off the flurry of 18-Wheelers barreling down the road and skidding right towards us in the ditch. All the while the rest of the crew was digging the truck out with images of massive semi's tipping over onto us, scary.
Not the friendliest site, in the ditch o' death

Finally the tow truck showed up, then the cops, and after convincing them that we weren't drunk and I wasn't an illegal alien we were on our way.
Getting the tow up and out
Free at last as the cops finally bail

Finally at Rob's place in Fernie at about 4am, going to try and scrape a few short hours of sleep before the resort opens. Peace
Remember, If you can't dodge it, RAM IT!

Four hours at the C.O.P. Killer

Woke up, lost an hour to good ol' Mountain Standard time and found ourselves in the first and only stop outside of BC, welcome to Calgary. Lucky enough to be staying with the young buck Rob Heule in his intercity abode, and even luckier that Rob and his entire family can seriously cook. Breakfast of champions doesn't even begin to describe it.

Double checking to be sure their really is snow here
Sketchy crew ready for a day of shooting and knife fights

After a nice lil' breakfast I was shocked to learn that this flatland mecca has a ski hill, and what's even better? It's called COP! So we put our park faces on and drove through suburbia, as rob kept telling us that amidst all this cookie cutter beige houses was a shred hill. Sure enough he was right, and rising out of the sea of suburbs came a glorious strip of white goodness.
Crazy view from the top of the C.O.P.
Just hangin'

As far as parks go this place is fun as hell. Solid jumps and jibs, plus quick chairs make for hot laps all day. Got our jump on, jibbed whatever we could, and even had a fun ass hand-plant session, possibly my new favorite trick.
Handplants, so hot right now

So many follow-cams so little time

Rob even busted out his GoPro for a couple laps and we managed to catch some shreddage magic, enjoy.

Surface COP Slayer from rob heule on Vimeo.

Afterward we got to swing right into the city of Calgary and check out some sweet shops around town. Fresh Sports was first up to bat, and this place is sweet. Steve over there is a great guy and aside from having some sick product, they've also got some of the orginal Salomon 1080 prototypes posted up on the wall.

She even glows in the dark

Now it's back at Rob's place getting packed to head off to Fernie, icy roads ahead but I'm expecting good times.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'll Kick You in the Horse

Two days of Revi are said and done, and it’s up early once again to head off to Golden, BC this time. A blanket of fresh snow with more on the snow is something that almost always gets me stoked as can be. It just puts a minor damper on things when you have to drive over one of the gnarlier mountain passes in that storm.

Sick for shred, not for driving


Several white-knuckle hours later we roll into the parking lot of Kicking Horse to find an epic scene of pow as far as the eye can see.

Peanut, tour mascot, stoked to ride

Unfortunately we run into a slight snag when a paperwork technicality means we can’t demo at Kicking Horse. O yeah and tickets? Those are out the windows too. So what do five shred bums with ADD do? Buy tickets…nope. Wait for a phone call so we can demo…no sir. Drive as high as we can on the hill, start a barbeque, and build jumps off houses…YAHTZEE!

Joel Whalen, poppin' ones

Kind of like a hood ornament for a house

So jib we did and after too many hotdogs for our own good we headed back into town. I could talk about it but just peep the video from Revi and Golden, for a better idea. Courtesy of Jah Raven Creation.

Quick Cut - Surface Demo does Revy and Golden. from Jah Raven Creation on Vimeo.

Back in Golden we stopped by 180 Board Sports for a quick waxing session on all the skis. The boys there hooked us up with access to their shop, which just so happens to be inside of an old bank vault, epic I know.

The crew chillin' in the vault at 180

Wax on, wax off, chug coffee

After some 20 odd pairs of waxed skis, and more coffee and shred stories than we could believe, we were out the door and off to Calgary.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Revel in the Stoke

Limping into Revelstoke at some time before midnight we found ourselves at our new temporary residence for the next few days. About a quarter of the way through the tour and still no hotels, count it! The residence belonged to Photo Strain’s aunt and uncle and let me just say I never though people so into taxidermy would be the nicest people on earth.

What better place to lift weight, than next to the dead bears? RAR!

The seven odd bear pelts on the wall were complimented with a nice warm fire and dinner, the wolf carcass splayed on the wall contrasted by the eerily similar dog walking around the house, and the countless antlers on the walls only went right along with the Revelstoke feel in the end.

The wolf beast mounted on the wall

The Shayne beast mounted on the floor

Woke up at the crack of whatever to find a nice little sprinkling of powy goodness on the world around us and quickly made our way to the hill. After meeting up with Surface shred dogs, Joel Whalen and Rob Heule, we made our way into the only building in the immediate area and made our way up the hill to enjoy our first demo free day of the tour.

Team Surface gondi ride

Joel Whalen 180'ing over the powder waterfall

Revelstoke as a place and as a mountain is simply dope as hell. Japan pillows under the chair go hand in hand with the cliffs, drops, and tree jibs as far as the eye can see. Nothing is really permanently closed and the pow is always in full effect so long as you know where to go. Even the cat tracks back to the lifts have some of the funnest wall hits and mini jumps along side of them to keep us ADD kids entertained.

Fresh drops for everybody!

After the fact, 50 feet down and one pillow tap in the middle

The following day the name of the game was demo, and demo we did. Tent was up at the top of the Gondola and the masses couldn’t have been happier. Having cliffs right next to the demo tent made for some good times as we were able to session em’ up in between tightening screws.

Back to work

50 feet from the demo tent, taking a lil' break

The highlight was definitely the kids out on the hill. Lil’ ripper not just ridings, but tearing the mountain a new one with skis twice their size. Revelstoke breeds epic so watch out. Next stop Golden!

Big thanks go to Strains Aunt and Uncle, everyone at RMR, as well as Jim Bay and his entire family for showing us around the hill, and having us for a great dinner. Can’t wait to come back.