The genius folk over at The Vacuum recently launched a new stock video site dedicated to high end action sports, landscape and wildlife stock video. Having produced campaigns and sourced media for some of the biggest brands, they found a gap in the stock world that was yet to be filled, and so Bigfootage was born. The finished product is a sleek and sexy site that allows users to browse, search and preview clips easily while making the licensing and download process simple. They approached me to contribute from the b4apres Media archives so you will see plenty from Kashmir, and Kyrgyzstan along with a good selection from our backyard here in Canada.
Last week Jalpak Tash was released online for your viewing pleasure. By the weekend it had made the Vimeo Staff Picks list which I am extremely stoked about. A big thank you goes to The North Face for making the trip and film happen. I must also thank Ryan Koupal and his crew at 40 Tribes Backcountry for arranging everything, not least the yurt that he lived in for the week. And finally Nicolas Teichrob for all his hard work and creativity shooting in Kyrgyzstan.
After 12 months of planning and dreaming, the STAND expedition finally came to fruition. Delayed a month because we simply weren't ready and still didn't have a boat to make our base camp out of, touching down in Masset after an incredible float plane flight across Hecate Strait to see Soul Haven tied up at the dock made it all a reality. The next 2 weeks we would be living on a 40 foot sail boat coasting down the eastern shoreline of Haida Gwaii. Iconic for its First Nations culture and famous for its natural beauty, the trip didn't disappoint.
In February I made it to Kyrgyzstan to ski and film in the Tien Shan Mountains based out of a yurt, or traditional nomadic tent. Teaming up with photographer Nicolas Teichrob and The North Face athletes athletes Mike Hopkins, Leah Evans and Izzy Lynch, we spent 2 weeks in a part of the world that we largely knew nothing about. Flying into Bishkek we were greeted with -25 C temperatures and a thriving metrolpolis. Making our way to Karakol a more agarian aspect of the country presented itself. Skiing the local ski hill was a novel attraction before we spent a night with a local Kyrgyz family. Once in the yurt, we had everything we needed for a great week of skiing. Kas and Anarbek, two local Kyrgyz, cooked and kept the fire burning while we ventured out with Ryan Koupal of 40 Tribes Backcountry and our guide Ptor Spricenieks. Koupal launched the operation as a means of helping to develop winter based tourism in a country still recovering from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Working around dangerous avalanche conditions, altitude and myelf recovering from being struck down with pneumonia, we enjoyed numerous first descents and some incredibly warm hospitality from the local people.
Despite it's challenges we came away with some great imagery that we will distill down to a short film to released in the fall. A big thanks goes to The North Face for making the trip a reality and to Ryan Koupal and his team at 40 Tribes Backcountry.
Look out for the film and an assortment of feature articles on stands near you.
Check out Nicolas' blog for more images here.
The trailer for the coming season of Salomon Freeski TV just dropped and if this doesn't make you want to skiing, nothing will. Vaulted to the apt description of "12 hort films", I had the good fortune of shooting one of this seasons episodes in ridiculously good conditions in Austria. Stay tuned for the first episode October 8th.
The new year kicked of with a trip to Austria with Salomon Freeski TV. I was joined by Chris Rubens, Mike Henituk, Blair Richmond and photographer Christoffer Sjostrom. Our task was the document the deep roots of ski racing in Kitzbuehl during the famous Hannenkam race, and contrast that with the deep roots of freeride in Sankt Anton. What ensued was two weeks of hard work and almost as much partying. Put simply, Austria loves to ski and to drink.
Rubens gets it good on the first day in St Anton.
Kitzbuehl was a good start to the trip, offering an interesting insight into the race culture. It ended up snowing a lot making for some good skiing, but causing the race course to be shortened. Sankt Anton was incredible. The terrain is huge, the lift complex vast and with no glaciers, unlike many places in the Alps, the riding much friendlier. We had everything from deep powder to bluebird Alaskan style spines. And not to mention apres-ski. You haven't apres-ed until you have apres-ed in St Anton. Take my word for it.
The Arlberg is steeped in history with the first ever ski school being started in the valley and the old Gasthaus' and bars are almost time capsules. The Museum is a great place to get a sense of the history and a nicer place to eat.
So check out the episode coming in Season 6 of Salomon Freeski TV starting next Fall.
Oh, one more thing. It ain't apres unless you still have your ski boots on. Just ask Chris Rubens.
Last winter I was chilling on the beach in Mexico when Mike Douglas asked if I wanted to go back to Kashmir to heliski with Billa Bakshi, one of the vibrant characters from AZADI. 10 days later I was lifting off in a helicopter with Chris Rubens, Tristian Knoetzer and photographer Blake Jorgenson. What we got was deep powder and some of the best tree skiing any of us had ever seen. Now the episode is live so sit back and enjoy the show. Then get your backside over to Kashmir for some good times of your own.
Last Spring I ventured up to Sentry Lodge and Fairy Meadows to put the new Salomon Guardian touring binding through it's paces for Salomon Freeski TV. I was joined by Chris Rubens, Elyse Saugstad and Kim Havell as well as photographer extraordinaire Bruno Long and Greg Franson from Blue Bird Guides. What we got was all the incarnations of winter: blue bird powder, big alpine couloirs, and deep winter pillows and trees. It was a good time to say the least. Check out the video and make up your own mind.
Between Christmas and New Years I had the good fortune of skiing at Great Canadian Heliskiing. Each year, Jordan Manley travels to GCH to experiment with ideas for original still images and he invited me to join him to shoot video. This year we explored the incredibly aesthetic burns that GCH have and got this great bird's eye view.
Yesterday I booked a ticket to New Delhi departing Vancouver on the 30th Dec 2009. I am going to Kashmir to make a film. I am still coming to terms with what I am setting out to do here, but I am excited and more than a little nervous.