Salomon Freeski TV: Austria-Roots

In January last year I travelled to Austria to shoot a Salomon Freeski TV episode. Austria is the borth place of modern skiing and coupled with its zealous following of ski racing, it is a place that one must visit as sort of skiing pilgrimage. This episode pays tribute to the past, the racing culture and new freeride movement. Hopefully it makes you want to go ski. Enjoy!

A Hundred Year Storm- Powder Mag Latitude

Last March I travelled to Eastern Europe with Jordan Manley, Forrest Coots and Chad Sayers in the hope of skiing some of the snow that fell across vast swathes of the continent. The storm eventually became a state of emergency and what we encountered was part of the aftermath- a little less violent, but equally as insightful. I joined the crew as a writer and the story was published in Powder Magazine.

Jalpak Tash- A Kyrgyzstan Epic ONLINE

Jalpak Tash- A Kyrgyzstan Epic from b4apres media on Vimeo.


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. 

Origins- Selkirk Wilderness Skiing and Sherpas Cinema

Origins from Selkirk Wilderness Skiing on Vimeo.

Last March I joined the Sherpas Cinema crew at Selkirk Wilderness Skiing in Meadow Creek, BC. SWS was the first catski operation ever, and they hired the Sherpas to capture the legacy and the still incredible skiing that made this spot Alan and Brenda Drury's first choice destination in 1975. And you can be sure that it still gets some of the deepest and lightest snow on the planet as is evidenced by the conditions we had during the week we shot at the lodge. Enjoy and prepare to have a hankering for some powder.

STAND Film- Haida Gwaii Expedition

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.

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Hartley Bay Photo Video Workshop

Last week I made the trek to Hartley Bay, a 160 person First Nations community only accessible by boat or float plane in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest at the mouth of the Douglas Channel. The traditional territory of the Gitga'at people, it is a remote community surrounded by some of the most pristine forest in the world. Nicolas Teichrob, who I am working on the STAND film project with, had spent time in Hartley Bay last November shooting the trailer for STAND. After meeting the people and sharing his work, he and I were invited back to conduct a photo and video workshop with students and staff of the community school.Hoping to develop an audio visual studio at the school, they wanted to learn how to use their new Canon DSLR cameras along with how to use Adobe Lightroom and iMovie. Some of the teachers were interested in integrating multimedia in their language curriculum which seemed a great idea.

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Jalpak Tash World Premiere at IF3 in Montreal

It's that time of year again when the International Freeski Film Festival (IF3) lights Montreal up for 3 days of films and parties. This year I was glad to have Jalpak Tash, the short film I directed in Kyrgyzstan, make its world premiere to an open air crowd at The North Face Outdoor Theater. Playing on the first evening along side some of the years best films was a real honour and it is always nice to know that your work is appreciated and that skiing remains diverse and open. 

A huge thanks goes out to Felix Rioux and his IF3 team for continuing to develop an awesome event and platform for the freeski community to gather and for filmmakers to showcase their work. Secondly thanks again to The North Face for making Jalpak tash possible.

The North Face Kyrgyzstan Yurt Trip

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 North Face Truax Mountain Bike Shoot

Camped out at 2000m in the alpine above the old mining town of Bralorne two hours north of Pemberton, BC, was where I found myself at the end of August. Working with Sherpas Cinema filming Mike Hopkins and Kamloops' latest rising star Matt Miles lay down first descents in the Bendor Range was a true highlight of a pretty action packed summer. An exploratory mission made possible by The North Face, the idea was to document a frontier of mountain biking only now beginning to be explored- true freeride, big mountain descents. Equipped with quad bikes and old miners roads Mike at Matt setup a shuttle circuit that gave them access to 2000ft shale lines right out the front of camp. The helicopter came in once the boys found their rhythym and then things got really exciting. Flying deeper into the mountains we found larger and larger chutes that offered the most adventourous style of riding I have ever seen. Having seen the descents with my own eyes, watching footage and reviewing Blake Jorgenson's photos, the scale is still difficult to wrap one's head around. Thankfully, you will get the opportunity to try to understand the ruggedness of the riding and the landscape when the edit is complete so watch this space.

To see some more pictures from the week check out Blake's awesome gallery here.

Deep Summer Photo Challenge with Scott Markewitz

During the Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival here in Whistler I was contacted by photographer Scott Markewitz to help edit his Deep Summer Photo Challenge slideshow. Scott is a stalwart in action sports photography with over 400 covers to his name. The format for the competition is that 6 photographers have 72hrs to shoot photos and a day to compile their slideshows before being judged in front of a raucous crowd of mountain bikers. Having always enjoyed the event as a spectator it was fun to be on the otherside of the equation. The capture was all Scott and it was a blast hanging out with legends like Brett Tippie, Richie Schley along with Katie Holden, Cam Zinc and the inseparable Bernie Kerr and Eliiot Jackson. Be it standing in the forest listening to Tippie's jokes, trying to write haikus, or trying to record voice overs of said haikus, I haven't laughed that much in a long time. Putting the slideshow together was arduous at times, more so because of a lack of sleep and an imminent deadline. It wasn't without it's glitches either as we previewed the final export 20mins before the deadline only to have an issue with the music. We resolved it as we drove to deliver the file and made the 6pm deadline.

The next evening the show went down outside at the Olympic Plaza and was joined by 5 other really great slideshows. In the final washup we claimed second behind rising star Rueben Krabbe

I'd like to thank Scott for the call, the athletes for the good times and Michelle Leroux for creating and putting on such a great event. Finally, a massive shoutout to Dave Petch for the rocking tune to bring the images to life.

Enjoy the show!

Skiing in Bulgaria and Kosovo

Linking up a wicked winter of travel, after Austria and Kyrgyzstan I headed directly to Bucharest, Romania. Joining Jordan Manley, Forrest Coots and Chad Sayers we converged hoping to catch some of the monumental storm that had forced large parts of Eastern to declare a state of emergency. What we arrived to were rising temperatures and not the bottomless powder we had hoped for. What ensued was a not an ideal situation for skiing but a refreshing travel experience that I haven't had for a long time.

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Sacred Headwaters Article- Coast Mountain Culture

Earlier this year I was approached by the editor of Coast Mountain Culture (CMC) to write a piece on the threats of mining facing the Sacred Headwaters region in Northern British Columbia. The issue is largely a sister issue to the proposed pipeline and tanker route through the Great Bear Rainforest which the film, STAND, I am currently making is focused on. Given the opportunity to research and write about an important issue for one of my favorite magazines, I jumped at the assignment. CMC is a new publication launched on the back of Kooteney Mountain Culture which has been getting people stoked for free for a decade.

The piece was to be framed by it's most public defender, Wade Davis. Davis' resume reads like the lives work of a dozen genius' and he is a National Geographic Explorer in Residence. The opportunity to chat with Davis and learn more about his work gave the assignment that much more appeal. 

The article was complemented by the photography of the incredibly talented Jordan Manley and captures the raw beauty of the region and stoic characters like Ray Collingwood that live there and are working to protect it.

You can find the magazine in most good outdoor stores in the Pacific Northwest or read the article in it's entirety here.

Kashmir Dreams- Salomon Freeski TV

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.

Salomon Freeski TV- Selkirks Touring

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.

A Birds Eye View of a Burn

Bird's Eye of a Burn- A b4apres Edit from b4apres media on Vimeo.

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.

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