Skiing is an art. Painting the mountain gracefully with skis is beautiful to watch and to feel first hand. But what about those artists that ski?! They’re making masterpieces in the studio and on the slopes, impressive right? Our “Art of Skiing” series aims to get into the minds of these admirable humans.

MEET CHRIS WHEELER

In Between film locations Chris fulfills his personal dose of prescribed face shots. Photo by Abby Cooper.

Passion oozes through every project Chris Wheeler produces. Driven by the simple art of storytelling, Wheeler makes you feel like you’re living the moment instead of watching it. Calling Whistler BC home, don’t be surprised if you run into him anywhere but Whistler. With clients scattered across the country, he’s always on the move. Best way to track him? Instagram. After a few weeks of tag, we finally caught up with the elusive Chris Wheeler and he dished on what makes him tick as a filmer.

INTERVIEW WITH CHIS WHEELER

What about skiing inspires your work?
CW: From a filming standpoint I think it’s the feeling of a rebirth of the mountain when new snow falls. It’s a fresh canvas to capture moments … and I’m all about the moment.  

Describe your best day of work?
CW: Anytime I’m in the mountains and I completely lose myself behind the lens followed by sharing stories over a good après. I’ve been lucky to have many of these days in my career so far.

Where can we see your work?
CW: My work is spread out on social media and on broadcast shows. Many of my winter shoots are for tourism organizations, SnowSeekers, and collaborative projects with multiple partners. Samples can be seen on my Instagram and website.

What’s your next creative project?
CW: I have several on the go but over the last year I’ve been doing filming for an exploratory heli-skiing project. There is no feeling in the world like filming and skiing in an area where no one has been before. Plus being involved in naming new ski runs is an added bonus!

I’m also looking to perfect my spread daffy with a camera bag on.

Do you have any ski-related goals you hope to accomplish this season?
CW: I’m focusing more on skiing BC mountains that I have not been to before. There is something special about seeing what’s around the next bend and skiing with locals that are so stoked about their ski hill. I’m also looking to perfect my spread daffy with a camera bag on.

What do you hope people feel when they experience your films
CW: If someone views my work and feels like they are right there then I’ve accomplished what I wanted. My testing ground for unique shots happens at Whistler Blackcomb. I’ve spent endless hours over the years playing with different cameras and doing things like duck taping poles to my backpack for a unique POV shot. I feel like a little kid with a new toy when I do this and that keeps me playing with new angles and equipment to capture moments in a unique way.

What puts you in your editing groove, any funny rituals you’re willing to share
CW: Before firing up the editing suite in the morning I try to get a quick ski in at Whistler Blackcomb. If it’s a powder day then I’ll probably get home later and edit into the night. I’m a nighthawk anyway so that seems to be some of my most creative times. The key to that is also being able to sneak into bed without waking up my beautiful wife… that’s an art in itself. For rituals, one of mine is to put on my favorite toque when doing the final reviews of my videos. 

How did you get into film?
CW: I actually sort of stumbled into this career. I first got into video as a hobby. I would play around with creating short travel videos and posting them. This led me to doing a lot of work with Destination BC where I got to travel around the province sharing tourism experiences through video as a BC Field Reporter. My big break was the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay where I was hired to capture and share the excitement of the torch across Canada. In run-and-gun style, I shot, hosted, edited and uploaded videos for 106 days straight. What I realized on this journey is what made my videos engaging was how I captured the moment.

Describe your creative style in 3 words:
CW: Innovative, fun, run-and-gun.

Current song on repeat:
CW: Don’t ask… when I’m editing it’s royalty free music played over and over.

Guilty pocket snacks?
CW: Winegums on the chair!

Who’s inspiring you these days?
CW: It’s too long of a list as I take little bits of what other producers, filmers, and photographers are doing to help me look at things through a different lens.

Are you comfortable creating in other mediums, if yes what’s drawn you to each?
CW: About a year ago I started playing around with filming virtual reality and 360 video. I love how every shot captures everything around you, which has forced me to look at my surroundings differently. Being able to manipulate the footage in the editing cave to create a new perspective is super fun. I believe VR will play a bigger part in video experiences in the coming years. I have a few VR projects being released in the near future. I like to be ahead of the curve when I can.

Anything else?
CW: Thanks to all in my life that pass on positive energy. It helps drive my passion for capturing the moment on film and a big cheers to all that share stories with me during après ski!

Need more Chris Wheeler? Check out his Instagram and website.

MORE “Art of Skiing” artists features here.