If there’s one equation in skiing that can’t be trifled with, it’s this one: x [going down] = y [getting to] + z [going up].
Much energy – both literal and figurative – is expended on solving this mathematical problem. And we pay for it in the end, whether in fued, electricity, lift tickets or the environmental impact that any of this has. It’s something we don’t think much about and probably should, but of course it’s harder to wrap your head around the future than a sweet pow line in front of you (GPS West: TLH). But when mounting weather woes signal that we can no longer count on the winters driving this summation, it’s time to take a step back – or metaphorically forward. There’s a lot we can do when it comes to environmental footprint, of course, expectations and demands we can make of ourselves (All.They.Can), our favourite athletes (A Pettit Family Album) and the sport’s caretakers (2012 Outerwear Showcase). But there’s also little things we can do – like hiking more often.
Dan Treadway in Bralorne, BC. Jorgenson photo
Back in the day, hiking was as much a part of skiing as sliding. There was no other choice, and it added to the experience. Things are different these days, but hiking still has it’s place. Whether walking to the chairlift (DT: The SKIER Guide to Transportation), hiking the pipe, (Provincial Parks: Ontario), throwing down on a gnarly bootpack, or touring to truly earn your turns. Maybe ski areas would still function fine with fewer lifts and more walk to terrain – fewer stupid gizmos like conveyor belts to slide you onto chairs and up bunny hills. In Norway, most ski areas feature one main surface lift that takes you into the alpine and directly accesses only one or two of the many runs that people are more than happy to walk or slide to. Even in a place as lift mad as Whistler, the majority of killer freeride terrain on Blackcomb (Spanky’s and Blackcomb Glacier) still requires a short climb to access. This was inspired thinking on the part of planners – especially given the equation that every minute of hiking loses 90 percent of the crowd – and let’s hope it stays that way.
One could argue that since the advent of lifts (DT: Stairway to Heaven), the enviromental ethos once implicit in skiing’s up-down equation has been heading downhill. Like anything else in skiing, it’s a balancing act that must be understood in order to be considered and acted on. Understanding is here, and it’s time to act. If you think we’re being cynical, well, you can tell us to go take a hike.
Lights On text Chris O’Connell. Photos Erik Seo, Ralphie, Felix Rioux.
It’s four hours before the first showing of Level 1 Productions’ latest film, After Dark, and director Josh Berman finally has a completed file export.
“Down to the wire,” explains Berman, “If we went with the same basic ski porn formula that we did on a few of our recent films, we could have wrapped this one up by the middle of the summer. We ended up shooting the last few intros within a week of the world premiere.
All.They.Can. Text Lisa Richardson, photos Malcolm Sangster, Jordan Manley, Dave Mossop, Mike McPhee.
With their highly anticipated new film, Sherpas Cinema aims High and carries a heavy load – one they hope we’ll all choose to share in.
Provincial Parks: Ontario text Chris O’Connell, photos Jason Mousseau, Richard Roth and Andrew McIver.
Sandy Boville is out of breath. I’m doing a quick review of my footage from the jump session that just ended, and his bright red jacket seems to be every other shot. Worried I might have subconsciously played favourites, I ask how many times he figures he hit the jump during the hour we had sled access. “I lost track,” he replies, slowly regaining his wind, perma-smile still planted firmly on his face…
2012 SKIER Outerwear Showcase
We get it. You’re rad shit because you scored a heapload of gnar points with your bare-naked run at your local resort. But guess what? Nobody wants to see your white, naked man-ass ripping down the mountain, or anywhere else for that matter.
That’s where the third-annual SKIER Outerwear Showcase comes into play. We reached out to every known ski company in hopes of featuring the best products from their 2011-12 winter collection…
A Pettit Family Album text Feet Bankis, photos Mike McPhee, Blake Jorgenson, Ralphie, Grant Gunderson.
The Cliff is somewhere around 15 metres. On top stand me and Sean Pettit. I have to jump first. Sean is arguably the best freeskier in Canada. I’m arguably old as dirt with hair on my tongue. The good news is we’re just hucking into a lake to celebrate the last week of summer. The bad news is the last time I hit this cliff, 10 years ago, the guy with me bruised his nuts when he smacked the water. Afterwards, he could barely walk…