After the first snowfall on the West Coast of Canada, Liberty Skis team riders Zak Mousseau and Tanner Gordon headed out to Calgary, Alberta to meet up with the 403 Media crew. The crew spent the next couple weeks exploring and shooting around Alberta. Due to warm and inconsistent temperatures, the group was forced to travel west, spending the next week scattered across British Columbia, chasing any snow that Mother Nature left behind. Check out Episode 1 as Zak and Tanner travel across Western Canada, along with an interview below on how the trip went.
[fvplayer src=”https://vimeo.com/122467340″ splash=”https://i.vimeocdn.com/video/511460563_1280x720.jpg?r=pad” caption=”Liberty Skis – Episode 1.1″]
Where did you guys start filming this season?
Zak Mousseau: I loaded up my trailer and truck with a generator, lights, shovels, a winch and any other equipment we needed to hit street spots. I drove out from Kimberley to Calgary in late November to link up with the 403 Media Crew. A couple weeks later Tanner Gordon flew in and meet up with the rest of us.
Was it hard to find new spots that other crews have not hit in Calgary?
Zak Mousseau: We definitely struggled with finding new spots that have not been hit. Some nights we were forced to hit played out spots due to the lack of snow. Luckily, we had the 403 Media crew helping show us around Calgary.
Zak, the rumour is that you lived out of trailer for a month in -30 Celsius temperatures?
Zak Mousseau: Why spend money on hotels when you have a trailer with a bed? The trailer was my Grandpa’s and he let me borrow it for the winter. I ended up building a bed frame in the back out of any scrap wood I could find at my house. I put a single bed mattress on top and had ton of sleeping bags to keep warm. I also had the drop in, lights, winch, generator and gas in the trailer with me all the time, so it was a little tight. Not to mention the trailer was not insulated so it got pretty cold. It was pretty chill though, I would just finish a session with the crew, pack up, and get into my bed.
Tanner was this your first time shooting in the streets?
Tanner Gordon: Yeah, I had never actually skied in the streets before this trip. I had also never filmed with a crew, so it was definitely a crazy experience seeing how much effort goes into getting shots.
How was it taking a break from riding park and stepping into the streets?
Tanner Gordon: When you compete in slopestyle there is a set list of tricks that you have to do in order to do well and get on the podium. As much as people say you can be creative, you can’t in comp skiing because you have to do the tricks that will get you the most points. In the streets it is up to you to decide what you want to do, and you don’t have any coach telling you what you need to do. It is up to you and how bad you actually want the trick or shot. Skiing in the streets is a lot scarier than any slope course. I am terrified of the pavement and the consequences of falling. Not to mention that urban skiing is one of the most frustrating things when you can’t land a trick.
Did you ever hit anything that you were not ready for?
Tanner Gordon: I thought things would be a lot easier when I used to look at urban features. I didn’t look at the speed factor or if the rails were stable. The first rail that really put me in my place was in Rossland, B.C. We were out in that area for a powder trip but we figured we would hit rails at night to get extra shots. I found this elevated flat bar in front of an old museum that I thought would be a mellow gap to flat rail. The thing was you had to get towed in by a car at 60 km/h and you had to gap 15 feet to the rail that easily stood that height off the ground. The rail ended up kicking my ass. I landed on the rail and the rail bent in and bucked me off to the pavement below. It was one of the worst slams I have ever had without getting seriously injured.
Did the Calgary nightlife ever get in the way of shooting?
Zak Mousseau: Yeah, I turned 19 while I was in Calgary so things got a little wild. When you are shooting in the streets there is a lot of downtime. You can’t shoot every day because people have jobs and lives. Or like when we were in Calgary and all the snow melts, you need to occupy your time somehow so you party and have fun. I definitely learned that cowgirls are crazy and Broken City is the place to be on Saturday nights.
Tanner Gordon: It was fun to take a break from the structured contest skiing lifestyle and step into the more laid back urban lifestyle and let loose once and a while at night. I was also lucky enough to find a girl that was a good distraction and she helped keep me busy while we weren’t shooting.
Where else did you have to travel to film and shoot?
Zak Mousseau: After Calgary, I went back home to Kimberley to shoot. That film trip got cut a little short because I took a pretty heavy fall on our first feature of the trip. I ended up being okay and just needed some stitches in my shin. Six days later I packed up and drove to Rossland to meet up with the crew. I ended up staying out there for about a week. Then my leg got super infected from skiing everyday and had to go back to the hospital. They cut out the stitches and the infected skin and I had to start the recovery over again.
Tanner Gordon: I spent a couple of extra days in my hometown of Vernon, B.C. hitting rails. It was nice to get to ski close to home and hit rails that you have grown up looking at.
Did the low snow year make it challenging to get out and hit spots?
Zak Mousseau: The low snow year and the warm winter was definitely an issue with some spots. One that comes to mind was in Revelstoke. The landing went to a pond that was usually frozen over, so we shoveled for a couple hours the night before to make a little landing in the pond. It ended up working, but I got pretty wet trying to get a trick.
What was the favorite spot you hit?
Zak Mousseau: We hit this really cool rail to roof drop in Rossland. It was a unique feature that is different than your classic double kink or down rail.
Tanner Gordon: The down-flat-down in Vernon was my favourite rail of the year. It’s a super famous rail that a lot of my idols grew up hit. I had always wanted to hit the rail and I got to hit it with such a fun crew of close friends.
What was the best part about filming for this episode?
Tanner Gordon: At the start of the year I was getting super over competition skiing. It was good to step away from that and go into the streets and hit rails because it made me appreciate perfect park rails.
Zak Mousseau: Dedicating all of my season to urban was hard at times because you don’t always get to ski as much as you would like. Urban can also be super frustrating and you can spend multiple days getting absolutely no shots. When you see all the shots together in the end though it’s super rewarding.
What else can we expect to see from you guys this season?
Zak Mousseau: I have been working on a couple different film projects with Liberty Skis. I am stoked to head to Whistler in the spring to shoot again with the whole Liberty Skis crew. It’s always super fun to hang out in Whistler for the spring. I may also head out to Mount Hood to build some spring jumps. Then I will be heading back to Momentum Ski Camps in the summer for the glacier season.
Tanner Gordon: I have a couple more contests and then I am heading out to Whistler to link up with the Liberty Skis team as well. We have a big shoot lined up for the spring and I am hyped to ride around and relax with everyone in Whistler. That should lead right into glacier season and I too will be riding up at Momentum Ski Camps for the whole summer getting ready for next winter.