Eric Hjorleifson “The Pillow Boss”

newsletter_5_400x600How many times have you been to Sentry Lodge, BC?

I’ve been going up to Sentry Lodge and the other GAH lodges since 2006, every year except 2008. So nine out of the last ten years. For the past five years I have been coaching at the Golden Alpine Holidays Freeride Camps and have attended GAH staff training during the majority of the month of December. I was also up during the rebuild construction of Sentry Lodge in 2011 after the original lodge tragically burnt down. My brother and girlfriend and I built the new fire place.

Was there one day on this trip that really stood out from the rest, and why? 

There was one day in particular towards the end of our trip that the snow was just magical. I would say after some many years skiing and filming I have become kind of a powder snow snob, but on this particular day the snow was special – you could literally hit any feature you desired. After my first run through a blower pillow line I headed straight for a large gap cliff air that I had been eyeing up for the past two weeks. I think this is really what I enjoy about filming out of the GAH lodges for extended periods of time… you are living in the mountains and have a real perception of the snow conditions, so when things stack up nicely you can tee off and really push your skiing abilities to your highest level.

It sounded like there were a lot of backcountry jump sessions, was that a different experience for you from past Sentry Lodge trips?

Certainly this trip was unique, a fresh crew of youngsters really revitalized my inner jibbing youthful self!  I knew these kids had potential and this inspired me to look at the terrain in a whole knew way. I also wanted to show off my stomping grounds so I was full of suggestions. We would film all day and then head to a feature that we scoped earlier, often requiring some building, and then we’d dig until dark and skin home with our head lamps. It was super fun to work the terrain in such a different style.  After spotting the booter location right behind Sentry Lodge, Makke (Markus Eder) asked, “You have had a perfect kicker in your back yard for the past ten years and have never built it?”  

Was this a new group of skiers for you to ski with, and what was it like with this group of skiers?

Yeah there were a lot of fresh faces – excluding Michelle Parker, Scott Gaffney, and Mikey Curran – it was the first time I had worked with a lot of the crew members. Overall everyone meshed well and the energy was high through out the trip. I felt like I had the upper hand as I know the terrain so well, but I tried to utilize my knowledge to inspire the group to ski hard and be productive. I had also already done over 30 days of real ski touring so my fitness was primed. Filming days are not really that physically taxing endurance-wise, but there are more short bursts of high intensity and can be very abusive when it comes to massive impacts.

Was there one line, or trick, or jump that anyone hit that really got you excited?

Well after 21 straight days of filming it really is all a blur, haha!  There were so many highlights for all the athletes. Personally although it probably isn’t the most amazing trick shot, for me hitting the booter behind the lodge and going for the cork 7 on my second hit was quite memorable. I remember thinking “alright, you’ve got this,” although it had been a few years. I set it perfectly and reached for my tail, when I grabbed my ski I remember just pulling on it as hard as I could and just tweaking the hell out of it, this motion sent me right into my landing perfectly and l can tell you that it sure felt good!

How is life in the lodge for three weeks and after long days of skiing?

After thee weeks of hucking like I was 25 again, my body was beaten down but my spirit was as strong as ever.  I can honestly say it was amazing and even after the full three weeks I was very sad to leave. I battled a severe bout of the “Valley Bottom Blues” once I returned to our modern world. Living up in the mountains is truly the best way ski. 

Were you able to ski on anything new this trip that you’ve never skied there before?

Well there was one feature we nicknamed the Dino Back, I had shot stills there with Damian Cromwell on my very first trip to Sentry and have walked under it a hundred times. I always thought it was too small to be worth filming and boy was I wrong!  With the right creative approach and the new camera perspectives of cable cams and drones this feature really came to life and in fact provided us with some of the best shots of the trip. After experiencing the success on the Dino Back I have a whole new approach on the Sentry terrain and feel we just opened a new chapter of filming there. I really can’t wait to go back!

Was there a running joke or phrase throughout the trip? 

There were a few: Nigel Pepper Cock, Sex Panther, Dickball Alley, Public Enema # 1, Stunting, Hoji Boss, and Makke’s “Ohhh Nooo!”  But I guess you had to be there…