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Slipping into summer. Like it or not (personal dislike), the time has come.  But there are few better ways to make that transition than capping off a season with a massive booter throwdown.  Whistler-Blackcomb has been the site of many of these MSP sessions in the past and the results have typically been spectacular and iconic; who can forget when we first saw those Matrix-style heli shots of Mark Abma, CR Johnson and Tanner Hall in Yearbook (2004), or Rory Bushfield’s massive switch double back from Push (2006), the all-time sunset from Seven Sunny Days with Simon Dumont, Sammy Carlson, Jon Olsson, TJ Schiller, Colby West and Abma, and Russ Henshaw’s triples in Superheroes of Stoke (2012).  Simply put, for more than a decade now, raw skiing talent, monstrous and immaculately carved features and Whistler’s epic backdrops have combined to create truly special moments in ski film history.

Hoji doing a 720 tail grab over a massive gap jump at Whistler from Seven Sunny Days

Hoji spinning a corked 720 tail over the gap in Whistler for “Seven Sunny Days” in 2007.

It was time to revisit the scene of all of that glory.  Of course, it was also time to mix it up and get away from the standard massive wedge and come up with a feature that would be striking, unique, and play to the creativity and ability of today’s top freestylers. Leave it to an office guy to have the vision.  Because ironically, the latest creation was the brainchild of the principal guy holding down the fort in MSP’s Crested Butte headquarters, Mike Hans.  Hansee’s sketch had skiers fired up, and that stoke rose to great heights when we arrived on scene and saw the masterpiece that Whistler-Blackcomb and builder Charles Beckinsale had crafted for us.

The crew this year consisted of both familiar faces and new: Russ Henshaw, Markus Eder, Sean Jordan, Noah Wallace, Evan McEachran, Ole Pavel and, sure enough, Eric Hjorleifson.  Back in 2006, Hoji had already earned more of a rep as “the big mountain guy” when he stepped up to guinea the massive Push jump.  Ten years later, don’t think that story didn’t surface (actually, the younger skiers seem to be students of the game and were already aware of the legend). But here we were a decade later, and Hoji showed up on his tech bindings and straight-tailed skis, determined not to let the young kids have all the fun.

Sean Jordan, Noah Wallace, Evan Mceachran, Markus Eder, and Mike Curran

Evan McEachran, Markus Eder, Sean Jordan, and Noah Wallace standing by.

For three consecutive sunny, balmy days, the guys crushed it, throwing every trick in the book (from zero spins to switch triples), training the feature en masse, rotating and grabbing against a sunset that grew more spectacular each night.  It was another one for the books.  Yet, stunning filmmaking aside, perhaps the most rewarding element of the shoot was how much fun the guys had. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a park shoot where the whole crew collectively enjoyed the feature and what went down more than this one. Charging, cheering, laughing, high-fiving and skiing down in the dark with big, fat smiles.  In my book, that right there is a win.

Huge thanks go out to WB, Charles and the hard-working park crew, WB patrol and Chris McLeod.

-Scott Gaffney

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