With El Nino treating interior British Columbia uncharacteristically well this season, MSP made the terrain of Selkirk-Tangiers its big mountain focal point at the end of March.
Cue the A-Team theme music, because the cast consisted of seasoned all-stars: Mark Abma, Eric Hjorleifson, Markus Eder and Sammy Carlson. Expectations were high. Upon arrival, spring had sprung. Lawns in Revelstoke were coming alive in vibrant greens and rain soaked the valley floors. Fortunately, the area has plenty of vertical to get above and beyond the chirping birds and blooming flowers and the higher elevations were pasted in white. The region’s terrain was new to all but a couple of us, and we definitely didn’t anticipate such a bevy of ramps, spines and surreal pillowy goodness. Every corner we rounded in the heli had us wide-eyed and frothing. “Whoa, look at that!” “No way, I think that goes.” “Holy, s—t! That thing’s unreal!” I’m pretty sure the pilot turned down his headset on more than one occasion. But the options were limitless, especially with our open-minded and creative crew.
Every corner we rounded in the heli had us wide-eyed and frothing. “Whoa, look at that!”
After a little downtime waiting for the weather to settle and skies to clear, the tail end of the trip promised magic if we could just get it done before the summer-like heat turned the snow to slop. With a four-day streak of sun and progressively increasing temps, the pressure was on for the guys to deliver. And deliver they did. Abma did what he’s done for years, mixing in a whole bunch of spins both left and right and charging big mountain lines with a grace and flow that only slightly mask his aggression. And Hoji did his thing, stepping up to those lines no one else really wants, flashing huge, consequential faces and sending airs with a stomp, stomp, stomp. Markus was on a mission to cap off an already stellar season in style, but when an A+ line went slightly bad and he tweaked his ankle on the first full sunny day, his trip was in jeopardy. But he sucked it up, re-joined the crew the following day and proceeded to treat the mountains as his personal amusement park, shredding hand-dragging-steep spines and launching and spinning anywhere and everywhere. And Sammy? He joined MSP for the first time since 2007—his last appearance was when he was just 17 in Seven Sunny Days—and he clearly showed he’s no longer just a park skier, sporting tech bindings and a willingness to hike and skin at any moment to hit something a second, third or fourth time. At the start of the trip he claimed he’s been working all season on his straight airs, but we certainly didn’t see many because when he wasn’t slaying and slashing consequential spines, he was spinning off of every drop imaginable.
With three cinematographers on the ground and a RED Dragon in the heli-mounted Cineflex capturing aerial wizardry, the resulting images from the two-week trip are sure to get the blood churning in any ski film fan’s veins. And at the tail end on the trip, our crew just scattered off to their next missions, fully satisfied with scoring in Revelstoke, leaving them even more fired up for what the rest of the season has in store.
-Scott Gaffney, MSP Cinematographer