Your inner arm skin, if I may…

A few people reached out to me after this article ran in the Question – with encouraging notes, with expressions of condolence, with knowing “been there, I see you, I’ve felt that pain” nods, with some of their own writing. And I realised that, even though my own sense of friendship is all shaken up these days, I’m still part of a community. Humanity, in fact (not to get too overblown about it). To all those people who took the time to drop a note, to say, “I read that, I really read it, and I heard what you were saying, and I recognise that place you’re coming from, that place you’re speaking of…” (you know who you are), thanks. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me that it’s not about good friends and bad friends, blame or score-keeping or any of that elementary-school-flashback-shit. We are, all of us, lurching and bumping around in the same dark room, and if we are ever brave enough to put our arms out, despite our deep fear about what we might end up touching, we sometimes discover other lovely warm brave hands reaching right back. *Squeeze.*

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Two years ago one of my oldest and dearest friends jumped off a concrete shopping centre parkade to her death.

I have not written about this because I can’t ever get past this first sentence.

How can I call her a dear friend if I didn’t realize, couldn’t stop her, missed all the signs, wasn’t there? How can I explain the straight-up narrative of events when there are so many holes and I can’t just keep asking the people who were around her at the time, “so, what happened again?” How do I say, “took her life” without coming up hard against the violence of her choice? How can I put anything about her in print when her daughter, barely three-months old at the time, might one day read it? Why write about her, having nothing intelligent or insightful to add when the wisest thing I’ve ever heard, was a Quaker-ish call to refrain from speaking at all, unless you are moved to say something brave and true and kind, and everything I have falls far, far short.

I imagined her speaking to me, in the days immediately afterwards. I was 7,000 miles away from the memorial gathering, unsure what to do with my throat-lump of sadness, how to disentangle it from a nasty hairball of anger and guilt and all the unsaid things, and so I shoveled soil and pulled weeds and tried to prepare a garden bed, and as my mind quietened, it seemed as if she was standing behind me for a brief moment. She whispered, “Are you disappointed in me?” using an old pet name from our University days.

Oh, honey.

She was a notorious arm-tickler. She’d find this spot, on the inside of the upper arm that was tender, never calloused, and she’d stroke you there. She did it to everyone. Emotion flowed through her like salt water, osmotically; she wasn’t afraid to touch people or to dance in front of a crowd or to break loudly into a harmony to the radio. That square inch of flesh on my inner arm still feels as though it belongs to her.

How can I call her a dear friend if I didn’t realize, couldn’t stop her, missed all the signs, wasn’t there?

In 2006, Jamie Twokworski founded To Write Love on Her Arms, after a story he wrote about a friend struggling with depression, injury and self-harm, went viral. His blog and effort to sell t-shirts to help fund her treatment has grown into a global movement, a film, and a funding agency with a mission to present hope, and challenge stigma, to tell people: “no one else can claim your part.”

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“We live in a difficult world,” states the TWLOHA mission. “A broken world. We believe everyone can relate to pain, all of us live with questions and all of us get stuck in moments. You need to know you’re not alone in the places you feel stuck. We all wake to the human condition. We wake to mystery and beauty, but also to tragedy and loss. Millions of people live with the problems of pain. Millions of homes are filled with questions — moments, and seasons, and cycles that come as thieves and aim to stay. We know pain is very real. It is our privilege to suggest that hope is real and help is real. The vision is better endings. The vision is the possibility that your best days are ahead. The vision is the possibility that we’re more loved than we’ll ever know. You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story.”

So, if you don’t mind, roll up your sleeve a little, and let me find that soft spot on the inside of your bicep. I’ll trace a tangle of letters there, and who knows, they just might spell out the words you most need to hear.

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Categories: Uncategorized

The Magician’s Hour – Paul Morrison is still the King of Light

When Paul Morrison and I met to chat for this Tip of the Toque profile in the latest SBC Skier magazine, we got way-sidetracked discussing the tar sands, Harper, Burnaby Mountain, CEO salaries, whether it’s possible to have an adventurous and fulfilling life with kids, and how hard it has become to find a parking space in Whistler during Christmas week (even if you have lived here for 40 years.) Maybe it was the beers (Whistler Brewing Chestnut Ale. So good.) but it was rambling and great and pretty much why I think portrait-writing is the funnest gig out there. Shooting the breeze with inspiring folk is always a privilege. Especially those who had the guts to put it all on red. All hail the King.

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Paul Morrison / The Magician’s Hour

18 years old, school in the rearview mirror (“Most penitentiaries today look more inviting than my old school”) and the big mountains of the West filling the windscreen of a custom-fitted ’63 Ford van, Paul Morrison headed to Whistler. It was 1973, and the resort wasn’t much more than a muddy parking lot and a promise. But the promise came good, for both Morrison and Whistler Blackcomb.

Forty years, 250 magazine covers, thousands of beers and too many shutter-clicks to count later, Paul Morrison is, quite possibly, the reason you are reading this magazine, its longest-standing and most prolific contributor. He’s held a decades-long spot on the masthead of SKIER and Powder as Senior Photographer, along with a 30-year symbiotic relationship as one of Whistler Blackcomb’s official photographers.

His images have been synonymous with the careers like Eric Pehota, Trevor Petersen, and Dan Treadway, and he’s still shooting a fresh crop of talent that these days includes Stan Rey, Izzy Lynch, James Heim and Ian Morrison, his 23 year old son who landed on his first cover aged 15.

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Along the way, Morrison lived in a van, broke his back, married a girl he met on the gondola, spawned a little ripper, got caught in avalanches, shot a few weddings (“It’s way too stressful to be responsible for somebody’s memories”), had adventures, (“Skiing’s taken me to Bulgaria, Argentina, Chile…”) – but more than that, he made a career as a ski photographer with no plan B.

With every success, he widened the slipstream behind him for the next generation of Canadian ski photographer. Blake Jorgenson and Jordan Manley cite him as an influence for shooting natural light; Morrison’s leitmotif became mood-rich ski action shots, harnessing the finicky light of “the magic hour” of an alpine sunset.

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As head judge of Whistler Blackcomb’s career-making Deep Winter and Deep Summer Photo Showdowns, Morrison knows all too well the depth and ferocity of talent biting at his heels. “Blake Jorgenson, Jordan Manley, Rueben Krabbe – they’re the best and behind them is a whole wave of guys aspiring to do what we do.”

But, 61, he’s still shooting, editing his own images and holding his own. “I get emails from India all the time with offers to work as my photo editor. That country has a lot of excess brain power.

“It used to be just me, maybe two or three other guys, and two big mountains. Now, in Whistler, there’s 50 people trying to do the same thing, and the mountain’s just getting busier, not bigger.”

But if there is such a thing as an apprenticeship in light magic, Morrison did his, when a roll of film cost $20, a published photo paid $50, and a camera without autofocus set you back $3000. So, the master remains at the helm, whispering to the light, and getting the kids to carry the packs.

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“I’ve been a ski photographer for my entire career and that was my only goal. I didn’t start off wanting to do anything else, so if I can make it to 65, I’ll be happy.”

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Photos by Paul Morrison. Follow him on Instagram for more candy.

Moving past lip service on women’s issues

I came, chubby-cheeked and reluctant, to the realisation that if I was ever going to find the seat of my own power, I had to embrace the smell of my own sweat.

There are a lot of stats that link girls’ mental health, resilience and confidence with physical activity. But taking that from the abstract into real life is problematic in a culture that pushes back against girls even perspiring. (It’s “glow.” And it doesn’t have odour, right?)

Some pretty powerful initiatives caught my attention over the last year for trying to make that shift. The Always Run Like A Girl campaign asked: when did doing something “like a girl” come to be an insult?

After watching a host of older kids and adults imitate running and fighting “like a girl”, (“oh no! my hair!”), it was disquietingly impactful to hear a six year old answer the question, “What does it mean to you when I say ‘run like a girl’?”

“It means, ‘run as fast as you can.’”

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It sure does, darling. (Don’t you forget it.)

Jackson Hole-based freeskier, Lynsey Dyer worked to reclaim “ski like a girl” first for herself and then every future skier girl, culminating in her crowd-backed all-female-athlete film Pretty Faces. (See Dyer at The GLC on Friday (March 6) as a guest of Mountain Story’s live interview series.)

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Sport England recently put out a campaign, This Girl Can, to encourage women to be more physically active and overcome their fear of being judged, of not being fit enough or good enough, to get at it.

But when feminine hygiene product brands, female filmmakers and public health officials are putting out a message, it doesn’t have the same impact as when a global sporting property does the same thing.

Crankworx, the home-grown mountain bike festival that is now a truly global property with a world tour including New Zealand and France, just announced their commitment that through 2015, at all 22 of their events, female and male athletes on the podium would be receiving the same prize money.

As Crankworx World Tour manager, Darren Kinnaird, said, “It’s just time. Hopefully, this will encourage more women to get involved in competitive mountain biking.”

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The crucible of mountain biking — where brands, technology and athletes are made — just exerted their influence to make women feel welcome in the sport.

The message that sends to all girls is pretty profound.

Counter this with the message sent to aboriginal girls across Canada, when the Prime Minister refuses calls to launch an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.

Other men are coming forward, where Stephen Harper is standing back. Men like Paul Lacerte, the founder of the Moose Hide Campaign.

Four years ago, Lacerte was at a national gathering of indigenous women leaders and health officials strategizing how to address the issue of missing and murdered women. “There were 180 people at the event and only four men. It was shocking to me to see that women were not only bearing the burden of violence and abuse, but also the burden of advocacy.”

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Lacerte and his daughters have since cut 25,000 tiny squares of tanned moosehide that are now being worn by men across the country, who are stepping into the space, to say that violence against women and girls is not okay.

It’s a grassroots initiative that deserves all our support, because First Nations’ girls should grow up riding bikes and getting a sweat on and most definitely not thinking that running like a girl means running for your life.

This post ran in the Whistler Question, as part of an ongoing initiative for the Winds of Change’s community-powered blog, TheWellnessAlmanac.com.

6 Things You’re Probably Doing Wrong While Skiing

February 16, 2015 Leave a comment

This article first ran on the Liftopia blog, and was just reprinted on Business Insider. It got more comments than anything else I’d written, mostly because Evan was honest/cheeky enough to say the T-word. Tips. It keeps service industry staff alive.

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When I taught skiing, the most common question I’d hear from clients, no matter what their level of proficiency, was: “So, what am I doing wrong?”

Well, that would be the first thing you’re doing wrong.

1. Worrying about what you’re doing wrong.

The brutally honest answer to that question is: You don’t want to know. It will suck up all the fun, make your head explode, and torpedo your morale.

The brain doesn’t operate constructively by focusing on the negative. If I say to you, “What you’re doing wrong is thinking about pink elephants. When you ski this next run, just don’t think about pink elephants. Think about hugging a bear,” I’ve basically offered you a recipe to have a mind-messed-up run thinking about elephants doing horrible things with pink bears while hating yourself and deciding you can’t do anything right. Fun-O-Meter? Zero.)

It’s better to start with a clear positive foundation… as in: Here’s something you’re doing right. Now here’s something to focus on doing to improve your experience.

But don’t believe me when there are actual experts around.

I reached out again to my on-call brain-trust, the pros who work in Whistler Blackcomb’s Snow School on the MAX4 program, and asked them to share the most common mistakes skiers make.

2. You’re buckling your boots the wrong way.

Last post, Ralph Forsyth dished on how to avoid the crowds. This time, the level 4 CSIA pro behind @SkiTipDuJour, redresses the most common mistake skiers make before they even get on the chairlift.

Friends, you’re buckling your boots the wrong way.

Ralph says that you’ve got to fasten that wide, Velcro power strap that wraps around the top of your boot, first, before you even snap a buckle closed.

“Make sure your long johns or base layer and socks are smooth and wrinkle-free and that the tongue of the boot is snug around your shin and calf. Then, with the buckles still undone, fasten the power strap nice and tight. Next, fasten the buckle that is second from the top. Stand up, flex the boot a few times and fasten the top buckle to ‘lock in’ your heel. Now fasten the third and fourth buckles from the top. Fastening your boots this way will make them feel ‘squishier’, and you’ll ski with more control and confidence.”

SkiTipDuJour shares a video on how to properly put on your ski boots.

skiingFlickr/efilperaDon’t look for the obstacles you’re tying to avoid.

3. You’re so afraid to suck that you’re stuck in a rut.

Caroline Perrin is too professional to come out loud and say that you’re boring. Instead, the 16-year veteran pro explains it thus:

“Skiing is an open-skilled sport.”

That means, it’s not like swimming or gymnastics or shooting hoops, where the environment is predictable, and you can do the exact same movement the same way and expect the exact same outcome. Those activities are essentially quests for perfection.

In skiing, there is no perfect move or position.

“There is so much variation from one day to another and one run to another that it is impossible for a recreational skier to do the right thing all the time. Seek ways to make it easier, safer and more fun. Expand your toolbox. Someone invented sliding down a snowy slope on planks of wood for a reason, so give up on perfection and instead find ways to make life on the slopes a constant adventure. That’s the fun of it.”

4. You’re clenching your jaw.

Glen Irvine is a professional musician, teacher, and long time WB ski instructor who spends his off-season cycling around Europe and guiding hunting trips in the Yukon. His advice, passed down to him from his favorite yoga instructor, applies equally to playing jazz, taking down a moose, or skiing: “Tension is easy. Relaxation is hard.”

Glen says that human beings, as a species, tend to have difficulty relaxing. “With skiers, this emotional tension translates into unnecessary muscular tension which makes it very difficult to execute, technically or tactically. It certainly makes it difficult to create fluidity while skiing.

“Certain muscles must fire during the turn, but just as many muscles should be allowed to relax. Next time you’re skiing on an easy run, try scanning the body to determine which muscles are retaining unnecessary tension—You might be surprised. Focus on the muscles that relax in a turn, rather than those that fire.

“Here’s a fun little technique that a past student of mine once suggested. She was an Olympic level equestrian coach who, when confronted with an excessively tense rider, encouraged him to breathe deeply and fluidly and ride with a relaxed face and jaw. Try this when you’re skiing. You’ll be amazed at how much unneeded tension flows out of the body. Your skiing will become more relaxed, more fluid, calmer and you’ll have a greater sense of well being.”

skiing down a mountainFlickr/TrysilDon’t let fear keep you from growing.

5. You’re looking at the obstacles you’d rather avoid.

Dave Hobson oversees the MAX4 alpine crew and has been teaching skiing since he was in high school. More recently, he trains a crew of top-level instructors, has introduced them to myofascial stretching, and spearheaded a series of ski skill-boosting sessions for ski patrollers.

He says, “Skiers have a tendency to look at the hazard. They focus on the trees, rather than the opening. That is just a recipe for skiing into a tree.

“You’ve got to focus on the spaces between the trees. Look ahead. Look at the line you wish to follow.”

6. You’re not tipping your instructor enough. (If at all.)

The delicate art of tipping is not often spoken of – for some, it’s a little too gauche. But Evan Taylor, nail-banger, Race Director of IRONMAN Canada, and aspiring Level 4 pro, is willing to brave it.

“As an Australian, the whole tipping scene is a foreign concept but having spent the majority of the last 14 years in North America, I’m slowly warming up to it.

“There’s not one ski instructor in the Whistler Alpine Pod who doesn’t give all they have during a lesson, no matter what the climate or snow conditions. For the Alpine crew, giving all we have means not only being a ski instructor but a personal psychologist, restaurant critic, accommodation specialist, tour guide, marriage counselor, child care specialist, boot-fitter and maitre’d at the Roundhouse. (My advice to apprehensive clients when standing on the top of double black diamond runs is simply ‘If you think this is hard, wait until we try and find a table for lunch at Roundhouse’.)

I love the line in The Matrix Reloaded when Seraph tells Neo “You do not truly know someone until you fight them.” The same goes for skiing. You don’t truly know someone until you have them ski a run that’s well out of their comfort zone.

“No matter what their confidence, personality, profession, education or social status, when you take complete strangers to the top of a run that they would not have otherwise gone to, their eyes, movements, speech or lack thereof, give away their true identity.

“Our clients come for ski lessons but if I’ve done all I can, they go away with more than ski tips. They go away learning more about themselves than they would have ever imagined.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Why I Don’t Need Another Photo of my Sleeping Baby

February 10, 2015 Leave a comment

There is a microsecond long window when a baby falls asleep that everything is right in the world.

My personal victory today? Resisting taking a photo of that moment.

The kid is 23 months old, so I already have approximately 700 photos of him sleeping, none of which have successfully managed to evoke the heart-swell I get when his little body finally goes slack and his face relaxes into a kind of angelic softness.

I’ve hypothesized that the real reason a sleeping baby is so lovely to behold, is because, for that tiny fraction of time, you can stop worrying about what you’re doing, whether you’re stimulating their brains sufficiently, feeding them the right foods, you can stop resenting the things you’re not getting done while you’re sitting on the floor stacking a tower of blocks for them to knock over again.

For that tiny little moment in time, there’s nothing you ought to be doing for them.

When that stillness descends, everything in me relaxes, and I want to hold fast to that snag in the fabric of foreverness, before the tidal wave of all the things I need to do with this sleep time comes crashing in. So I snap a fuzzy picture. #Nap-selfie.

Reaching for the camera in my pocket has become a twitch. It’s my default weapon against time’s slipperiness. I need to stop.

Every Sunday on the Wellness Almanac, one of four local photographers shares an image from the ‘hood. For Gary Martin, Dave Steers, Polek Rybczynski and Ruben Guibert, photography is an act of mindfulness or creative expression, community building, a way to pay deeper attention, or a kind of witness, and I look forward to their submissions every week and to tracking the seasons through their lenses.

I’m grateful for that kind of photography. For people who share their perspective on the world, for the documentarians and the instagrammers. I’m grateful for technology, the ease with which we can make a photographic record, and share it with whomever, whenever, instantaneously.

I love that even we non-professionals can use these images as a shorthand, to communicate with each other, or as a daily log, as Bettina Falloon did for her 50 Day Wellness Challenge.

Falloon wrote about her challenge, to ensure every day got a dose of “mindful brain goodness,” on the blog this week. “My challenge was also to include a photograph of what that goodness may be or mean to me in that moment,” Falloon explained. Since the Wellness Challenge ended, she’s missed the daily practice of noticing, of calling something out.

But last week, I stood in the snow in my sock feet, snapping photos of a dawn sky that was leaking pink across the mountains.

It was beautiful the way the rose sky bounced its colour off the snow. I ran outside, undressed, to capture it, knowing how fleeting an alpine sunrise is. I didn’t just want to notice it. I wanted it to be mine, forever.

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But instead of feeling the loss of the Incessantly Vanishing, and leaning into it, breathing through it, standing and soaking it up with all my senses, I pulled my weapon as my kid looked on quizzically, and I took a mediocre picture. It cut the moment short, even as I was trying to do the opposite.

So today, when the kid fell asleep, I resisted the urge to freeze-frame the moment, and just sat for a minute, trying to breathe it in, not with a device, but with my eyes and nose and ears. I tried to hold the exquisite ache of that slip-away moment in my hands, and then I walked out of the room and let it go.

Categories: Uncategorized

Farewell to Mark Forsythe from a (too young to be this nostalgic) former Community Reporter

December 25, 2014 Leave a comment

Remember Neruda’s line: tonight I can write the saddest lines?

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Hello Christmas Eve.

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I misted up today listening to CBC radio, ferchrissakes. (And it didn’t help, that when I parked the car and walked the streets of Pemberton doing my last minute Xmas supplies shopping, that the little church on the hill was ringing out Christmas carols in the quaintest, most soul-quieting way.)

Of course, it was also Mark Forsythe’s last show, and for some reason, that had me feeling nostalgic for all the Lost Things, and for the kind of human being that restores your faith that, you know, the milk of human kindness hasn’t gone entirely sour. I would listen to BC Almanac as Mark handled all those callers (who I was writing off as morons and idiots and doddering fools) and he was always gracious, always kind, always willing to hold space for them. Never too good to take their comments. Never derisory or snarky or sneery, as it is so cool to be.

mark-forsythe(Here’s how ABC BookWorld describes him:

Always a serious listener, Mark Forsythe became a trusted and respected voice around the province, fairly responding to a remarkable variety of issues and personalities, eschewing self-referential asides and providing balanced views of conflicts rather than inflating them. Whereas many successful radio and television hosts are essentially selling themselves in the 21st century, making themselves into ‘personalities,’ Forsythe always epitomized the increasingly old-fashioned ideal of the broadcaster as public servant. Along the way he has produced several significant books, often in association with colleague Greg Dickson.

For a while, (from 2004 to 2010 as Pemberton’s Community Reporter to BC Almanac), I called him every few months and told him about things that were happening around Pemberton, and once or twice someone said, “How long have you and Mark known each other?”

“We don’t.”

“You chat as if you’re old friends.”

That’s Mark Forsythe.

I suspect he’d be the ultimate dinner party guest, and if he got stuck in the corner with your borderline insane Aunt Annie, he’d make her feel like she was the Queen of the Universe, not your party’s pariah, and he’d extricate himself so graciously she’d not even notice…

“I think I need to quit coffee,” I emailed him once, “for green tea. I shake the entire time I’m talking with you.”

“Welcome to radio,” he responded.

I was sad when BC Almanac canned their Community Reporter component and cut the show in half. Not so much because I rued the loss of a radio gig – it had fallen so unexpectedly in my lap anyway – but because it signalled the demise of something I feel a longing for – community. Common conversations. The willingness to make folk in Pemberton and Prince Rupert and Port Alberni feel as if their stories mattered too.

These days, everyone with a twitter, medium, snapchat, and instagram account is a broadcaster, collecting followers and likes and churning out quippy content and filtered photos. But as an audience, we’re splintering into tiny little niches and followings, and it’s harder to find that common touchpoint.

I wouldn’t pretend to know what actually pre-empted Forsythe’s retirement, but “news” seems to have shifted in the last decade, with everything from talkback or call-in programs to expert panels on breaking stories changing into a contest as to who can yell the loudest… and I suspect my longing for a host and commentator who is as good a listener as he is articulate is just going to deepen.

Thank you, Mark, for making me feel as though sharing tales of the changing of the seasons in Pemberton was truly worth paying attention to.

Categories: Uncategorized

Mike Douglas’ Snowman film is a love letter – to Whistler

December 10, 2014 Leave a comment

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I’ve interviewed Mike Douglas a couple of times (for Skier and IF3 publications), and more recently, I’ve worked with Mike and his amazing crew at Switchback Entertainment as a partner in crime on several Origin Design + Communications projects for Whistler Blackcomb (Embedded, The Wonder Reels, The Beyond Series).

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So when our Origin team went en masse on Sunday night to see the World Premiere of his debut feature film, Snowman, at the Closing Gala of the Whistler Film Festival, I wasn’t going as a film critic, or a cultural commentator, or any kind of kinda-journalist that I’ve played at being over the past decade.

I was going as a creator, cheering on a fellow creative who had stepped beyond his comfort zone, who was putting himself out there to attempt the next level. I was in awe and a little bit jealous of his cojones.

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I’d also forgotten the full extent of the biography by which he’d earned the moniker of Godfather of Skiing (ie he didn’t give birth to skiing, but he sure as fuck ensured it got its spiritual education.)

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Here’s what I discovered in the semi-dark, inhaling popcorn by the handful, as I watched a deeply personal debut film about growing up far from snow, dreaming of a bigger life, and learning the price of risk-tasking:

The single most important step in your evolution as a creative person is owning your high school years. (Cheers to Lena Dunham, David Sedaris, and now, Mike Douglas. I can say that i’m light years away from sharing pictures of my high school year book as a way of connecting with an audience. Guess it’s time to call a therapist.)

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There’s so much talk in marketing these days about being soulful and authentic, but it doesn’t get much more legit that reconnecting with your high school best friend, 20 years later, after you both sold out on each other and (spoiler alert) became neighbours and ski buddies once again.

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If you want to be a craftsperson, you have to be willing to blow up your ultra-cool persona. Douglas has cred – his Salomon Freeski TV is not only groundbreaking, it’s mindmelting content for snowfiends. Shane McConkey was one of his bros. He practically reinvented skiing when it was at its most uninspiring.

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But in Snowman, he completely owns his vulnerability: he was adopted, he didn’t finish University, he is sometimes scared of the stuff he has to do as a pro skier. And his best friend in the world is a geek. A really really endearing, but in no way a leading man, weather geek. Who almost died in a terrifying helicopter crash in the biggest mountains imaginable.

When I lost Shane he was the first really close friend that I lost and we had kids the same age and we had so much in common, and I can’t even imagine if I would have lost Kevin that day. That would have probably changed my life even more dramatically. But I think stepping behind the camera and focusing on storytelling as opposed to just doing the coolest, latest trick – there’s risk involved in that, in just putting yourself out there and making things that people are going to see and judge. But at the same time that physical risk has been reduced now that I focus much more of my time on filmmaking. And that has been a product of what’s happened to my friends.

Because, for a bit of an epilogue here, Shane’s death was just the first domino. I’ve lost so many friends in the last five years, it’s absurd. I’ve become a pro at doing media eulogies for my friends. I just lost two – JP Auclair and Andreas Fransson back in the end of September, and Sarah Burke was like my little sister. JP was one of my dearest friends; he was at my wedding and has been through all these milestones in life with me. Andreas was the subject of my last film. So it’s been incredibly difficult. As my kids grow up, it definitely weighs on you for sure and focusing on the filmmaking side has been a little safer, but also therapeutic in a way. As a filmmaker and as a writer, you actually can take positive things out of the roller coaster of life. This is what life is and it’s not always going to be perfect, and sometimes it’s messy and sometimes there’s beauty in that as well.

~Mike Douglas talks to Marsha Lederman of the Globe and Mail

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So he told Kevin Fogolin’s story. And there were no rock stars to lead the charge. On the contrary – just a reluctant, intensely private, kid from Campbell River. And a former pro skier turned filmmaker digging into the beautiful mess of it all.

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I love watching Abma or Petersen or Backstrom slay a line as much as the next person. But maybe the ski world needs more stories like this… of regular folk, who love snow, and who realise, at some point in their lives, that sharing little moments on snow with your family might, ultimately, be the most important measure of things.

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Not everyone can move to Whistler. (Or any other awesome ski town. But Whistler is, you know, extra creamy.)

But there’s something beautiful in the stories of all the people who have. Because it required a great leap. And I’m super grateful to Mike Douglas for reminding me of that. That, at some point, we were all goofy-looking kids writing “Go skiing” in our high school year books. And, for better and worse, some of us actually did.

Categories: Uncategorized
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