Thankskinning: behind the scenes of Bush League

A week or so ago, the first installment of a video series we’re calling Thanksgiving went up. You can find it on Newschoolers and also on Vimeo.

Filmer and all-around stand-up chap Bobby Jahrig and I have teamed up to make a series of edits documenting my season here in Montana. The whole thing has been made possible by Scott and Rowen at ON3P, so a pillowfield of thanks to them for supporting me.

My hope for the series, this blog, and my season in general is to bring light to the notion that there are many aspects of value in skiing. That being a well-rounded skier means doing  and enjoying all the parts of the sport. That it’s not just the hardest trick or craziest rotation or gnarliest line that should inspire, but the everyday joy of turns in the trees or skiing bumps with friends. That risk creates reward, but it’s not mandatory to push ourselves so far to make meaning from our skiing.

I thought I’d put up a little behind the scenes tour of Bush League to tell some of the stories behind the filming. The times on the left correspond with the NS version.

00:12   Yes, we did film the narrative portions of it in my house bathtub. Interviewing skiers is usually a waste of time, so I figured we’d do something random to spice it up.

00:32   Lost Trail, early season. We went up with Ian Hamilton and Jake Fagrelious to do some skinning and jibbing. Snowed really hard through the afternoon and the base held up pretty well for a few pow shots as well as the deck jib.

1:37   Blah, blah, thankful, blah.

1:54   One of many early season skinning missions on Big Mountain. I’d left for Pocket Park, it dumped, and when I returned, it had warmed up again. Ryon Reich and I headed up anyway and got rained on during the descent.

2:10   The rain pretty much cleaned out the base down low, so when it finally came back, the upper sections of the hill were doing really well and the bottom portion of Tony Matt was six crusty inches atop grass, rocks, and dirt. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too horrible to ski through. Thought I wouldn’t call it fun. Enlivening would be the word.

2:19   A series of shots from Canyon Creek. Early in the season, terrain anchors help stabilize the snowpack, but they also make for entertaining route finding while skiing down. Clay Roehner and I spent a bunch of time out there exploring, and for a while, we were totally even on the face shots to days skied ratio.

2:45   Honestly, I had forgotten about the rails. After skinning so much, they really weren’t on my mind. These shots came from the Ride For Tanner rail jam at Caras Park in Missoula. Bobby and Thomas Vincent put on an awesome contest to kick off the season the weekend after Pocket Park, so I headed down and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

3:22  Two shots from Pocket Park. Two kids on snowblades built a backflip jump on a whale of blown snow above the lodge, so I hiked up and hit it. After skiing moguls in my teens, there’s something about tiny, poppy jumps that never gets old.

3:28   And back to Canyon Creek. Over two days, we got a lot done with amazing stability. At one pit, I was holding a column of the entire snowpack laterally in my arms. The barbie angles came from Bobby posting up across the valley and keeping warm via running in place and jumping jacks for somewhere around five or six hours. The man’s an animal. Meanwhile, we skied pow and skinned up for more while communicating by radio.

4:28   For a good part of the day, a small bit of ironic fog hovered right over where Bobby was shooting. For this line though, it lifted and we got a great window of light. Both Rob and Trevor tomahawked down the upper face, and Rob had to hike back up it to retrieve his snowshoes.

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