Posted on Thursday, March 12, 2009
Ben– Sorry for the extended lack of news. After Jacqui and Will took off, the crew entered a sort of vegetative hibernation mode, slumping into our respective holes for a few days as we recuperated from the past two months of relatively nonstop movement. Our days off couldn’t have come at a better time, though– as we drove Jacqui and Will to the airport, huge rains and howling winds were descending on Kutchan, and they quickly decimated the snowpack. Everything became a flattened sheet of ice, and the once-massive snowbanks lining Kutchan’s streets all but disappeared. 45 degree temperatures meant we were trying to figure out ways to climb onto the roof to sunbathe. Needless to say, the skiing wasn’t exactly epic, and after a much needed carousing trip to Sapporo, we used the extra downtime to relax, occasionally whipping out the cameras to shoot some interviews, or shrines, or pretty sunsets, or random fearless swans, or other things of that assorted nature.
The Pleasures of Sapporo
We had a grand send-off for for the wonderful Michael Brown, who, after two months of nonstop picture taking, headed off to Tokyo, his time here being over… I’m afraid the blog may suffer for it a little, for noble Michael was always the one to post the pics on top of my writing after a grueling day in the field. We miss him greatly, already, and the sight of his empty room brings tears to my sunburned eyes, although the ski-scavengers have, of course, already begun to move into his former lodgings, desperate for bed-space. They disgust me.
The scavengers in question at this point are Orry Grant and Mike Coletti (the Nelson natives), and Jake Sakson, who arrived just a few days ago–another Aspen/Carbondale mayhem-bringer, and a proud Flyow telemarker. This group has, for the most part, spent their off days in the park, hitting icy jumps– heaps of fun, but there really isn’t much else to do when riding in the trees is akin to shredding on top of a cheese-grater.
However, Jake seems to have brought the snow with him, for as soon as we went to pick him up the other night, the skies opened up and began dumping some wet white goodness. Yesterday was an unexpectedly awesome day shredding the resort, with just enough new snow to make you forget (on some turns at least) that there was an almost-season-ending ice crust below.
Mike smiles in the snow after days of ice
Today, the forecast was sunny, and we were all stoked at our first chance to get out and film in somewhat reasonable conditions in over a week. Tomorrow it is supposed to rain again, so today it was pretty much our only chance to get anything done in the near future. And get things done we did! While Jake went out with Nick (they are still out, doing a full shoot during the day and bringing a generator to shoot into the night), Ian and I took Orry and Mike to the Amphitheatre of Shenanigans, but not before returning to a big pillow line that we had been to with Bubbles almost a month ago. Bubbles had fallen on the last pillow, and we hadn’t had a chance to get back to it, but today was the day for retribution– Mike ponied up and slayed the line, and we finally got the shot clean. Stoked! Minutes later, Orry did a huge backflip off of the topmost pillow, but unfortunately tweaked his leg a bit on the landing, and was out for the rest of the day– the guy is recovering from a recent leg injury, but still is casually throwing massive backflips off of drops that would put the fear in me even if they were half as large. Ridiculous.
Orry--Wounded and Still Sending
With Orry taking it easy, Mike took center stage, and really proved his mettle, spending the day throwing fives and incredibly laid-out, falling-asleep-in-the-air backflips off of a natural pillow before tackling a few bigger pillow lines and tree jibs. There was a lot of standing around towards the end of the day waiting for light, but the stoke was high enough by that point that it was hard to bring down. All in all, damn good times, and we returned to the car tired but satisfied– it was awesome to get behind the lens again after such a hiatus! Hopefully Jake and Nick have had similar success today. Tomorrow’s forecast is: “A heavy icy mix in the morning, then heavy ice; otherwise, windy and chilly.” So, there is a good chance that whatever powder we may have accrued in the past few days will soon be gone. But, time shall tell, yes?
In other news, the trailer– people have been joking that the February trailer will actually be coming out in April, but I can now tell you that it is finally done. It was actually done a week ago, but as we were rendering it, the hard drive with all our data had an internal disaster, destroying the thing and all the data on it. Luckily, we triple back-up everything, and only ended up losing one day’s worth of Ian’s shots. Perhaps when we return to the states we can find some way to pull them from the dead drive, as there were some good ones. In any case, after several hours of fearful meltdowns and expletives, we realized everything was more-or-less okay, and tragedy was averted. Although, we had to buy a new backup hard drive and re-edit the whole trailer, which took a bit of time– hence the delay. So, long story short, and enough of my excuses, you should see that up within the next 24 hours. I know I said that about 2 weeks ago, but it is hard to be certain in this uncertain world, is it not? Hopefully that credo will apply to tomorrow’s dire weather forecast…