Do you find it ironic that you decided to film an eco-conscious shred flick during what can be described as one of the worst winters on record for the PNW and West Coast? Does this help with getting the message of environmental stewardship across?
Sean Fithian: We did find it sort of ironic in a sad way that this winter happened to be one of the worst in recent memory and we were trying to create an environmentally sound project. We had a totally different plan for this winter than what ended up happening and though the weather played into our narrative it would have been a far more eco-friendly project if winter had arrived in the PNW.
On top of the bad winter, what other hardships did you guys encounter as you set forth to make this movie?
SF: Well we had to be uncomfortable in our travel situations in an attempt to combat our carbon footprint. Fitting 4 snowboarders in a Toyota Tacoma with all of our split boarding gear, camping stuff, and cameras was interesting to say the least! I guess we gained perspective on the effect that traveling has on the environment through that. In order to make traveling work in an environmentally friendly way, you have to make sacrifices, whether that is taking one car instead of two, or driving a veggie oil engine and carrying 300 gallons of veggie oil fuel to make it work, a sacrifice in comfort is necessary.
This goes back to the previous question, but really just making the traveling work in a way that we could be okay with it. Helicopters and airplanes are bad and everyone knows that, but people don’t realize the effect that even everyday automobile travel has. We were also going to snowmobile access zones, and so to make that work we doubled (had 2 people) on every single one of the snowmobiles that we brought out. Not only is this hard on the sleds, but it is also not very enjoyable when you’re navigating miles of whoops just to get out to the spots. Thankfully most of the sleds we had were fairly new and were really efficient as far as fuel economy and oil.
What type of cameras was this filmed with?
SF: I filmed this project entirely on Panasonic GH series mirrorless cameras, I find that their image quality is better than any DSLR out there, even the new Sony A7 full frame series cameras. The biggest benefit of them though is their size, with the Micro four thirds sensor lenses being absolutely tiny compared to regular DSLR lenses, I could fit 3 lenses and the camera and the tripod in my normal touring bag which, if anybody reading this knows about split boarding and filming it, is a huge deal.
Any advice for others looking to follow your example and create a similar shred flick?
SF: Any advice I can give is to just go for it! In our eyes everyone should strive to walk along the “middle path”. The more conscious we are of our effects on the world around us, the better that world will be. Convert a diesel truck to veggie oil, put a camper on it with some Goal Zero solar panels and batteries to power your camera gear, and go post up at cool zones for as long as you can and split board and explore!
When will we see the rest of this project released?
SF: We will be releasing this project as a 4 part web series throughout the month of November and then the full movie will be released after that.
Thanks and shout outs?
SF: Thanks to everyone that was involved and helped make this project a reality, especially Ian Wood, who put his heart and soul into headlining this and kept me motivated throughout the winter and summer editing process. Shout out to Matt Wainhouse, his footage from this winter is gonna blow some peoples minds and he was with us on every adventure absolutely killing it. Jordan Ingmire, our Zen master. Tyler Morton, the original Daryl. T Claught, Roho, RyRy and all the Stevens Pass homies that helped out! And especially shout out to Kurt Jenson and Timmy Carlson, I know they don’t want us publishing their ages but seeing them still sending it in the backcountry is a true inspiration!
“Every winter we enter the season with high hopes of amazing snow fall. Some years, all we can hold onto is the hope of next weeks forecast bringing the weather we are dreaming of. In the PNW last winter, resorts seemed to be about 1,000 vertical feet too low. With only the mountain tops getting snow and the rest of the hills being drenched with rainfall, the season didn’t amount into much. The important question we must all ask ourselves is, are humans having an effect on the worlds climate and if so, then how much? Businesses are taking note of this possibility and beginning to create a more symbiotic relationship with the world around them. Stevens Pass resort in Washington is one of them. We only got a hand full of powder days in our home mountains this past season. The high temperatures have us searching for answers in hopes of deepening not only our snow levels but our understanding as well. The burning question here is, if it is even remotely possible we are harming the planet why would we even risk it? Isnt it time we take steps to insure a livable world for our future generations? The lack of winter at home has sparked our thoughts and inspired an adventure of taking a serious, heartfelt look, at how we… as winter enthusiasts, are impacting the environment we so desperately rely on” – Ian Wood
Riders: Matt Wainhouse, Ian Wood, Sean Fithian, Forrest Burki, Ryan McLaughlin, Jim Guindon, and Tim Carlson
Film/Edit: Sean Fithian
Additional Film: Ian Wood
Music: “Pretender” Black Marble
Score: Peter Muller