Editor’s Update: Skiers JP Auclair, one of our Adventurers of the Year, and Andreas Fransson died in an avalanche on Chile’s Mount San Lorenzo on 9/29/2014. We will have more on this accident and their incredible lives later this week. Our hearts go out to their families and friends.
This scene from the award-winning Sherpas Cinema ski film All.I.Can. may have been our favorite at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Set to LCD Soundsystem’s “Dance Yourself Clean,” it features freeskier JP Auclair jibbing his way through three towns in British Columbia, Canada. “We asked people if we could ‘play’ in their front yards before we’d start jumping over their cars, etc.,” says Auclair, who seems to effortlessly ski across snowless roads (causing sparks), down staircases, and flipping through intersections. “We had spotters at each intersection to make sure there were no cars coming … usually our spotters were kids walking back from school and people living in the neighborhood.” Amid all the fun of this scene is a serious message: “Showing skiing where most might not have expected it, making turns beyond the ski resort, beyond the snow was a simple way to illustrate human’s capability for imagination and creativity—which are just a few of the qualities we need to solve crisis like global warming,” says Auclair, who answered some of our questions about the scene below.
Adventure: All.I.Can. has a strong environmental message. How does this scene play into that?
JP Auclair: Global warming is a serious issue. People have to act. We believe we need to go beyond the traditional “consume less, travel less, live less” mentality. We believe a shift in the approach to a sustainable world is also needed. The parallel drawn with the piece is basically to show we can think outside the box. Showing skiing where most might have not expected it, making turns beyond the ski resort, beyond the snow was a simple way to illustrate human’s capability for imagination and creativity—which are just a few of the qualities we need to solve crisis like global warming.
A: Is it legal to ski like this? Did you have to ask people to stay out of the way?
JP: This was shot in Trail, Nelson, and Rossland—all in B.C., Canada. Not sure if this was entirely legal to ski like that. I can say, however, that you’re less likely to run into trouble in whatever you are doing if you respect the wellbeing of others around you. We asked people if we could “play” in their front yard before we’d start jumping over their cars, etc. We had spotters at each intersections to make sure there were no cars coming … usually our spotters were kids walking back from school and people living in the neighborhood. Lots of “standbyers” participated!
A: Did you have fun shooting this sequence? Looks like it.
JP:It was labor intense, but very fun indeed! it took us just over two weeks and the whole time we were either scouting for locations, getting different features ready or filming. Dave [Mossop] and I were totally on the same page so it allowed us to dive into it head first. The concept was broad enough to give us plenty of room for creativity yet narrow enough to be able to have a tangible goal to aim for. We both had a great time.
A: You must have planned out your tricks in advance, right?
JP: Yeah and no. Those are tricks I’ve been doing for years. They are “go-to” tricks that I feel comfortable doing in most settings. They are very simple, nothing like what you see younger kids do in ski videos these days! Even though nothing was planned leading to the shoot, the tricks might as well have been.
A: Were there some funny anecdotes from shooting?
JP: Where to start…. Well, there was the time I almost landed on Dave, who was trying to ski underneath me with the camera (then I manage to go straight into a tree). Then there was the time Trail residents brought us smokies and Doritos, telling us to take a break. It really gave us a bit more energy for the rest of the day. At one point, Dave was trying to drive and film, hitting the horn to let me know when to drop in. It got kind of messy every now and then. I guess all the little things are good anecdotes for me. The same coffee joint every day, the melting snow revealing dog pooh everywhere I skied! The look I got from the ski tuning shops staff every night!
A: Were you surprised at how humorous and fun the edit of the scene turned out, especially when the bus, aka chairlift, shows up?
- Nat Geo Expeditions
JP:Yeah. We knew there was going to have a playful or lightheartedness quality to the sequence, but it was great to see the response from the public when the bus shows up on screen at the different All. I. Can. showing I went to.
A: What are you up to this winter?
JP: I’m living in Switzerland right now and planing on spending lots of time in the Alps. We’ll also be getting to work on the next film project anytime now.
A: What’s the hottest topic in the ski industry right now?
JP: Hmm.. I guess the Olympics is a hot topic these days as halfpipe and slopestyle for skiing just became an Olympic discipline for skiing. Lots of people agree and disagree on whether this portion of the sport belongs in the Olympics and it’s sparking lots of debates. The hottest topic for me right now though is alpinism! Back to the roots! This is a new realm for me and I want to learn all about it!