“We were in Niseko, Japan with Clayton Kernaghan from Black Diamond Tours, and he told us about a new spot that he thought we would love. We hopped in the van with him, and he started driving us past all these farms where there were no mountains, and we were thinking, “Where the hell are we going?”
We finally got to a parking lot, and there was a snowcat there waiting for us on some dude’s farm. We got in, and started cruising in the cat through farm fields that were super flat with no cat roads at all. We were in the cat for about an hour, and then we finally started to see some hills, at which point I started looking out both sides of the cat windows to scope for features, mainly trees that had snow on them. Then we finally got to the end of the road, and it ended up being right near Rusutsu Resort. So we got out, and there was a guy behind us in a snowmobile, who gave us a two-minute tow to the bottom of the chairlift, which was pretty funny, because we could have started from there.
We went up the chair, and I took one lap through the forest with Joe Schuster and Mark Abma, and boom, we saw this massive tree caked in snow. It was a pretty quick tranny at the bottom, but we set it up so we could all hit it. I was actually the last one to go. Joe went first, hit it, and said he didn’t think it was going to work, because the tranny was too quick to get up on to the tree. I ended up just saying fuck it, and went for it, and took it with extra speed, because I wanted to get to the end of it. The tranny was no more than ten inches wide, so I was pretty much riding on one ski for the first eight feet of the tree. I hit the tranny, stayed super light on my feet, because the snow in Japan is so light and was caked on to the tree, and then as I was going up it got wider, so I put some pressure on my feet so I could bounce off the tree and make it over the branches, which is when I was at my highest point and when the photo was taken. I popped off, and actually rode through some branches while my tails were tapping them, came down, and spotted a four-foot micro tranny on the landing, hit the perfect spot, and blasted out. It’s definitely the biggest tree ride I’ve ever done, and that’s pretty much why we go to Japan, so we can find features like that. That was actually the only one we ended up finding during our two-week trip there to shoot for the new Super Proof movie, The Masquerade. So when you come across gems like that, you’ve got to take full advantage, and it was a goal of mine to have one of those in the bag this year.
Blake obviously captured it from the best angle he could get, which was all time. He’s got a great eye and knows how to make photos look insane. When he showed it to me after I just said, “No way,” because he made it look so cool. I really loved it because it gives off a vibe where the viewer doesn’t really know where I’m coming from, because I’m just perched on top of the tree. I could be Photoshopped for all people know, which I kind of like the idea of (laughs). I was super hyped when I got the call from Schmuck to tell me that they were starting a new ski magazine, and that I was going to be on the cover of Issue 1.1. I was blown away that I was going to have the pleasure to be on the first cover of a brand new and rising Canadian ski magazine. I couldn’t be more stoked, because it could very well end up being the most important cover I’ll ever have, since it’s Forecast’s first one, which is a magazine that I highly support. Party on.”
“I think this was shot on our last day of the trip. We had been in Japan for almost three weeks and the snow cycle had dried up. Clayton from Black Diamond Tours was putting in his best efforts to help us out with snow and took us to the backside of Rusutsu. I spotted this crazy tree from the bottom and made Joe (Schuster) and Sean come up and have a look. I thought it looked like a great angled tree to trick off of. This was a rare occurrence where the skier did something completely different than what I expected, with Sean riding up the tree and crashing through the branches and out over the top, 30 feet in the air. He got caught up a bit on the first try and went up and hit it again, coming out the top of the canopy like a cannon perfectly on the second go at it. It was one of those days that felt like we were going to get nothing, and ended up with one of the best shots of the trip and the first cover of Forecast. A super progressive look at a feature for Sean and the future for Canadian skiing.”