Interview by Jeff Schmuck
Hey Colston, how's it going?
Great! Just got done skiing another sunny day up on Blackcomb, which was pretty uplifting, because although it's been snowing a bunch it's been very foggy for the last two weeks. I had a super fun day cruising around up there but I had an incident with an older woman on a cat track. It's so busy here and I'm not used to it yet, these bigger resorts are like cities on snow!
Why don't you start by telling us a little bit about yourself, since you may be considered to be relatively new on the scene by some people.
Sure thing. I was born and raised in Rossland, BC and although I've traveled a lot I feel like I'm a real product of that Kootenay mountain environment and lifestyle. I’ve been skiing since I was two years old, but I've also spent a lot of time snowboarding, and even ski racing over the years, basically anything that has to do with snow and the outdoors during the wintertime. I describe myself as a big mountain freeskier, and am fortunate enough to have picked up supporters along the way, including Salomon, Oakley and Red Resort.
Photo by David Peacock
I know that although big mountain skiing is your specialty, you also shred the park. Did skiing alongside guys like James Heim and Dane Tudor while you were growing up in Rossland shape you desire to become a more well rounded skier as opposed to just focusing on one thing?
Absolutely. To me it’s about slaying literally everything in front of you. When I was younger we didn't even have a park at Red. I think all skiers from Red learn how to ski the steeps and the bumps and the trees whether there's a park or not, and I feel that, along with the Red Mountain Racers program and the terrain at Red, has made it the ideal place to learn the fundamentals of becoming a great skier. Growing up I skied with guys who were much older than me, and there was a mindset where if you couldn't keep up, you weren’t going to have anyone to ski with (laughs). So it definitely taught me how to ski fast, and you'd take your beatings if you acted out of line. The older crew I skied with were all about teaching Dane and I to be humble and how to keep up, so I definitely owe many childhood memories on the mountain and everything I'm doing in skiing now to all of those guys.
On that note, who would you say your biggest influences are?
I'm definitely inspired by many things outside the sport, and definitely a number of old school legends within it. These days I've been surfing a lot during the fall and that's been huge for the technicality of my skiing in terms of the maneuvers and style I want to bring to the sport. Growing up Dane (Tudor) and I used to home school together and ski almost every day, and he always pushing it, so I obviously always wanted to be on the same level as him. And I remember as a little guy I'd always be stoked on photos in the magazines of Sean (Pettit) and Kye (Petersen), who are now my friends, yet I feel we all bring different things to the table in the skiing world. Kye's two years older than me, and every year when his segment would come out I would make sure I could do everything he did in his segment that year, to try to be on par with those guys who were in the limelight having grown up in Whistler and all that. So although I wasn't skiing with them at the time, they were a huge influence on me and showed what was possible for groms to accomplish.
Photo by Dave Heath
Looking more to the present, what have you been up to this season so far?
This season has actually been really slow so far. I've been having a blast skiing with my friends in all conditions, but things have been tough for filming because of the weather. It snowed a bunch at the start of the year, but then there was a huge drought and after it started snowing again the freezing levels went up really high, so there’s not much powder left. Before the season I finished a semester of university and took the winter one off like I’ve been doing since high school. I started out in Rossland skiing pow with my family and friends to get my ski legs under me, and now I'm in Whistler where I've been shooting with Salomon Freeski TV, and I just did a day with the Sherpas. I wanted to come out here to step things up a bit, because the mountains are bigger and there are more crews to work with, more of a scene you know? Where I'm from there's wicked skiing, but no media attention, so it's hard to balance your ambitions with just skiing for yourself. Now that I'm here we'll see what comes of it.
What are your plans for the remainder of the winter?
I'm planning on sticking around BC. I want to get up into the bigger zones where it’s all open and there's a bunch of funky natural terrain that I can get creative on, along with skiing some spines and steeper lines. I find that kind of terrain is the most fun and fulfilling to ski, and I think it's where I shine the most.
You just dropped a season edit. Tell us a little bit about it.
Yeah it's mainly backcountry footage that I shot primarily with the Voleurz crew last year and a few other people. I didn't have a full part this year so I just edited something together myself, and I definitely wish I knew more about editing (laughs). I'm sure I'll learn more in the future though, but I just wanted to show people what I'm about and what I got up to last winter.
Winter's Wolves from Colston VB on Vimeo.
Speaking of filming, where can people check you out over the course of the next little while?
Well I think Salomon Freeski TV for sure; I'm really exited about some of the concepts they have for their episodes for next season. And hopefully some other well-known production companies, as I’ve been in the loop with a bunch of crews but things are tough for us up-and-comers in terms of ski industry politics and logistics with sponsors and whatnot. I’m still going to work as hard as I can regardless though, because for me there is no plan B, I know what I want out of this winter and that's a progressive full video part. It sounds simple but there is so much more to it.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years as a freeskier?
That's a tough one! Hopefully I'll just be more comfortable, and be able to relax a bit and maybe not have to work in the summers. I'd really like some notoriety in terms of being known as someone who does things a bit differently in the backcountry. And I'd just like to involve myself more in the ski industry on many different levels, because I feel like I have a lot to bring to the table.
Photo by Dave Heath
Any shout-outs you want to toss out there?
Absolutely! I am so grateful for so many things, and I literally couldn't live this awesome life without support in many different forms. A huge shout-out to Bob Bailey for lending me his snowmobile this year, because I lost mine last winter and it's frozen ice age-style somewhere on a glacier (laughs). Everyone who has let me stay with them during ski missions, I cannot explain how much that means to me. My mom, who helps me out with all sorts of advice, and of course to all my sponsors, especially Virgine Tisseau from Salomon, for seeing and understanding my vision and bringing me on board. And to all my friends for being awesome characters and hilarious human beings!