They built the roof wrong, see?
There’s gaps in the roof. They fucked up over there.
Dom Laporte has been roofing for a number of years. It’s what he does to make enough money to ski in the summer. He’s got a seasoned eye for craftsmanship, good enough to spot a poorly built section of the hotel’s sloped roofs from across the courtyard. He sees a lot; takes it in. Dom observes comings and goings – in skiing and in life – and he analyzes them with precision. It’s a rare talent, one that allows him to approach his craft in a way that is unique and has made him into one of the best underground skiers in the world.
Nollie Lip on Photo: Ren Rob
He’s in Whistler now, shredding under an unseasonably warm July sun. Before that he was in Mt. Hood, skiing at Windells. This is the summer season of any pro that has to subsidize their career with labour. Trips when available and lane access where offered. Dom’s been riding up with the digger crew every morning. “Sérieux dude, I don’t even mind getting up that early - even if I’m hungover or whatever.” He doesn’t take it for granted either. He’s been up early every day this week, shredding the roped off rail lines of Whistler’s Horstman Glacier. On our way home from the lift in the afternoon he said, grinning, “I got switch in - 810 today. Mais là, I don’t like to claim man, but serious I was stoked. I had to tuck my arms in and shit, like ugly.” He laughs, and acknowledges there have been prettier spins. Knowing his standards for tricks though, his version of “ugly” is more impressive than most.
"Ottawa" edit: Mike Dandurand
There’s something about Dom that is set apart. You can see it in any of his edits from this season. “Yeah I think I appeared in like 15 edits this year,” he said. “It might even be too much, man.” But it makes sense when you consider his abilities. In keeping with the signature Quebec approach to skiing, Dom is creative. The caribou-on has become a sort of signature trick this year. Sander Hadley pointed out that he sets up each trick the same way: “He uses his poles dude; the guy like actually sets up the hit properly. It’s crazy.” And it’s true, too. Dom is methodical when he skis. It’s how he achieves the perfection that he’s after.
"The Finale" from the Tabarnak Pack edit: Mike Dandurand
“It’s a personal thing,” he once explained, while watching himself slide a gapped down-down-quad kink rail on the square-inch screen of a DSLR, “I just don’t like the way that looked, like how I moved my feet there.” There’s nothing cocky about it. He’ll take it; he didn’t get the perfect shot this time. In life, you have to accept that you won’t get the shot every time. But he’ll be back. He won’t be satisfied unless he has the shot. Properly.
It’s the same with competition skiing. “I shouldn’t have tried a trick that hard [at Foret Urbaine]. Next year we’ll work on that,” he says.
Switch lip on at Windells. Photo: Jamie Walter
Dom is, indeed, always working. Wherever he’s been this season, he has quietly and consistently achieved what he came for. He podiumed in the first five competitions he entered this year. He won the Axis rail jam at Tremblant, Won Taxis Hold’em at Avila and placed second between Khai Krepela and LJ Strenio at Rails to Riches. And where he didn’t win, he knows there is room for improvement. “That’s the thing man, like with War of Rails you need at least three good runs. So if you’re gonna try something la you better be sure you’re gonna land it.” His is a philosophical approach – he told me that learning English had been easy: “All you need is to be able to point at something and say ‘how do you say dat?’” It’s a mindset that is reflected in his skiing; a constant movement forward, for the sake of self-improvement. And of course to get the shot.
Dom at War of Rails 2014 edit: Brody Jones
This year, Dom also got in front of the lens with Stept Productions. It was a huge opportunity, he acknowledges. “Those guys are sick man, each one of them has their own style and approach.” He didn’t hesitate to step up to the plate either. “I got shots, yeah. I think there were definitely some that I was stoked on.” It’s a humble opinion, but the truth is that it’s time Dom earned more recognition. He has left his signature across Quebec, now the expansion is on. “Max is sick,” he says of Whistler local Max Morello. “Ce serais un esti d’edit”. It would be a sick edit. It will be a sick edit.
Trick tip: switch lip on, front two out and switch tail first on, front two out. edit: Gavin Rudy
For now, he’s skiing. He’ll be on the hill tomorrow. The next day too. As long as I can, he’ll probably tell you if you ask. He comes back because there’s always room for improvement. Tomorrow it’s a stylish 810-out, next winter it’s the top of the podium. It’s what sets Dom Laporte apart. It’s a personal thing.