Interviewer: Matt Sklar
Interviewed: Rob Heule, Mack Jones
Photos: Kyle Gibson
Known for their smooth rail skills and love for their homeland, skiers Rob Heule, his Brother Jay Heule and Mack Jones embarked on an epic month long journey across Canada. With no destination in particular and hand rails as their guide the two snaked their way across through the prairies and the cities logging bangers for their short film "Meanwhile in Canada."
In their own words:
Our plan for this project was simple: to make it from coast to coast by RV and explore Canada, hitting as many rails/features along the way as we can. Most skiing in our country happens on either coast, so we thought we could show some of what Canada has to offer in terms of street skiing in a single trip, using all things Canadian – from the crew, to the places we visited, to the entire soundtrack. We called it Meanwhile in Canada because while the primary focus is on the Olympics this winter, we were still out doing our thing and having an awesome time along the way. Rather than sitting on it, we wanted to release it as soon as we could after getting back so that we could hopefully get people stoked to go out and do the same type of thing.
Where did you get the idea? Is it something you've been thinking about/planning for a long time?
We'd both been talking about doing something like this for at least the past year or two purely because it sounded like it'd be a fun adventure, but never really had the chance to put a trip together. This year, without much else on the go we both had the time to really plan it out and try to make it happen. We spent the fall putting it together and seeking out some support (Eira and The North Face), and before we knew it we'd rented an RV and were making our way east.
How many stops did you make along the way?
We didn't really have a strict itinerary, so we'd pretty much stop to either ski or explore anywhere we thought was cool or where there might be something to do. It's awesome to have the freedom to not only go anywhere, but sleep anywhere as well thanks to our friend Harvey the RV. We managed to split up the driving times by making lots of stops aka eating at Tim Hortons. In total we stopped in 16 cities and small towns.
Now that Voleurz is done (RIP) do you think you'll film for more movies parts, or focus on projects like this one? Do you prefer these short film type of projects? Why's that?
We're both big fans of doing short film style projects as it's nice to have full control of every part of the final product – from what we do and where we go, to how the actual video looks and how we'd like it to come across. It's really cool to be a part of something from start to finish and be able to use your creativity in any way you feel. That and Voleurz is gone and we had nothing better to do... why not go on an adventure.
How was the RV? Any horror stories? Was it better or worse than the TC van?
Harvey the RV was actually really nice. Despite having 5 guys crammed in there we managed to keep it relatively livable by not using the bathroom the "no shoes allowed" rule. Obviously it's a little tight, but it had a more space than the TC van. In terms of horror stories, we definitely found ourselves a couple sketchy situations – one being Rob crashing into a church, and the other getting stuck on a super skinny one-way downtown Montreal and having to literally lift cars out of the way. Oops.
Highlight/ best moment?
Rob: No one time in particular, but there were a few moments I had where we'd be driving and I'd look around and just be like, "I can't believe we're doing this."
Mack: I thought the rail ranch in Brandon, Manitoba was one of the coolest things we saw. These guys had built a full rope tow and rail yard in the middle of the prairies, and it was just cool to see people making it happen regardless of where they are.
Rob: Crashing the RV into a church in Salmon Arm.
Mack: The whole debacle of getting stuck in the tight one-way downtown MTL and having to push cars out of the way. Sorry, mirrors of several cars.
Most stereotypical "Canadian" encounter?
Probably the guy in Thunder Bay who rolled up to a gas station on his snowmobile, carrying his infant daughter between his legs in -30 weather... just to get a coffee.
Did the trip go (mostly) as you planned? Or was there anything unexpected?
To be honest we were so lucky with weather the entire way across the country. We expected to have to either change course or skip a few places due to lack of snow, but the crazy cold weather kept the snow around long enough for us to ski the whole time! Other than some of the aforementioned hiccups on the way and a couple cold nights in the RV, things went really smoothly.
And without further ado here is the video:
Any thank yous you'd like me to include?
We'd like to say a huge thanks to our presenting sponsors for the project, Eira and The North Face. As well as Line, and the many people that either helped us out with spots along the way or were nice enough to let us use their showers. We have a full list in the credits of those who helped us out... you all rule!