Interview by Jeff Schmuck
Photos by Mason Mashon
Hey KC, how have you been?
Good. Just hanging out in Vancouver right now for the Voleurz intro shoot and enjoying this nice summer weather.
How was your winter?
My winter was tough. It started off good in January with a nice trip to Japan with Grant Gunderson, where we shot photos for three weeks for a Powder story. Then things started to go downhill after I got back. I hurt my ankle pretty bad while filming for Voleurz, and then had two friends (Jim Jack and Chris Rudolph) die in an avalanche, and almost a third (Elyse Saugstad). Then less than a week after I came back from my ankle injury I almost blew my knee at Mount Baker, and by the time I came back from that it was the end of March. So I spent the majority of the winter battling back from injuries, but at the beginning of April things started to click, and I ended the season on a good note by winning Intersection with Voleurz and finishing filming for my segment with them.
It sounds like it was a pretty challenging season, but what would you say were the biggest highlights?
I would say the Japan trip was a huge highlight, because being in Japan is always a good time, and then winning Intersection with Voleurz. This was the second year in a row that we won, and I always love filming with those guys.
Voleurz winning entry from Intersection, The Science of Airborning
Did you film exclusively with Voleurz this winter, or anyone else?
I filmed exclusively with them. I did one day with Poor Boyz, but I was more so shooting photos with Mason Mashon and just having a good time with the boys.
How'd filming go for you this season with all the injuries you were dealing with?
I still got some good shots. I was a little disappointed because I obviously wanted to put together a better segment than last year, but I guess it'll be up to the viewers to decide whether or not that happened. I got some shots that I really wanted to get, but it was hard this year, because in addition to injuries every time a storm came in the avalanche cycle was so bad. So I didn't really ski any big lines until the beginning of April.
KC Deane's segment from Voleurz' That's Fine
Going back to Voleurz, being that you're a full-fledged member of Voleurz Family and spend a lot of time with them, who would you say is the most unsavory character in the crew?
Oh man, that's a tough question. On the ski side or snowboard side?
Well on the snowboard side I have to go with The Schwank, aka Shayne Zwickel, because he's definitely a pretty unsavory character. And on the ski side of things, I hate to give it to the one and only Max Hill, but he's the most obvious choice (laughs).
Give us one story from the Voleurz Family's adventures this year that would people's stomachs turn.
From this year? I don't know. I don't think any of them are appropriate (laughs). I've got one from last year though that definitely made my stomach turn. We were out filming in the backcountry and I watched The Schwank air about 70 or 80 feet straight into an old growth tree. He had to get life flighted out and while we were waiting for that to happen he kept slipping in and out of consciousness, so that was definitely one of the gnarliest things I've ever seen go down in person.
Speaking of gnarly, some people may not remember this or even be aware, but a few years ago you broke your neck pretty badly. How hard was it to come back from that injury, both physically and mentally?
Physically it wasn't that bad. You just do the rehab and when the doctor says you're strong you're strong, but the mental part was a huge deal. I broke my C2, which my doctor said less than 3% of people survive and about 1% come back from if they're healthy. So I pretty much almost died, and every time I've gotten ready to hit a big jump since then it's definitely in the back of my mind. I did have a good winter the year after the injury filming with Voleurz for That's Fine, but I would say that it definitely haunted me throughout the season.
So now that you've been back on track for two years, if you were to compare your current skiing style and preference to one animal, what would it be and why?
I'm going to say a zebra, because they can charge, and they're also black and white, and I can be on or off. So when I'm off, I'm definitely off, but when I'm on, I'm pretty on (laughs).
What are you plans for the summer and going into next winter?
I'm going to take a little time off and head back east to recharge my batteries, and then starting on June 10th I'm going to be guest coaching at Woodward Tahoe's summer camp at Boreal, which is going to be really fun. Following that I'll head down to Chile to coach at Evolve Chile again, and then next winter I'm hoping to film with Voleurz again if Darren (Rayner) keeps me on the program, because the word is I'm going to get cut because I didn't fix enough sleds this winter (laughs).
You mentioned to me the other day that you might move up to Whistler for the winter?
Yeah I'm thinking about it. I've been spending so much time in Whistler over the last couple of years filming with Voleurz that I'll probably get a place up there, along with basing myself out of Salt Lake City a bit as well.
What would you say your goals are over the next couple of years?
Well I'd like to be more like Josh Bibby, but I'm not very good at axe throwing (laughs). But since I've been spending a lot of time in the Whistler/Vancouver area and am planning on moving up here, I imagine my skiing will improve, but I really want to focus on my axe throwing, and hopefully with some tips and help from Bibby I'll get there. In the meantime I guess I'll just try and ski (laughs). I'd also like to try to film with someone a little bit bigger. It's tough getting support from sponsors to film with bigger companies, and when it comes down to it I feel like that's one of the biggest factors when it comes to being able to make that happen, and it can be tough for athletes to do that when they don't have the necessary support in order to make it a reality.
Do you have any advice you'd like to bestow on all the youngsters out there?
I'm going to pass something on that Andy Mahre told me when I messaged
him on Newschoolers a long time ago asking for advice. He told me "Go
out, have fun, and ski how YOU want to ski, and the results will come."
So I took that advice and started doing what I like to do, and sure
enough, it worked out well for me, and I'm sure the same will happen for
anyone who takes that advice.
Any last words?
Just want to say a big thanks to all my sponsors: Moment, Outdoor Tech, Bern, Voleurz, Dalbello, Arcade, BCA, CTi, Backcountry.com, Spacecraft, and High Fives, and all the people who have helped me get to where I am.