"We had a helicoptor", says Mark Abma, attempting to sum up the evening of June 29th, 2004. And after all of the people that
I interviewed for this article, that four word sentence summed it up better than any.
Last Tuesday, thirteen skiers were invited to partake in High North Ski Camp's first ever helicoptor photo shoot. The
attendees were Anthony Boronowski, Mark Abma, Doug Bishop, Dave Bishop, Charles Bedard, JA Maheur, Alex Balsen, Colby West,
Evan Wilcox, Rob Dumotny, Marc Andre Belliveau, Shane Szocs, and JP Auclair.
The day started as any day of camp does... the diggers got up at 6:30am and were digging by 8:00. The coaches and campers
arrived several minutes later, and the media (us) arrived about an hour after that (you can't take good pictures without a
strong night's rest). We spent most of the day riding around and helping the diggers fix up their newly plowed 75 foot jump,
conserving our flash cards for the evening which was being anxiously awaited.
At around 3pm, the last of the campers left the glacier, leaving only the skiers and media. The jump was hand polished to
perfection by 3:30, so we all headed up to the Horstman Hut for a couple hours of R&R. We sat on the deck, watching the sun
slowly lower creating the perfect light that we were waiting for. By 6pm, everyone was over sitting around doing nothing, so
we re-booted (get it?) and headed back down to the lane for final adjustments.
Doug Bishop was somehow elected the guineau pig, and he drove into the jump with lots of speed. Everyone held their breath as
he landed cleanly in the sweet spot, and became possibly the first person ever to claim a straight air. After Doug's success,
the rest of the riders got into it right away, throwing all the tricks in the book, and preparing themselves for the big
At 7pm, the heli flew in from the valley, bringing an army of noise along with it. Everyone waited patiently while Abma and
Anthony made laps with the sleds while Poorboyz shot 16mm from the chopper. They both threw down with cork 5s, cab 7s, and
everything else you would expect from a pro skier. Abma clinched the shoot with a cork 5 to ski down a bit to grease the 50
So after Abma and Tony were done "hogging the jump", as one of the joking diggers put it, the rest of the riders sessioned
for a solid hour while JP filmed digi from the heli. It was an intense scene as the heli would fly by, a mear 20 feet over head, while skiers hit the biggest jump on the glacier. The wind from the heli knocked over tripods, the DJ tent,
blew over banners, and even caused several riders to abort their runs as the wind would slow their approach drastically. NS
Clothing riders Doug and Dave Bishop threw down all evening. Doug stomped one of the best zero spins I've ever seen, and Dave
nailed several switch rodeo 7s thrown so smoothly, they appeared to happen in slow motion.
By 8:30, everyone was pretty drained. The two sleds towing people back up to the top meant excessively quick laps, so we were
able to get our pictures, PBP was able to get their footage, and all the diggers were able to have their favourite tricks
recorded from a helicoptor... all in a day's work I suppose.
We left the glacier around 9:30, with the full moon watching over head, and the now glowing red sun dissapearing over the
horizon. The shimmering mountain ranges emitted a sense of pure bliss and relaxation as we made our way down the mountain by
For any aspiring skier or photographer, it was a dream come true. Colby West spoke for many while sitting on a rock looking
out at the sunset over the mountains, "that may have been the best day of my life".
Doug Bishop shoves JA Maheur's face into the jump for good measure.
Bottom row from left: Rob, Marc-Andre, Doug, Shane, JA
Middle row from left: Cam, Tony, Fred
Top row from left: JP, Mark, Dave