Glen Plake has a lot to say about skiing, and as a legend of the sport, it's all worth listening to. If you missed part 1, take a look: here
if you're all caught up, enjoy part 2...Still from Warren Miller's 70th film, Timeless
Blizzard of Aahhh's to Instagram: What are your views on the way ski-media has gone? Has the quantity of content affected the quality?
Obviously our attention span is less than it used to be. When Greg made License to Thrill unless you agreed to use a very particular projector --which there were only ten of in the world at the time—and unless you agreed to use a particular Soundsystem, that only select theatres had, he would not license the movie to you. He wanted the movie to be projected on one-inch video and the sound to be heard through a specific stereo system. That way the movie would be presented in the light and the likeness that he intended it to be.
Now, and I’m sure plenty of Rock and Roll artists and plenty of other people, are really upset that you work as hard as you do, doing these things you do and somebody’s watching it on a 2-inch-screen of an iPhone. That kind of takes away from the months you’ve spent in the studio. Without being an audiophile or anything like that, I think it’s important that we see that context before I answer the question…
We are kind of missing out on the body of work, by not seeing it projected. I think there is some peer-stimulation, that we get when we’re sitting next to people or we have an audience. We’re screaming and yelling, or we can tap our buddy on the shoulder and say: ‘that was frickin insane! Did you see that?!’ In a theatre-aspect, versus the phone or iPad or whatever. I just think there’s a longer-lasting effect on your brain.
From the Instagram standpoint, I think people actually sought out the film. We didn’t promote it and it didn’t have a reputation, it earned a reputation. I think that’s the difference, I think a lot of people are trying to build their reputation, instead of just allowing it to form. I think there was something tangible about the film and still, to this day, there’s something tangible about my career. I know that there are posters hanging on the wall, that I signed 20-years-ago. We’re going to have a really hard time finding an Instagram post from 20 MINUTES ago!
I yell at young athletes and I yell at marketing companies that focus so much on social media. I’m like: ‘Great, but. What is tangible. You need to make it alive. It’s nothing but a drawing on a piece of paper, you need to make it out of wood, metal, stone or whatever your media is and make it last. I think that’s why I’ve signed so many autographs, that’s why I travel with hero cards or posters. I have an association with you in my career, now please let me give you something that’s wood, metal or stone.
Do you watch any skiing these days? What do you like to watch?
Constantly. I love watching World Cup. I think it’s fantastic. I love mountaineering. Same as I’ve always been, just a big mix of everything and I love digging out some old films. Watching some old films, just because I love the creativity of the film itself and I love the skiing that was done in the film. I saw a film, about ten years ago and I saw it once. I couldn’t believe it and I asked and asked and asked, but I couldn’t find a copy. A friend of mine just emailed me a copy of it on Vimeo. It’s called The Ski Racer.
I have a big film collection, we had a rainy day in Chamonix, a couple of years ago, and we watched late 90s rail movies. Holy cow, so crazy! Literally, the beginning of Newschoolers, the stuff that was going on was crazy. Talk about loose cannons, they were just doing stuff and nobody had a clue what was going on! The early days of Rory Silva, Deschenaux, the days of Mercon, all of those guys
Are there any skiers, these days, that you particularly like watching?
I love them all!! Everybody has a talent, everybody has ability and I dig watching the really fast skiing that’s taking place, over in Europe. Skiers are all amazing, still.
What’s your take on the X Games, Dew Tour and stuff? Do you watch any competitions?
I’m not going to take anything away from the athletes, because it’s like World Cup Mogul skiing, but the format and the parameter that they’re having to ski within is exactly the same thing that made people go freeskiing! That’s why it became what it was because people didn’t want to be held to parameters, they didn’t want to conform to the old rules. Here we are, right smack bang in the middle of ‘em, but they’ve made rules about something that used to be very free.
I think the epitome of the X Games, was when Simon Dumont that big double flyaway front, a couple of years back (2013) and it beat Jon Olsson doing a freakin’ triple-something-or-other. I just think it was so funny because here’s Simon, winning a competition, doing a trick that won competitions 30. Years ago! I’m not saying anything against Simon, I’m saying: there you go! Forget who was doing it, look at the trick that was done and look at how it was received. The only people that were critical of it, were the freakin’ judges. Well F them anyways! Who the hell are they?
So, I have to ask what you think about Freeskiing in the Olympics?
Again, more power to the athletes. More power for them having an avenue to fulfill their dreams, I think it’s fantastic. That’s awesome, but the idea of it being formatted like that doesn’t make sense to me at all. It’s completely against what I do, but at the same time, how are they going to validate themselves? Or what avenue?
If it’s an avenue for the skiers, awesome, go for it, let’s do it. Let’s do whatever we can for you to become the best and have the longest career you could possibly have. At the same time, fundamentally, it doesn’t make sense to me. It’s kind of against everything that it’s supposed to be. Now we’re competing and we’re confined by a set of rules that are interpreted by a rule-making committee, that decided upon them three or four years ago. They’re not even up to current trends, it’s like saying: ‘call me on my landline’ technology is changing just as fast as the technique.
The fundamentals of it bother me, but the people doing it don’t. It’s an avenue that I had when I was a kid, but it went away because of liability and all these things. They have to have rules, I understand, go out and do your thing.
I wish I could say: ‘Here’s the roadmap to my career. Go for it. Live long and prosper! Haha’ but that’s not the way it works and so if that’s an opportunity for someone to go down whatever road they’re going down, then let’s go. That’s awesome and we could say the same thing about ski racing. They’ve got the clock and you look at the courses, I’m sure some of the racers just wish they could get uncork, rather than get tied down by the gates.Somewhere on Glen's dream run?
Trip: I would start at the top of L’Aiguille du Midi (In Chamonix), we’d ski really, really bitching powder all the way down through Moyen Envers, get our little doily powder run in and go: ‘that was bitching!’ then we’d get to Salle á Manger, after a huge, huge, huge holiday and we could slam bumps all the way through salle de manger. So we’d get our powder skiing, we’d get our ballet in and we’d do ballet all the way down the glacier and then we’d get to the James Bond and we’d just jump trail all the way down. Somewhere, we’d have to make a steep turn or two, but don’t know where. You know what, we’d climb the Mallory to get to the run, then we’ve got it all covered!
Trick: Ski moguls! That’s the best trick you can do on skis!
Track: I don’t ski to music, but my music collection is diverse and confused. For the purpose of this answer, let’s say: Dag Nasty and the track would be All Ages Show