Cover Photo by Ryan Flett Media in RosslandWho is Vinzenz Keller? You might have seen him ripping the steeps and pillows of British Columbia in Sammy Carlson’s Twentyfour or The Acres’s recent episode Homestead. But the Swiss-Canadian’s name has gone largely unnoticed in the ski community, a bit ridiculous considering his talent. He's got the ability to stomp tricks on crazy lines at warp-speed and constantly throws down in edits, but it’s often difficult to get recognition in the big mountain scene, especially as a more freeski oriented of skier. Vinz was rad enough to take some time out of his day to chat with me about getting 'revelstuck', backcountry risks and what’s in store for the upcoming season. If you haven’t already watched his recent edit of clips from the past two seasons, start there.
Vinzenz began skiing park in Kimberley, BC where he stacked a bag of tricks on groomed features but the easy life didn't last for too long. When Kimberley joined RCR they removed the terrain park, so Vinz began building my own kickers throughout the resort - freeskiing rebellion at it's finest. He then moved to Rossland, where he met and hit it off with legend Dane Tudor. Both Red Mountain and the surrounding backcountry proved perfect to hone his skills. The natural progression from park to freeriding simply happened quicker for Vinzenz than most.
The Acres series began when a handful of young charging skiers from junior freeride circuit, including Vinzenz, decided to quit the competition scene, buy sleds, and move to Revelstoke. The series has proved to be a great success since their initial episode two years ago - Huge Bush. It features a ridiculous array of banger shots of upcoming Revy skiers and snowboarders that who remained relatively unknown, despite absolutely sending in the backcountry of Revelstoke. The cinematography and editing from Kaleb Weston is also far from amateur, creating an excellent stage to highlight all of the talents. The latest episode, Homestead, continues the trend.
It was in Revelstoke that Dane introduced Vinzenz to Sammy Carlson. With a similar no-hesitation approaches to skiing, they hit it off immediately, and Vinz got a big break thanks to being invited to film for Twentyfour. He was featured hitting some unbelievable lines and stacked shots which match up to Sammy's, no small feat. I asked Vinz about how he deals with fear, since the dream pillow lines he drops into are completely blind - terrifying for most. Vinz's success with the lines is due to how well he studies them beforehand, so fear isn't on his mind. Precision is. “We take tons of photos. Before I drop in a line I know every little roller, tree, rock…” Safety in the backcountry doesn’t just mean carrying beacon, probe and shovel - it also means to have patience, take calculated risks and be able to walk away when conditions are bad. There’s no romanticism about death-defying hucks that have become dangerously popular in the ski community.
By the end of our conversation, it was clear that Vinz is skiing with his idols, living in his dream location of Revelstoke and doing his favorite thing in the world - skiing. What could he possibly be planning for the upcoming winter? "This season we're going to be making some huge backcountry kickers, and I'll hopefully start stomping some dubs." While some skiers in Revy have been charging in the early season, Vinzenz is patiently waiting for the perfect conditions to line up and get at it in the backcountry. Stay tuned, we'll definitely be hearing more of his name in the future.