Gaper Day 2007

Game Over. Thanks For Everything.

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A long, long time ago, before Youtube even existed, a few skier dudes set out on a mission to put the free back into free skiing. We aimed to spread the stoke and enthusiasm for skiing while making sure nobody took it too seriously. 

It started with some not-so-innocent little season-ending celebrations called ‘Ski in Jeans Day’. A handful of Whistler skier friends would rally at the end of the season, dress up in jeans and stupid accessories, and ski like nobody-yet-everybody was watching until the lifts shut and the snow turned to grass.

Seasons went by and the ‘Ski in Jeans’ label limited our creativity, so… Gaper Day was born. Sure, every ski posse in every ski town since the dawn of time has enjoyed season-ending retro ski shenanigans, but this one was different. Gaper Day wasn’t an exclusive event for a group of friends. It was a soon-to-be-hatched global movement of Gapers around the world gunning for global domination, and with it, the promise that skiing would never be taken too seriously again.

Certainly not the first Gaper Day, but taking it back 15 years with this absolute classic hit by Paul Cotton. Featuring baby face versions of Dana Flahr, Matty Richard, Blair Fontana, Jamie Bond, Holly Walker, Greg l’Heureux, Sarah Oakden, Dan Gaudreau, John Burr, and more.

There’s no quicker path to world domination than this little thing called ‘the internet’. So with no further ado, www.DOGLOTION.com was born, and the world would never be the same. 

That was 18 years ago, back when Johnny Cash was still alive, Mikaela Shiffrin was graduating Kindergarten, and Facebook wouldn’t exist for several more years. Ski trip reports were still intriguing, online ski videos were rare, and the coolest skis were ‘pair ‘o ball lickers’.

It’s been one hell of a ride since then – a ride we are thankful to have shared with thousands of you amazingly fun, creative, talented and quirky individuals who call yourselves skiers.

Flash forward to Gaper Day 2011

TGR has produced 15+ ski films since then and we premiered almost all of them in Whistler. You were there to stoke the crowd. We travelled the globe from Argentina to Kashmir and everywhere in between. You were there to show us the stashes. We covered the Freeskiing competition scene as it grew from scattered local events to a Freeride World Tour. You were there to show us how many hard-charging skiers were hiding around the world. And when we put a call-out on the internet to show up on the last day of the season with a stupid costume and a passport to party – oh hell were you ever there.

Today the movement is going back to it’s roots, aka offline – back to real life, on any given snow covered mountain near you. Doglotion.com will stay live and archived for when aliens beam down and ask for a history of freeskiing, but the future of skiing’s non-seriousness will live on-snow and in-person forever onwards.

How can we trust the mission will succeed? That’s easy. If you’ve been to any Whistler Gaper Day in the past 5 years you’ve seen the unstoppable animal it’s become. A global pandemic may have interrupted Gaper Day’s 20+ year reign, but nothing can truly stop it. Rest assured Gaper Day will be back, ready to kick ass and take names until the end of time.

Life goals complete.

Flashing forward again to 2015, when the masses showed there’s no stopping Gaper Day now.

SPECIAL THANKS

In no particular order, we owe a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who made the past two decades of Doglotion.com so damn special…

Thanks to all you members, users, readers, whatever you’re called these days. Without you it would just be our parents reading the thousands of posts we’ve cranked out over the years. Shout out to Squamish’s own Johnny Franko who I think was the first public Doglotion.com member whether he knew it or not. #EarlyAdopter. And so what if was just our parents reading the site for a while. Massive thanks to them for believing in it and helping make it happen. And of course to Lotte and Sarah for letting me and Andre pretend skiing was a job for as long as possible.

Major thanks to the generous and talented Olly Walker who volunteered months of slave labour to rebuild Doglotion every time it needed a rebuild. Shout out to James Morris and the rest of the VentureWeb crew for giving me a cool day job before I jumped into Doglotion full-time.

To the e-Business-Apps team who enabled the very first version of Doglotion.com on their old-school-but-once-new-school ‘Speedsite’ platform. Good thing they pivoted or Andre would still be a web nerd instead of an inspirational #ProBy40 life coach. While we’re talking web dev, high fives to Rain City Studios (even though you no longer exist) for building Doglotion.com’s first drupal site in exchange for beer and notoriety. And to dev ninja John Birchall for making the most of the site for the past half decade.

Thank you, thank you, thank you again to the motley crew of creative writers and creators who contributed to the site over the years. My man Mikey Nixon for kicking things up a notch in recent years. The man-myth-legend Chris Mansbridge for personifying Doglotion’s ethos in human form since day 1. Felix Jauvin for giving us street cred with the millennials. Brian Coles for being weirder than we dared. Matt Coté for telling it how it is. Leif Zapf-Gilje for his numerous photo-essays and for pulling off the original Frogger stunt that was cartooned into Doglotion’s first logo. While we’re at it, shakas to 2 other OG gapers Blair Fontana & Bob Kitchen, who alongside Leif got Gaper Day it’s first few ski film appearances and sealed the deal for world domination. The army of awesomeness goes on… Ben Wannamaker, Annaliese Fitzgerald, Jeff Slack, Jill Young, Kate Covello, Holly walker, Lee Lau, and so many more. And lest we forget Mark Warner’s 7 years of Low Pressure Podcasting!

Eternal thanks to all the talented photographers and videographers who’s work adorned the thousands of articles we’ve published over the years. Too many to name, too much gratitude to fit into one paragraph. But surely the most photos we poached over the years (including this final article) were from master himself – Jordan Manley. Thanks Jordo and all you other cool cats and kittens.

Big ups to the sponsors who kept the lights on for all those years. The Arc’teryx team showed loyal support over the past few seasons not only for Doglotion.com but for several unrelated mountain passion projects like Spearhead Huts. Thanks John Irvine, Justin Sweeney, Sarah Leishman, Jill Young and the rest of you.

Mad thanks to Jeff Timmins formerly of Columbia Sportswear and Mountain Hardwear. I ran into Jeff at the WSSF one year, hit him with an excited rant about how I was going to take Doglotion.com to the moon, and he pretty much signed on right then ‘n there for the next 6 years. So I quit my day job and the rest was history (until I realized I still needed a day job).

To Jill & Pete (my first bosses!) for telling me their trade secret – have a damn good time doing what you’re doing and people will want to be part of it. Oh, and for introducing me to that first sponsor 😉 (see above).

Mega thanks to the Salomon crew for being one of our most loyal sponsors, and giving us sticks to slide on. And to Whistler Blackcomb! I almost forgot because it’s so obvious. Before the Vail take-over WB was supporting Doglotion with ad partnerships and event hosting at every opportunity.

The sponsor list goes on… Oliver and the crew at G3 Genuine Guide Gear for the support and the day job that secretly kept Doglotion’s lights on. To Black Diamond, Dynafit, Ryders Eyewear, Joystick, Faction, Dincus. Shout out to James Retty at Escape Route for being the first (and only) retailer to buy Doglotion’s original punk-studded logo hoodies. #Trending. To our favourite people at all the film premiere bars, theatres and after parties (Longhorn, GLC, Merlins, Handlebar, MY Millenium Place) – you rocked it.

And thanks to all you mind-blowing mega-GNAR freeskiers for fueling every last bit of content and inspiration that landed on our site.

RIP In Peace

While it was supposed to be all fun and games, and we’re not allowed to get too serious in this article (or ever), lets take a moment (or rather a lifetime) to appreciate the all-too-many amazing young skier souls who’ve passed from this world since all these shenanigans began. Dave Treadway, Maxim Arsenault, Duncan Barber, Shane McConkey, Erik Roner, Liz Daley, Sarah Burke, Andreas Fransson & JP Auclair, Kees Brenninkmeyer and Clair Dixon, Arne Backstrom, Jaime Pierre, Jim Jack, Doug Coombs, Jack Hannon, C.R. Johnson, and unfortunately the list goes on. To everyone still here, play safe and shred some pow for those who are shredding in another dimension.

Watch for some quality Duncan Barber clips hiding in this Gaper Day classic.

Closing Thought

Aside from Gaper Day’s unstoppable auto-pilot trajectory to global domination, there’s another metric I use to gauge Doglotion’s success. Fairly frequently in recent years I’ve received calls from ex-pro skiers who I haven’t heard from in a while. The one thing they have in common is they’ve all be featured on Doglotion.com sometime in past. And they all have the same shy tone and embarrassing request…

“Jamie, do you mind removing my interview from the internet? It’s the first thing that comes up when you google my name, and damn does it ever make me look like an unemployable loose cannon.”

And that, my friends, is how we know we’ve done good. 

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