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VIMFF, Proud Lines in the Wadd, and Reggae – The Kye Petersen & Johnny “Foon” Chilton Interview

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On Thursday, November 24th, the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival is hosting its annual Ski Show.

A right of passage for the Vancouver city slicker getting hyped on the ski season, this year’s event is stacked with eclectic films and righteous speakers: Kye Petersen, Johnny “Foon” Chilton, and Jordan Manley to name a few.

Along with inspiring talks from these revered Coastal Mountain hardmen, the following films will be shown:

  • A Skier’s Journey (the Jordan Manley special)
  • In Search (a pedal-to-the-metal film featuring Kye Petersen with a beautiful trip to the Waddington range with the jackrabbit Matty Richard and the ski-mountaineering legend Foon)

The event will be happening at the Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver at 7:30pm. You can buy tickets to the show and the other upcoming VIMFF shows HERE!

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In the name of  juicy content, I exchanged a few words and thoughts with Kye Petersen and Johnny “Foon” Chilton. For those who live under a rock, Foon has been charging big lines in the Coastal Mountains of BC since before Kye or I were born.

He, Trevor Petersen, Eric Pehota and a few other usual suspects managed the ski a lot of the most noteworthy descents in The Coast Range before anyone had even heard of them.

And Kye needs no introduction. But it’s amazing to see how the older generation has influenced his approach to ski mountaineering.

Check out the goods below.

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Another clip from #In_Search…

A post shared by Kye Petersen (@kyepetersen) on

 

Why should people come see you at VIMFF this year?

Kye: They might want to come if they’re interested in hearing stories and seeing some pictures and videos from trips Foon and I have done together.

If you had one song that could define you as a person, what would it be?

Kye: Hmmm, thats a hard one. So many songs for different times… and not sure if there is a song to define me. I’ll say ‘Time’ by Don Carlos, haha.

Your recent video of the Tantalus encapsulated the zone perfectly. What other zones that you’re willing to talk about are your favourite?

Kye: I’m willing to talk about lots of my favourite areas, in a broad sense at least. I don’t like spoiling things though, leaving adventure and leaving the unknown unknown is important for people to experience now and hopefully for as long as it can last. Things like the Tantalus, Garibaldi area, Spearhead, the Waddington. Those are all big well known areas that are relatively in our backyard.

TANTALUS with Kye Petersen and Patagonia

Is social media ruining the mountain experience or making it more approachable?

Kye: I think social media can possibly make the mountains more approachable although I’m pessimistic about it. I like to see it used to share what we love but sometimes i feel too much gets shared. There is a lot of positive ways to use social media though such as to promote good causes that can improve peoples mountain experience and even make it safer. Social media can even be used to preserve land or keep a mountain experience enjoyable by spreading a message. It’s just crazy how easily people can just find out about something and follow behind others… Not as how to recon stuff in the backcountry these days and with that comes a progression but I think its important to have some places kept a mystery…

The other week I ran into Rupert Davies in Whistler and was chatting to him about that Tantalus trip. The main thing he said is “Those boys Pep and Kye are fucking crazy man. Cowboys”. Are you a cowboy?

Kye: Am I a cowboy? Haha, I wouldn’t say I’m a cowboy. That was Rupert’s first time being being out in bigger mountains with us riding lines and pushing hard with speed and exposure. It can seem a little wild at first but we were reading the snow well for the most part and pushing accordingly. Rupe’s been split boarding for a while but riding those really steep lines is kinda new to him. He rode a few lines with us though and was solid.

The man himself, with his signature handcrafted skis.

The man himself, with his signature handcrafted skis.

Johnny, I remember watching the InSearch movie last year and as a guy who’s grown up in Whistler felt pretty moved to see you shredding with Kye much like how you did back in the day with his dad. What did that trip mean to you, on that level?

Foon: Skiing that line with Kye was huge for me. Trevor and I were so psyched to shred big walls in the Waddington range, but never got the chance to. It’s like something has finally come full circle. It’s like there was this incomplete part to the picture and now it’s been filled in.

And on a less philosophical level, that line in the Wadd looked rad. What’s the secret to keeping it real all these years?

Foon: It’s easy. It’s just what I do, and I do it because I love it. It’s part of me and I can’t not do it.

I was walking down the beach in Hawaii with a good friend of mine a few days ago and he asked; “So, if this was part of Canada would you move here?” I didn’t even have to think about it, I said “no way, there’s no skiing”. I also really love to Mountain Bike and surf but eventually, if it’s all I could do, I would loose motivation. I’m always motivated to ski. Skiing is awesome!

I feel that. There are so many places in the world I’d love to live at but at the end of the day I need to be near the mountains. Why should people come listen to you at VIMFF this year?
Foon: A couple of reasons. What happened to Kye and I in the Waddington Range was amazing. Maybe the most amazing experience of my life (besides the birth of my own son). I find it difficult not to break down even now as I write this. There were plenty of reasons not to shred that line, but as I looked up and looked inward for ways to drop the fear and push forward I asked myself: What would Trevor do? Trevor would do it! He was so there. I really believe that I got my wish to shred a big wall line in the Waddington Range with my buddy Trevor and his son Kye, and that’s what my show is all about.

It’s my attempt to share that experience with everybody. The other reason is that the night of the show is opening day. Growing up in Whistler, maybe you remember some of the shows I used to give at the beginning of the season. We called them Psych Psyssions to get everyone all psyched up for the season. I’m hoping everyone will be psyched out of their minds to go skiing when they come out of the theatre.

Johnny

Johnny “Foon”, Jia Condon, and Peter Mattson leaving some of Trevor Petersen’s ashes on Mt. Waddington

Dude! I think I do remember those. So you make skis, Foon Skis. Why should people ski your skis? I figured the least I can do as a hard hitting journalist is plug your cool product.

Foon: Thanks for the plug, I’m going to give you several reasons.

  • Yellow cedar. The wood is harvested locally, so the economy of that resource stays here, the forest the wood comes from is protected by the BC forestry practices code, the wood has amazing flexural qualities for skiing, and there is something special about skiing on something that is literally a part of the natural energy of the Coast Mountains.
  • They are a better choice for the environment. All Foon Skis are now made with entropy resin a bio/plant based epoxy rather than the standard (cheaper) petrochemical based epoxies that almost all big market skis are made with. And they are produced right here, not made in and then shipped from a factory on the other side of the world. A factory, I might add, that is undoubtedly powered by burning coal.
  • They are great skis. Every pair is handmade, like an original piece of art. When you look at a beautiful piece of art it conveys something, a feeling. When you ride on artwork it’s the same thing, only way more intense because your actually interacting with it.
  • A custom pair of skis is built around you, the rider. All big market skis do to adjust for different sizes of riders is to change the length. That’s ridiculous, a smaller lighter rider needs a different flex, a different rocker profile, and that’s just a size consideration. You also need to consider where the person skis, how they ski. A custom ski is built specifically for you. Just like a custom surfboard is shaped for your size, style and the waves you ride on.

Thanks Foon. You can check out his skis here.

And finally, come by on November 24th to the VIMFF ski show. It’s going to be the best possible way to kick off the season on the day that the mountain opens! It’s game on folks.

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