Planes, Sleds and Pow – Chris Rubens Vs Climate Change
We just watched Salomon’s The Curve of Time, and after we got over the weirdness of Greg Hill and Chris Rubens sending their future selves love letter videos, we got really into it. What a film. The Curve Of Time drops right in on the very relevant debate of how we skiers can continue to quench our thirst for powdery adventures without killing the chances of our kids and grand kids being able to do the same. But even a kick-ass Jordan Manley film can’t tell the whole story, so we internet stalked Chris Rubens for some more dirt on the subject.
Doglotion: Rubens, first up, that film kicked ass. Very cool project. Now enough of the compliments, who’s idea was it to send creepy video time capsules to yourselves, and will you and Greg actually watch them in 35 years?
Chris: Hahaha… well the movie started as a self propelled traverse in the Southern Monashees with the idea of it being a response to last years movie “Guilt Trip”. To show the changes that we have experienced since making the movie. Jordan Manley was on board to shoot the trip, but we unfortunately didn’t nail conditions or weather on the traverse. The Electric Volcano part of the movie was Greg’s idea and originally had nothing to do with the movie, but the trip was quite successful and ended up being a perfect fit for the movie. There was a lot of back and forth between Jordan, Greg and myself over the next couple of months talking and sharing our experiences and thoughts on the changes being made. Jordan went deep down the rabbit hole and came out with this awesome masterpiece, I think he did an incredible job of showcasing Greg and I’s thoughts, showing the reality of the situation but also putting a positive spin on the fact that we can do something to make it better.
Doglotion: Now that you’ve pulled off an epic winter with half the carbon emissions of your past winters, are you going to stick with the program, or are you gonna get hit with a rebound and slide down a spiral of despair until you’re pumping CO2 into the air like you just don’t care? Or maybe half it again next year?
Chris: Well we have joked quite a bit about making the next movie called Burn It If You Got It, but to be honest I really like the changes that I’m making and it feels good to try to be part of the solution. I’m certainly far from perfect, I still drive a huge truck with a snowmobile on the back but I am using them far less than ever before. It would be very hard to half our footprint again. Just changing the diet is so major and relatively easy to do. I haven’t had a flight yet this year but I’m headed to Himalayas soon. My justification other than the fact that I really want to go see that part of the world, is I’m planning on staying there for 2 months, make the carbon I burn on the way over really count, or so goes the theory. I’m not exactly sure where it will all end but the journey is far from over.
Doglotion: What was the hardest adjustment this season? Ditching the sled? Scooting around in that little EV? Or having to tent with Greg?
Chris: For me its the sled and truck that I struggle with the most. I really don’t spend much time sled skiing anymore, it is almost always just using the sled to go ski touring. But it is still using it. Sleds give you incredible access to the mountains of British Columbia, and I honestly have a hard time thinking about my life without one. Just this year though a company out of Canada has come out with an electric sled, so hopefully I can start moving down that direction. I have been saying no to heli trips and trying to keep my flying to a minimum. It is saying no to some awesome opportunities but it also creates amazing opportunities at home.
Doglotion: Ya we saw some teasers for a new fully electric sled. What do you reckon, freedom pony of the future or just hype that won’t work? It’d certainly help your cause here wouldn’t it.
Chris: Yah we got to test drive it last winter in Revelstoke. The thing is badass, I think right now it has its limitations but those will change. To me for a ski hill it would be a no brainer, out in the mountains, it might still need a bit of work. That being said, I mainly use my sled for access down logging roads so it is something that I’m looking into. Turns out we might get to try the latest edition in the next couple of days. Stoked to check it out.
Doglotion: Did this project inspire you and instil some hope that we skiers can continue our first world epic adventures while still saving the planet? Or we all just a bunch of hedonistic flakes until we sell everything we own and find a way to eliminate world hunger?
Chris: Hahaha… I guess that is kinda of the million dollar question. Without a doubt I think we will have to make some changes to the amount we do things. To me what is important now is changing our mindset. Its not wither or not you go on a trip or vacation, its realizing that by doing so, there is an impact. All humans are different and we justify things in different ways, something that we could argue about forever but what I think is important is realizing that our actions do have an impact and it should be something that we think about instead of just time and money. When we as individuals make that shift we can force governments and corporations to make those shifts to and force real change. I think that the individual has an incredible amount of power when it comes to this issue.
Doglotion: That’s a kick-ass answer. Well said Chris. Any other stand out learnings from the project, or changes that totally trump the other efforts?
Chris: Two things stand out to me, when you start down this rabbit hole it can get quite dark and depressing. The problem is so large it seems insurmountable and doing anything seems like a lost cause. What I found is starting to make little changes felt really good and empowering, it made me more positive on the subject and made me want to do more. Also by actually making changes you can easily influence friends to do the same. I’m seeing a big shift in thinking in Revelstoke, I don’t think this is just because of Greg and I but every little bit helps.
The other thing is moderation. Take diet for example: Greg is on the weekday veggie diet, and can eat meat on the weekends, making it more of a special occasion. If everyone adopted that philosophy our world would be much happier place and we could all still eat meat, just much less of it.
Doglotion: Between you and Greg, who has a bigger… um… carbon footprint?
Chris: That is a really good question, I think it really depends on the year. We make a living being professional skiers so there are some trips that have to be done to keep your job. A couple flights a year can add so much to your carbon footprint that it is hard to recover the credits.
Doglotion: Those damn airplanes eh. Lastly, who’s better looking, you, or future Rubens?
Chris: Well my friend, I’m like a fine wine, just getting better with time. Also all this walking is certainly putting me into great shape.
Doglotion: Wait we thought you said Hoji was the fine wine? Well you can both claim it. Any thanks or shout outs?
Chris: Big Thanks to Salomon for making this happen and all my sponsors: Salomon, See Revelstoke, Revelstoke, Dissent, Kask, Hyperlite Mountain Gear, Pomona.
And thanks to Doglotion for sharing the love.