A Skier’s Journey, Shenanigans, and Deep Thoughts with Jordan Manley
Jordan Manley, the man, the myth, the legend… is back! Well he never went anywhere, but he’s back behind the video camera. The final season of A Skier’s Journey is dropping in a few days (October 4th), it’s been a long time coming, and we are ultra pumped to watch it when it lands. But to make sure it won’t be a waste of our time, and to find out some deep, dark secrets about globe-trotting kooks Chad Sayers and Forrest Koots, we hassled Jordan with this pre launch interrogation session.
Doglotion: Before we get into it… who has the hottest ski bunnies, Iran, China or the BC wilderness?
Jordan: No comment.
Doglotion: Boring, but fair enough. Who’s a better tent buddy, Forrest or Chad?
Jordan: Chad snores a little but on the whole they are both pretty good. We all like sleeping in.
Doglotion: Who spends more time naked in the winter backcountry, Forrest or Chad?
Jordan: I think I spent the most time naked. Those guys didn’t have as many glacier snow showers as I thought they could have. Forrest prefers the Goldbond.
Doglotion: How many officials did you have to bribe to not arrest Chad along your journey?
Jordan: No bribes, but we got to know a particular police officer pretty well in Northern China. We were waiting all day for avalanches to be cleared from the road with him and other locals. He was pretty liberal showing us his gun, and showing us videos of himself competitive dancing on his iPhone.
Doglotion: ‘Showing you his gun’ eh. Sounds kinky. Well down to business, your several year hiatus from A Skier’s Journey was more than just a break from ski films. You smacked your head and had some serious recovery challenges to overcome before this comeback could happen. Does this web series mark the triumphant return of mastermind Jordan Manley in all his mental/physical health and glory?
Jordan: It doesn’t really feel like a comeback, although I guess it technically is. My filmmaking process has evolved, so the films will feel a bit different this time around. Coming back to ASJ doesn’t feel triumphant; it’s was more of a relief to get through the ski season in one piece. Recovering from post-concussion syndrome is something to be endured more than conquered, I feel like. And the result of that process is that I changed. One of the biggest changes is how I approach to risk now: how fast I ski, for example. I’m not the confident skier that I was, but I did really enjoy being back in the backcountry and climbing on the skin track.
Doglotion: Will the films touch on how those offline years impacted your Journey? Or is it more about Chad Sayer’s journey, or just the ‘skier’ at large?
Jordan: The films don’t reference the offline years. But the final episode is all about home. I spent a lot of time close to home in North Vancouver during my recovery, and getting to know the BC coast a lot better. The final film returns to BC and asks the question, “how do you know when you’re home?”
Doglotion: I’ve always admired your patience and ability to only do things ‘full-ass’, aka never ‘half-ass’. Even with a major concussion you’ve managed to wait until your game was ready for this final season. How do you do it? What’s the secret? Or will these films finally be half-ass? 😉
Jordan: Well, I have a book that I’ve been “working” on for half a decade or more — full ass would not describe that project. But you can’t do everything at once. I think being immersed, focused, and sometimes obsessive is ultimately beneficial for the end product.
Doglotion: Better yet, how do you even make a good film when you’re travelling with kooks like Chad Sayers and Forrest Coots?
Jordan: Forrest and Chad are really key to the whole production. At it’s core, ASJ is about skiing, and they breathe life into the films with their talents. They have different styles, but both are beautiful skiers. But on these kinds of trips we’re lucky if we ski half the days that we’re on the ground. Both because conditions are hit or miss but also because the films include a wider experience of travelling. Ultimately that means we spend a lot of time filming stuff that isn’t skiing. I’m confident saying there are few other pro skiers out there who would have the patience that the ASJ process requires.
Doglotion: Throwing it back from season 1 until now, you’ve hit Kashmir, La Grave, Freshfields, Iceland, Dubai, Japan, Argentina, Baffin, Shames, Iran, China and Homathko. You guys get around. If I said pick a favourite right now, it’d be…
Jordan: Our last trip over the Homathko Icefield was one of the best I’ve ever been on. Ironically, I hardly did any skiing but we covered a huge amount of beautiful terrain, it was an example of the places skis can take you. Japan and La Grave are the places that make me most excited about skiing, though.
Doglotion: Our trip to Baffin is vividly engrained in my memory from now until the end of days. It was that otherworldly and epic. Have they all been like that? Is your bucket list full?
Jordan: Baffin stands out as the most amazing landscape of all the locations we’ve visited. I can’t think that there is anything more otherworldly out there. I think we should start saving our pennies and plan to go back, eh Doglotion?
Doglotion: Oh hell yes. Tell me when to book my ticket. In other news, any illegitimate children conceived in these exotic locales?
Jordan: Chad has some unaccounted for hours in each country that you might want to ask him about.
Doglotion: I’ll let it be Chad’s secret. What do you want your audience to take away from this kick-ass film series of yours?
Jordan: I think mostly I just want people to enjoy watching them. There’s a lot of things to click on, scroll through, read, and watch these days, so I think if someone has positive experience and considers it time well spent, then missing accomplished.
WATCH Episode 1 of A Skier’s Journey: Final Season next week when it launches. Enjoy. Till then, here’s the trailer…