The Sherpas Return to Mica
The Sherpas first major project at Mica Heliskiing near Revelstoke BC took place three years ago when the heli ski operation was looking to film a promo video that would tell the story of the budding business, located in the heart of the Canadian Rocky, Monashee and Selkirk Mountains. For one week they feasted their eyes on a dreamscape of ski terrain and classic rocky mountain vistas. The result was a twenty three minute episode of epic powder shredding entitled the “Balance of Powder” that featured both Mica and sister company Island Lake Lodge, and a significant segment for All.I.Can. The Balance of Powder project went so well that the campaign was awarded Marketing Campaign of the year from the Kootenay Rockies Tourism board this past fall.
Since then, a trip to the powdery peaks and deep valleys of Mica have been a distinctive memory. “Mica has actually been very instrumental in the creation of the Sherpas.” Says Dave Mossop. “ I had my first big filming gig up here when I was 23” The trip Dave is referring to was an assignment he was on filming athlete Sverre Lillequist, who ended up skiing a line that then went on to win Powder Awards line of the year in 2003. “It was very inspirational.”
Alas, this January when Mica President Paul Norrie graciously invited the three Sherpas founders to come out and explore of Mica’s newly expanded heli ski tenure they gladly accepted.
The early season trip turned into a blizzard of ideas, as the Sherpas dove deep into the nooks and crannies of Mica’s terrain. Creative synapses were firing on all levels and they knew that before long they would be back. “It’s easy to be inspired by mountains like this and having the opportunity to collaborate with great minds in a great setting. It was a wonderful opportunity to come back to Mica earlier this year.” Says Dave Mossop.
Putting some of the creative dreams that evolved on their early season trip into action the team has returned this past week to work on a production for The North Face. Last week Eric Crosland, Leo Hoorn and Dave Mossop embedded themselves at a camp in the heart of Mica’s huge tenure with big mountain snowboarding star Lucas Debari, recent Olympic Gold Medallist- Kaitlyn Farrington, and shredding machine Johnny Collinson. They snow camped for five days while ski touring and exploring some of Mica’s most coveted terrain.
Both Johnny and Lucas have ample big mountain and backcountry experience- but this was Kaitlyn’s first taste of being fully immersed in the backcountry and filming big mountain lines on her snowboard. “It has been really cool to be out here and cut off from everything after such a crazy few months” said Kaitlyn, referring to the post-Olympic chaos that has had her globetrotting since the donning her gold medal from the Women’s halfpipe event in Sochi a month ago.
“This is all new to me, but Johnny and Lucas have been really helpful choosing lines and teaching me camping tricks like keeping my boot liners in my sleeping bag so they don’t freeze” She noted that shortly after this trip she will be on her way to meet the US President, but for time being she is stoked to be focused on building her confidence in the backcountry “I have been hitting some of the steepest lines of my life out here.”
Daily transmissions from the field reported nothing but great camaraderie around camp and successful shredding of aesthetic and challenging lines by all. After slaying one of Mica’s famous pillow spine features called Mr. Wiggles Lucas Debari remarked, “I am just blown away by the whole scene up here”. Sherpas Cinematographer Leo Hoorn relayed his take on the shoot “Everywhere you looked there were options for filming. We hit so many zones right near camp that we would usually spend all day sledding or skiing into. It is amazing how much awesome terrain there is right here”.
A variable snowpack in the Rockies this season proved to be a challenging factor, but they managed the risk and got great shots regardless. Mossop attributed this to being fully embedded in the backcountry environment. “It’s odd how a lot of your greatest shots don’t come when you think they will. So being stationed in the backcountry camping gives you so much more time to capture unpredictable moments.”