Rossland-born, Whistler-based skier James Heim has shot with Matchstick Productions since 2007’s Seven Sunny Days. He’s usually on the road filming for most of the winter, but this year he hit a zone close to home for his best day of the season.
As told to Heather Hansman
We went sledding that day in between Pemberton and Whistler, B.C. You can pretty much go anywhere in there and find good skiing, but it depends on the snow. We went to this spot that has cool old growth forest and pretty easy access, but it’s low elevation, so a lot of the time it doesn’t get much snow.
Here in the Coast Range we tend to get wet snow in the valley, and the dry stuff in the alpine. The lower elevation trees often don’t get much. This spot is really fun, it’s a cool zone with lots of pillows, but it’s only good a handful of days. I’ve had a snowmobile for probably eight years now, so I’d been in there a few times and so had the other guys. It was myself, KC Deane, and Mason Mashon, who was shooting videos and photos.
It ended up being the deepest day of the season. We got 50 centimeters overnight. They were only calling for 15, but it was snowing hard when we got up, so we said, “It’s cold, lets just go.” There were 20 centimeters on the ground where we parked the trucks, and was we went further and further in it got so deep. It was before Christmas, and it’s usually not snowing as much then, or if it does it’s followed by rain, but it ended up being so deep. My girlfriend was at the resort and she said the old guys were talking about how it was one of the best days in years.
So many days the snow will be a little bit different or not as good, but that day it was so deep and that cold. We got seven or eight runs each. We ended up going to one zone and posting up because it got really deep as we got higher. It was almost too deep. I was breaking trail and I blew the belt on my sled, and people kept getting stuck so we decided we should probably cut our losses and post up in this pillow zone. It was a good call.
We almost didn’t make it. KC’s sled busted right out of the parking lot. We thought the day was ruined, and we were kicking ourselves for not going to the resort, because we knew it was going to be really good, but we put our heads down made his sled work enough to get in there. It worked, his sled just barely made it out and back.
I spent the whole winter in B.C. this year, which I don’t usually do. Whistler was super consistent. It’s a really nice home base; we had people staying with us all the time. I was in Golden and Chatter Creek, then I went to Terrace with Field Productions and did a big camping trip with Matchstick north of Pemberton, but this was definitely my deepest day of the season, that always stands out.
To have a good day I think timing is really huge. Like it can be a really good day, but the resort is busy, or on snowmobiling days like that you can go out and not ski because you get stuck. There are aspects that can get sideways, but sometimes those days just work out.