Interview: Mike Rogge

Erme Catino is one of the original skiers to film with East Coast film company, Meathead Films. An O-G of sorts, Erme is now a graduate student at Green Mountain College studying Environmental Studies. A skier through and through, his thesis is on ski resort sustainability.

This past winter, Erme and cinematographer Nathan Steinbauer, with support from SkiTheEast.net, Rossignol, and Trew Gear, set out to film the often undocumented East Coast backcountry, focusing primarily on skiing power lines. Powder Magazine caught up with Erme for a quick interview after the release of the season finale of Electric Slides.

When did the idea for Electric Slides pop into your head?
Initially the idea evolved two winters ago when my wife thought MHF (Meathead Films) should do another documentary with the focus on road side skiable lines. Chris James (Rooster) and I used to always scout lines driving to the mountain, so this past summer when thinking of ways to help generate content for Ski The East, this backcountry web series seemed like the perfect way to make us try and ski some of these lines. Our friends Andy and Will do a rad job with Traveling Circus, so we figured a backcountry approach to this idea would be super fun.

The focus of Electric Slides is centered on skiing power lines. How do you scout the lines?
At first I got some maps and started circling where the utility lines were. Then we would drive by them to see if they were buffed or check out the topo’s to see if they were steep enough. It was a learning process for sure, since one of the ones we thought would be sick, ended up being super flat. I feel like we got a handle on some of the ones we want to ski for next year so we’re pumped.

What’s one thing most skiers don’t know about the East Coast backcountry?
Haha, this a good one. Well for firsts, it can be pretty sick if we’re having a decent winter. Most people think it is always icy, and sometimes it can be, but we ski on our powder boards a lot. If it’s good, we can harvest pow from resort side-country to random locations throughout Vermont, the problem is the rain….. Also, you really have to work for stashes… it’s funny because it is a total scene, Powder’s ’09 article, “Snip and Duck” was just a taste of it.

What’s your affiliation with the Meatheads?
We were all buddies from UVM, so we go way back. The early Meathead days were hilarious…ditching classes on pow days, screwing around, learning the bc scene at Stowe, and basically just being college dudes who wanted to ski. I skied in a few of the flicks (Elevated, Schooled, Born from Ice, Epoch), which was a blast and I’m stoked for how well things have been going for them.

What’s your favorite episode of the first season?
I think Episode 2 was my favorite. We got some classic Mt. Mansfield footage for that episode and had an awesome day on Mount Washington – all of us were looking forward to opening it up in some lines with no trees in the way. The low snow year was tough and we thought of bringing back the ski sacrifice like in Snow Gods!

Will E-Slides be back for a Season 2?
Oh yeah…We are really psyched for it! I think we did a good job this winter despite the lack of snow and also figuring out the vibe and feel of the web series. Having one season under the belts is good since now we know what we’re looking for – hopefully we get some big dumps next season so we can hit the lines we had to put on the backburner this winter. Big thanks to Nate for his awesome cinematography and to Geoff and Chris for supporting this idea. Also thanks to Rossi and Trew for hooking it up big time!