Interview by Mike Rogge
Hey Pep, how’s it going?
Hey Mike, things are great!
How was your season?
My season was great! I didn’t get a lot done in terms of filming this year, but what I did do I’m very satisfied with. I kicked off my season with a trip to India with Andy Mahre. It was a quick trip, approximately 9 days, to a place called Gulmarg. It was a hell of a trip. No snow, an unfortunate encounter with a rock left me with a huge bruise and hematoma on my back, great food and wonderful people made for a very memorable trip. I then spent most of my year in Alaska where I attended guide school in Haines followed by a couple of weeks filming with Poorboyz. The rest of the season I filmed with Nimbus, which is always fun!
You and the folks at K2 changed up the dimensions of your pro model this year. It’s now listed as 50% park and 50% powder. How’s that work? Are you satisfied with how it turned out?
I am more then satisfied with how it turned out. It’s a super playful ski. There’s enough rigidity for crud and less then optimal conditions. There’s enough rocker for powder and buttering off of jumps. And enough width for stability in all conditions. It’s truly a very versatile tool. The one ski quiver.
You made the move from park to powder a few years back though many skiers have said you could return to park at anytime and still dominate. Do you have any interest in park skiing and what are your thoughts on the current state of the park scene?
Yeah, I still have interest in all types of skiing but I choose to ride backcountry predominately. Park skiing is a lot of fun and with how creative park design has evolved, the ability to get creative on skis has increased as well. The current state of the park scene is absolute madness considering Sammy just pulled a switch triple last week. It’s incredibly impressive how quickly everything has progressed in park skiing but I am a bit scared it’s going to become another form of inverted aerials where participation is stunted due to the extreme difficulty of the maneuvers. I mean organic trick development is going to be a thing of the past. Kids will have to go to water ramp camp or foam pits to train where things will be come structured and defined. I give Sammy tons of credit because all of his tricks have been learned on snow and for that reason I’m very happy he was the one who did the first switch triple. Being a professional in the sport will become a bit less attainable for lower income families. I’m not sure if kids can look to these doubles and triples and say, “I could do that”! If they can, that’s amazing. That aside, I love watching park skiing and how creative people are getting with their tricks. It’s really fun to watch!
It’s been almost 4 years since the Nimbus crew release “Idea” with Eric iberg and Poor Boyz Productions. What’s changed? What’s the same? Is the idea for something different still alive in the Nimbus crew?
It’s a funny question for me at this time because the more I feel things change, the more they stay the same. Nimbus still has a unique feel that expresses the fun and enjoyment created by skiing while showcasing the environment therein. We are a group that focuses a lot on style and I think that is also conveyed. I feel like you can watch our movies and tell who is who just by each of our styles alone. As for something different, absolutely. Eric has a great mind for new things. I just got a sneak peak of the most recent webisode he created and I was thoroughly entertained the whole way through. Mark your calendar! It drops September the 15th on nimbusindependent.com for FREE!!!
What was the most rewarding trip of last season for you?
My trip to Alaska was pretty extensive and the most rewarding in many ways. I learned a great deal of invaluable backcountry skills during guide school (www.alaskaheliskiing.com for more info). I touched up on Terrain Analysis, Avalanche Awareness and snow pit analysis skills. Learned about Crevasse Rescue and was put in real life situations. Was taught Wilderness Advanced First Aid, which is more of a basic first aid course that deals with diagnosing injuries properly, deciding what to do and organizing rescues. Live situations were acted out daily. It was an eye opener in the sense that I realized I have been fairly ill prepared for a disastrous event to take place. I highly suggest taking this course or any other courses in your area. You can never possess too much knowledge in the backcountry. Educate yourself and your friends! Do beacon searches with your friends. Turn it into a game… like… you cant drink the keg until you can find it with your beacon. After the course I spent some time riding AK and had a couple very magical days!
Would you say it’s easier to learn tricks into fresh powder, more fun, or something else?
I guess it is a bit less intimidating learning a new trick into powder but it’s not necessarily easier. It is a bit more rewarding for me because there are only a limited amount of attempts before a landing zone is “bombed out”.
What’s one thing people don’t know about Eric Pollard? And don’t say he’s hard working or super stylie because we all know that.
He’s a great artist! Ok, everyone knows that too… (laughs) Well, I am a person, so if I know what I know about Eric then how am I supposed to know something I don’t know about Eric? Hmmm… He’s a really good ping-pong player and a bit of a bookworm. I think the last thing I saw him reading was on Egyptology.
Who’s the best surfer in the Nimbus crew? Tell us a surfing story.
I’d say Eric because he’s a surf nut and surf’s way more than Chris or I. OK. One surf story coming up. Disclaimer; don’t try this at home, it’s not a good idea. So Chris, his girlfriend, and I cruised down to Mexico this summer and met up with Sherry McConkey, Circe Wallace, Michelle Rhalves, Cody Townsend, Elyse Saugstaad, and Toshi. Every night the moon kept getting bigger and the topic of moonlight surfing came up. As the full moon approached a handful of us decided it was a must do before we die type of experience. So one evening before Chris, Kimmy and I drove back to the States a party night was in order, which coincidentally fell on the same night of the full moon. We went out to eat at a local authentico eatery where cervesas y margaritas flowed down our gullets willingly and quite frequently due to the company, great food and heat. After a couple of hours it was decided we needed to go to a disco and get our dance on. The disco was a bit dull when we got there but soon livened up with Toshi’s frequent whooping and the rest of our goofy dance moves helped ease the tension and get people moving. Soon there after it was also decided that Mexico would not be complete without a little Tequila. Well… make that a lot of tequila. Dancing and lively bantering ensued until about 2am when we then decided to head home for that moonlight surf session we planned on. We grabbed our boards and off we went, all getting in the water at different times and probably all having the same experience. I remember looking out and thinking, were all those rocks there before? It was the lowest tide we had seen on the whole trip. I must have hit a dozen rocks on the way out, not to mention my motor skills and balance were severely impaired. Miraculously, we all made it out to the break in one piece. I recall paddling into a handful of waves. The moon wasn’t high enough to shed light on the front side of the waves, which is paramount for seeing in such a situation. Out of nowhere you could barely make out a black line coming at you and then it was practically crashing. Needless to say I think we all went over the falls every time. Luckily the falls may have only been knee to chest high. Feeling defeated and realizing we were in peril we all chose to paddle in. Chris and I transported some sea urchins back to the room in various locations along with an overwhelming feeling of stupidity. We were all very lucky to come out alive!We’re running a series on Powder.com called The New Guy and almost every up-and-comer listed your segment from Session 1242 as their favorite or as the segment that influenced their skiing the most. Did you realize at the time how powerful that segment would come to be? What’s your favorite segment?
No I didn’t realize how powerful it was but I knew it would stand out at the time. As for a favorite segment, I don’t think I have one in mind that particularly stands out.
And finally, is the no-poles debate over?
I haven’t heard about it in ages but I’ve also been riding with poles. I really don’t think people care anymore. I see people riding with and without all the time and I think they are realizing the pros on cons of having them and not having them. Both ways of riding are fun and poles serve their purpose.
pep fujas’ part from the movie contrast