Season Recap: Tim Durtschi

Interview by Mike Rogge
Photos courtesy of Tim Durtschi

Hey Tim, how’s it going?
It’s going great right now, I am currently at the new Saga office helping ship out the summer line. I am also putting the finishing touches on my pro model Saga Jacket coming out next fall. After that, I head up to Alyeska June 7th for their summer camp. Going to take a break from Windell’s, It is getting crazy at Hood, which is great, but I am excited to go up to AK where things are a bit more mellow. The camp at Alyeska is only 2 sessions and mostly local kids. I grew up going to the camp so it is a great feeling going back there as a coach.

How’d your season go?
This season was a bit rough for me. I hurt my ankle early season in Whistler and had to tape it every day I skied from there on out. I chose to go to France for the Linecatcher, even though my ankle was still a little sore. I showed my ankle to JP [Auclair]and Julien [Regnier] and decided to take some time off. They were like, “What are you thinking skiing on that thing!?” When I got back to the States, I got an MRI and found out that I really jacked some stuff up in there and probably shouldn’t have skied on it in France. It was just to hard to give up that chance to go to France, and it didn’t help that when I taped my ankle and shoved it in my ski boot, it acted as a cast that made it feel skiable to me. Bottom line was JP and Julien are wise, I am 24, they are in their 30’s, and there’s a reason they are still crushing it. It was a real eye opener hearing their input and advice about longevity in this sport. Staying healthy and managing risk are two things I got a nice lesson on this season. I cannot thank JP and Julien enough for sharing their skills with me. Once I was back in the States, I took February off and then went straight to Chad’s gap where I got knocked out and got a full spinal MRI…

That’s you slamming into the tree towards the end of the Revolver teaser. Nick Martini said it was the gnarliest crash he’d ever seen and was surprised you didn’t get seriously injured. What happened?

I built that log [jib] with Martini early season and its still funny because Martini was wearing a Back protector and we were talking about it before the session. Man, I wish I had mine on. That was the worst feeling ever. I was really luck that I rotated around the tree instead of a dead impact. The crazy thing was that I walked out of there, had some serious back pain, but I didn’t go to the doctor and decided to just rest for a week and then was back to skiing because Mt. Baker got some November powder. I’m terrible at sitting around when it is snowing. …Back to the MRI that I got after my crash at Chad’s Gap. The doctor says to me, “So your back looks fine. You have two cracked vertebrate but they are already healed. Did you have a back injury in the past 6 months?” Haha, I thought for like 1 second and was like “Yes.” I found out that I ended up breaking my back on that stupid tree jib with Martini! It wasn’t a big deal because the doctor said those vertebrate heal by themselves but its obvious I was shredding Baker pow unknowingly with a broken back…. man, this was just more incentive to take JP and Julien’s advice!

What were your thoughts on winning Best Jib at the Powder Video Awards last year? How do you feel your tree-rodeo compares against the 270 onto the Ogden rail that Tom Wallisch was nominated for?

Getting my name called for 2/3 of my nominations last year was the best feeling ever. I was up against some amazing nominations in the Best Jib Category. Tom’s 270 onto the Ogden rail was ridiculous and Will Wesson’s bike jib was awesome as well. The tree rodeo was a very spontaneous trick that I had no intentions of doing before the session started. It was not until I crashed and was sent into a flip that I realized “Hey, I can maybe land that!” I used to ski hand rails a lot back in my Rage Films days so I know what it’s like sliding 5 and 6 kink rails, but as far as spinning onto them, I was never on that level.

Last year you were seen double flipping Pyramid Gap in the closing segment of Everyday is a Saturday. This year, the Internet was buzzing about your double flip at Chad’s Gap. What went down? When did you get the idea to hit a gap that has lain to waste some of skiing’s brightest stars?
I got a call from Poor Boyz filmer Steve Rozendall and he told me Mike Wilson was building the gap and wondered if I wanted to come out and be a part of it. I did Pyramid the season before with Steve so it was a nice reunion. I went there with the goal to double cork it. I landed a pretty good double cork 1080, kept hitting the gap and ended up coming up a bit short and getting a concussion. I probably should have been happy with the double cork I landed. The shot is going to be in Revolver, so it was a successful shoot.

I hear you ventured up to Alaska this year. How was your experience in AK? Who did you go with?
Alaska was amazing. We got good weather and good snow, good guides. I went with Pep [Fujas], Julien [Regnier], JP [Auclair], and Dane Tudor.

Some ski videos make it out like you have to be able to hang with the big boys up in AK. I never felt that way with the Poor Boyz crew. Nobody makes decisions for you up there and no one is pressuring you. I have a lot of things I want to do up there and having guys like Pep, JP, and Julien was the best thing I could ask for. My goals are just to take the terrain and really use it the way I want to. If I could ride switch all the time I would, as it’s the most fun way to mix up backcountry riding. Some of my best shots this year happened in AK, and every time I go up there I love it more and more.

Is there someone that stood out this season while you were filming with PBP?
While I was in France, Poor Boyz started filming this kid Bene Mayr. He was super eager to build some jumps and shoot with Poor Boyz. He reminded me of how stoked I was when I first got the opportunity to film with PBP. He’ll have some amazing shots in Revolver and the best part is he is working hard to get them.

I see you also got down on a few park shoots. Seems like last season you were trying to avoid parks. Did you have a change of heart towards terrain parks? How’d the park sessions go?
I did the Poor Boyz Park shoot at Bachelor. It was a good time, I did a double cork on a park jump, and it went well! I love park jumps. They’re fun but they don’t do much for my film segment with the way I like to show my skiing. I’ve had a little taste of everything and love watching all types of skiing. I feel like I’ve settled into the type of skiing that I truly want to be doing.

And to round it out, you’re a frequent contributor to the Saga Outerwear blog. What’s more difficult; throwing dubs flips in the backcountry or using proper grammar on the Internet?
Spell check helps. I love blogging and if you frequently check the blog, thank you! I am going to be blogging a bunch about the summer camp in Alaska, and also try and do a Durtschi Diaries on my experience up there.

Season Recap: Tim Durtschi Gallery