Catching up with Parker White re: X Games Real Ski Backcountry and more
Parker White’s been on something of a roll lately. He nabbed the closing segment in last year’s Level 1 flick “Sunny,” picked up third place in the inaugural X Games Real Ski Backcountry contest and second place at Red Bull Linecatcher, and has been keeping busy shredding every imaginable kind of ski terrain from park and urban to big lines and backcountry booters. Freeskier caught up with this down-to-earth multi-talent to see what he’s been up to this season.
I read on Facebook that you got pulled over. What made this particular encounter with the law so unique?
I got a 1975 Honda CB400 motorcycle. It doesn’t have insurance, registration, front headlights or blinkers. Long story short, I got pulled over. The cop asked me my occupation and I told him I was a skier. He told me he’d kicked Toy Soldier Productions’ guys out of a few spots around town. But that he was also a huge fan of their films. Whatever they hit over on “Ellis” is apparently his favorite shot. Still wrote me a ticket though.
Congrats on winning 3rd in the X Games Real Ski contest. Did you think you’d ever end up with an X Games medal around your neck?
Thank you. To answer your question, no, I didn’t.
You were the only competitor to film almost your entire segment outside of North America. How did you end up in France?
I was just going to over there for Linecatcher and then planned to go to B.C. afterwards, but it got warm in B.C. So I just hung out, and Europe was good. Leo Taillefer, his homie Yann, and Raf Ragazzoni showed me around a bunch of spots. It was probably one of the best trips I have ever had, actually.
Does filming in Europe offer any advantages (or disadvantages) over filming in North America?
Disadvantage: Chez Bou Bou Genepi hangovers. [Genepi is a local specialty liqueur in the Savoy region of France, and Chez Bou Bou is the hangout in Les Arcs.] The advantages are lift access to zones, and a predominant 80’s “groomer exclusive” type skier who won’t track your shit.
You went to Nashville to edit your Real Ski segment and record the track for it. How was that?
We came up with it hunting this summer on the Missouri River. I stayed in way too nice of a hotel, went and saw live music every night. I actually gave a bum ten bucks ’cause he told me he just had brain surgery, and two nights later I caught him tripping on acid. We had a good-ass time.
What was that food you said you ate there?
Pulled pork on sweet potato pancakes. If that’s not Southern I don’t know what is.
2013 Real Ski Backcountry: Parker White
It was sick that you got second at Linecatcher. Was doing that event a break from your usual schedule? What was it like skiing and competing with guys like Sage, Richard Permin and Rory Bushfield?
Well, being at an event or a competition in general is pretty different for me. Every person who was in that contest, in my book, is cool as f#ck. Nobody was there to win. Not that I could tell anyways. That’s how it should be.
Had you been to Europe before?
Yeah, I went to Champery, Switzerland with Level 1 last year. When I was sixteen I came to France for a big air and rail jam to try and gain support for the Olympics. Kind of ironic.
Why is that ironic? Are you anti-Olympics?
It’s a little more complicated than anti- or pro-Olympics. It’s good for a lot of reasons, and it’s bad for a lot of reasons. It’s going to bring more attention, but the way that it will effectively shape park and halfpipe skiing is a bad thing. People will ski in a very specific way and it won’t be as free-minded or original.
Do you think there’s a chance for FIS to learn from the mistakes of the past?
No. I think that FIS thinks in a very specific way. Hopefully it will put our sport as a whole out to a larger crowd. Say that a million more people find out about freestyle skiing. Maybe fifty thousand of those will go out and buy a Level 1 video. It’ll indirectly benefit the sport, but directly, what it’ll do to the sports that it’s controlling is bad.
What’s your take on backcountry freestyle? You came up as a park skier, and now you’ve graduated to the level of an all-mountain shredder.
I started out skiing park, but the more and more I ski pow and mountains, that’s what I really like. I can still incorporate the park side into it, which is cool, but the more I shred pow the less I want to do anything else.
Do you think there will come a time when all you want to do is ski powder?
I think that’s kind of where I’m at right now.
How much harder is it to stomp a 720 off a cliff than on a park jump?
You have to think for yourself. When you’re skiing backcountry or urban, nothing’s perfect. It’s not like “Here’s the in-run, start here,” to a perfect-transition landing. You have to adapt to what’s there, instead of having features that are just given to you.
You had a lot of success last year. Do you feel that success?
It feels good to put a lot of effort into something and be rewarded for it. It makes you feel like what you’re doing is worthwhile. It’s cool to have that recognition and know that people see what you’re doing.
How’s the rest of your season shaping up?
Well, I [was in] Pemberton to heli ski with Bibby, T-Rains, Wiley, and Freedle. High Fives’ TRAiNS event… and now Sun Valley [with Level 1]. Then after that I have no idea.
From ski journalism and photography to terrain park construction and event organization, Ethan Stone has his fingers in many different pies. And they all taste good.