Profile: Eliel Hindert is on the shortlist for new-age big-mountain contests
HOMETOWN: Brighton, UT
SPONSORS: Surface, Joystick, Patagonia, Smith, Dalbello, Whistler Blackcomb, Drift Cameras
ON FILM: Part Time_PYP, En Route: Ccamp BC_Nimbus, Valhalla_Sweetgrass [2013 release]
Interview by Shay Williams. Photos by Adam Clark—Alta, UT.
Flying under the radar for the past few seasons, BC-transplant Eliel Hindert has recently been making a name for himself. His mountaineering background has him squarely in front of Sweetgrass lenses, and his cliff-dropping and backcountry trickery put him on the shortlist for new-age big-mountain contests. Polite and mild-mannered, Eliel prefers to ski rather than talk about it. And once you’ve seen him ski in his own way, how can you blame him?
How would you describe yourself to people who might not know you? At the end of the day, as someone who really loves skiing, every day just going out to have as much fun as possible. That’s why I guess I’m less known because I’ve always been less oriented to filming or photos but rather to having as much fun as possible and seeing where that takes me. I want to be known as someone who goes out and has as much fun and spreads the joy that is skiing with as many people as possible.
You’re from Utah. What made you go up to BC? Utah isn’t bad. It was definitely all time growing up in Utah, but it ended up being—I had the opportunity to go to university and had to make the decision to go anywhere but Utah. So I ended up choosing the next best place in the world to go shred, which was Whistler. The closest university is UBC, and I’ve been here ever since.
How long have you been in BC? Five years now. And I’m going to work my butt off so it’s the rest of my life.
I heard your dad used to take you on these multiday mountaineering trips as a kid? [laughs] My dad has had me in the mountains since I was a young, young kid. He had me doing multiday missions since I was like two years old. At six years old, I spent my entire summer in Europe hitchhiking. I’d be in these huts in the high Alps, this 12-year-old with all these stinky, old Frenchmen. Every spring and summer break, he’d find another way to get me up a peak or on some other adventure.
That’s not a normal childhood. But it is probably paying off now. Oh, it definitely paid off. I was loving it. I got to meet amazing people and see a different side of things. It’s given me a different perspective on skiing from most. Even now in the summers, I try and spend them in the mountains, like working for Exum Mountain Guides in Jackson. And that’s where I find I’m the happiest, in the mountains.
How did you get involved with Sweetgrass? I knew those boys through Utah, in passing. My good buddy Carston Oliver put in a word for me. I managed to go down to South America with them for two weeks and got absolutely dumped on. From there I’ve kind of been in with the crew and been fortunate enough to get invites. This past year, it was a little closer to home than South America. I spent eight weeks with them in Nelson. They are into exactly what I’m into: getting up way too early and staying out way too late and filming in these remote places.
Do you see yourself doing even more mountaineering? Pretty much everything I do, filming-wise, I see as more backcountry or mountaineering.
Mountaineering folk seem to have a specific skiing style, but you’re hitting the big drops and hand dragging off everything. A lot of mountaineering guys—it’s awesome to see the technical lines they do and the situations they get into—but I’m not looking for lines like that. Personally, my taste is to look for what’s going to be the most fun down. And I let that dictate where I go on the way up. The going up is definitely fun. Don’t get me wrong. And I’m very grateful for my mountaineering background, but at the end of the day, it’s about the down.
Do you want to get more into events like Red Bull Cold Rush and the Swatch Skiers Cup? Absolutely. I got an invite to the Red Bull Linecatcher, but unfortunately that got canceled. The Swatch Skiers Cup and Cold Rush are on the top of my list as far as comps I want to do.
I think Red Bull, especially, has done a great job putting those events together and really allowed more of a surf-style feel. I see the industry going towards more of a photo/video-style, too. Last year we had Eye of the Condor, and I’ve taken part in the Deep Winter photo challenge and the Salt Lake Shootout, all these comps where you can go away for a couple days and put together a photo portfolio or edit and be in your element, rather than the run, run, run format.