Stop complaining about FIS, says PBP star Mike Henitiuk
I met Mike Henitiuk in 2008 during a sunset shoot at Momentum Ski Camps. I was told to watch him closely, ’cause he was smooth and went big—perfect for shooting. Once the sun went down, we started getting banger shots; one ended up being used for a Salomon poster.
It was a few years later that I hooked up with the PBP crew, shooting in the Whistler backcountry, and met up with Henitiuk again. This time, hitting a huge step down into a less than perfect landing. Heni was still stomping the landing between smoke breaks.
He’s always ripping around on his sled somewhere in the Whistler BC, scoping zones for the next PBP shoot. I bump into him once in a while, the most memorable of those encounters being the Kids Concept shoot on the Pemberton Ice Cap in July, 2011. “The Kids” had built a huge hit in a natural quarter pipe wall on the edge of a glacier. There were chicks in bikinis, shotguns, sleds, beers, helicopters… it was out of control.
This season I have been on the road with SFTV and Henitiuk for a couple of trips, working on skiing around ghost towns. It’s a cool concept, with lots of sick features for Henitiuk to jib, jump, ski through or over. He always impresses me. Fresh off the couch, he will nail almost everything first try. When the day is done, he can chill like no other, usually sleeping for 14 hours a night after a few casual beers.
Hometown: Whistler, B.C.
Sponsors: Dakine, Zeal Optics, Salomon, FRESH sports, Whistler Blackcomb
Machines: 2011 Ski-Doo E-TEC 154″ — 2004 Dodge 2500
Whats up with the The Kids? We’re making a four-year project… [laughs] No, we are planning some stuff that hopefully will take off next season. I’m really looking forward to working hard on this project.
You work with creative filmers, i.e. PBP, Salomon etc. What’s that experience like? Filming with PBP has obviously been a dream come true, growing up obsessed with these films and now being a part of it, I couldn’t be more happy. Also working with Switchback and Salomon has been a real’ cool experience the past few years—getting to travel to different places and working on unique projects. For example “The Burn.” I’m still blown away by how that video came out.
How has your skiing progressed over the years? I grew up competing in moguls, skiing a lot of rails and park. I feel that all the skills I learned doing that reflects my skiing today. Now I spend all my time riding the Whistler backcountry, and that is my true passion. Skiing powder and looking for unique features to hit, finding new zones and hangin’ with good people. I’m always having fun and you always ski your best when you love what your’re doing.
Describe your skiing style. I’m not out there to go do the craziest tricks, but I try to do more simple things in a smooth and relaxed way.
Any big crashes or injuries that changed your outlook on skiing? I compressed my C7 vertebrae a couple years ago. It definitely put a few things into perspective. One being, take a warm up run whenever you’re out shooting. Most of the time you’re in a rush to go to the biggest and best thing, but be smart and work your way up to it.
Future for you… and skiing’s future? I just want to keep doing what I’ve been doing the last few years: being out in the backcountry and exploring. Not too sure about skiing’s true future… but with the Olympics coming up I think it’s a great thing for the sport. People that constantly complain about FIS kind of pisses me off. I know they do some questionable things, but when it comes down to it, who cares? That’s just the way it is. Deal with it.
Fitness. What do you do to stay on top of your game, off the snow? I’m skiing almost all year long, which is awesome. But I found a new obsession over the last few years, and that’s surfing. It inspires me a lot, and I feel it has helped my skiing.
Favorite sled zone? Thats a tough one ’cause I don’t want to give it away. But I’ll go with the Pemby Ice Cap. It would take more than a lifetime to ski everything up there, it’s truly endless. If you get in on a blue day, you’re stoked!
Skiing objectives? Any “shining glory” you want to ski? There are a few lines that I dream about quite often. Most of them involving spines and pillows. I went on an exploring mission the other day with Riley Leboe and some others to check out this pillow zone we saw in the distance, outside a popular sled zone in Whistler. We drove for about an hour, sledded, and finally ski toured to the top of this thing. And there it was… in the sun, this amazing spine/pillow line just waiting for us to ski it. I really hope it works out and we’re droppin’ in to that bad boy by the end of this year.
Other places you want to travel to? B.C. is so good, I don’t ever feel the need to leave this place. But I had the opportunity to get over to Europe last year and it totally blew me away. Endless terrain all accessed by chairlifts. I need to get back there. My other place would be surfing the coast of Peru. One of the longest lefts in the world!
About the author:
Bryn Hughes is a senior photographer for Freeskier. He answers to Bryndiesel, Osama Brynladen or just plain Diesel. Shoots with Canon gear protected in F-stop packs. Visit www.brynhughes.com for more.