AS SEEN IN THE DECEMBER 2011 ISSUE OF FREESKIER
WORDS & INTERVIEW BY LEAH FIELDING
Photo (above): GRESZKO
WHILE MOST SKIERS TRY TO CONVINCE SOMEONE TO COME FILM THEM, ANDREW WHITEFORD HAS BECOME A WELL KNOW MEMBER OF THE JACKSON HOLE CLAN WHILE MOSTLY JUST FILMING HIMSELF. HIS HIGH-QUALITY GOPRO EDITS, SHARED ON VIMEO AND PASSED ON THROUGH WEBSITES INCLUDING UNOFFICIALNETWORKS.COM, TETONGRAVITY.COM AND OF COURSE FREESKIER.COM, HAVE BECOME MUST-VIEW VIDEOS. ONE OF HIS EDITS HAS BEEN VIEWED 86,000 TIMES, WHILE ANOTHER LOGGED NEARLY 77,000 VIEWS. MEET THE MAN BEHIND, AND IN FRONT OF, THE CAMERA.
WHAT’S A DAY SHOOTING YOUR OWN SEGMENT LIKE? When the film crew consists of a little camera on the top of your head and your shred friends, you really never have to pause and you can film much more efficiently. Most of my ski day is dictated by where the best conditions will be found because first and foremost, I want to ski pow. I want to ski lines in a manner that will convey the fun I had when someone who wasn’t there views it. Ripping an untracked bowl is cool, but I look for other elements to provide context for my runs like rocks, trees or abnormal terrain that make a shot interesting.
P: Wade McKoy_Focus Productions — Jackson Hole, WY
BRASS TACKS, SOMETIMES POV VIDEOS REALLY HIDE SHORTCOMINGS. ARE YOU WORTHY OF ALL THESE VIEWS? Good call out! First off, any filming and editing provides the opportunity to cover up mistakes. While my POV edits don’t allow you to see 100-percent of what’s going on, you’ve got enough information to know when I’m dialed versus not completely on it: feet forward in the frame indicating I’m in the backseat or when I roll down the windows. My goal has always been to share the energy of the best moments I have in the mountains, the times when you’re shaking and the only sound you can make manifests as a yell of excitement. I hope the number of views is an indicator that my goal was realized.
WHO IS ANDREW WHITEFORD? My family moved to western Massachusetts from Connecticut right around the time I began skiing, at age eight. I fell in love with the sport and took every opportunity to get out on my skis: after-school ski club, weekend racing programs in the Berkshires or building jumps off our porch roof. Looking back at it, pretty much everything in my life today can be traced back to my love of skiing.
WHEN DID YOU GET TO JACKSON? The second week of October 2006. We rolled into town eight deep. I had a fresh black eye and separated shoulder from a mountain bike crash dirt jumping in Salt Lake two days earlier. With a few connections, some smooth talking and a decent amount of luck, we found two homes to rent and jobs within a week. It doesn’t always flow that easily.
FAVORITE INBOUNDS LINE AT JACKSON? Oof, that’s a tough one. Corbet’s to Expert Chutes to Toilet Bowl to lower Thunder lift line to the Lower Faces comes to mind. Or a simple Rendezvous Bowl to the Hoback’s is a treat on a powder day. There are plenty of options and none of them are bad!
FAVORITE OUT-OF-BOUNDS SKIING? Wait, Jackson Hole has backcountry skiing? Between Teton Pass, sidecountry and the park (Grand Teton National Park), it’s easy to spend a lot of time outside the ropes—like, decades.
WHO DO YOU LOOK UP TO IN SKIING? McConkey, Morrison, Coombs and Hawks. McConkey taught people that skiing should always be fun, and I admired his billy-goat lines as much as his sense of humor. Morrison has done more jaw-dropping things on skis than I can count. Coombs’ style was something that I didn’t appreciate for a long time because he was so smooth, it all looked effortless. Ryan Hawks shared the characteristics of all three wrapped into one. Sporting a huge smile, eternally humble and endlessly enthusiastic, Ryan could ski circles around everyone—floating the sickest, smoothest backflips—and would be waiting at the bottom to ask you how your run was. I’ll always be looking up to Ryan.
WHAT’S IN THE WORKS FOR THIS SEASON? My aim is to put out some more refined web edits that combine a mix of GoPro footage and third-party filming. There’s a lot of coverage on the freestyle side of the sport, and I’d like to help increase exposure of the freeride aspect.
HOME MOUNTAIN: Jackson Hole, WY
BIRTHPLACE: Stamford, CT
SPONSORS: Line Skis, GoPro, Full Tilt, Smith Optics, Dakine, Orage, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
FILM: Storm Show Studios_Action Jackson, Meathead Films_Prime Cut