“Depth” Charge in Skiing

“Depth” Charge in Skiing

“I really appreciate what other athletes are doing in the sport right now, its just not me, its not who I am.” – Anthony Boronowski

These words stand out to me. Sitting in my cottage here in Maine. Not heat, no insulation in mid-October with winter temperatures quickly closing in. The cold is a positively killer feeling. Anthony Boronowski’s words are a much-needed warmth of compassion in an otherwise personally centered winter world. Matt Harvey’s interview of Anthony B. opened up a door in my mind. As a ski media are we doing enough to show the pros as they are outside contractual obligations, backcountry sled trips and big purse competitions?
A year ago in Wakeboard magazine I read an article in which Shane Bonifay talked about how complicated the issue of AM vs. Pro exposure is. On one hand exposing the pros as they stand pays homage to years of hard work, precious experience and invaluable knowledge gained from failure and success. On the other hand exposing the Ams opens the door to a world of possibilities unseen by rank pros already into the groove of their developed style. Neither is a bad push forward, it just requires a balance. And it requires awareness. Awareness by pros, media and ams alike. Boronowkis words made me question my own awareness of this reality. Given the remoteness of the East how am I helping to respectfully provide an open avenue for those who paved the path and those determining a new path? How is the ski media in general meeting this breed of highly creative, traveled and multi-faceted people we call icons, pros or legends? Are we as photographers, filmers and writers doing enough?
To say that I’m an unbiased party would be false. Many times magazines, film companies and fellow photographers have provided exposure and a helping hand. With that said I’d respectfully say that I’m ecstatic to see the thoughtful approach Matt Harvey took towards delving into Anthony Boronowski’s personality. Years ago the artistic side of an athlete would be otherwise glossed over. Our attention so focused on the minute aspect of the skier as we see them, only as a skier. Ironic considering the inherent art that filled many years of backcountry booters and park runs. Boronowski’s art was a small piece; it was depth that caught my attention. I cringe to say it inspired me. Inspiration sounds so short lived, powerful but short-lived. The depth is captivating, not in a “Titantic” meets “Ghost” kind of way.. more in terms of a full circle. Comfortably, I feel that I could randomly meet Anthony on the street and have SOME idea of what makes him tick. That’s depth kids. And that’s all I can ask of any type of media provided profile. Strive for this in your photography, your filmmaking and your conversations. When you master exploring this “depth” it will open doors to a world of stories. Stories that dive into a world of, “You thought you knew but you had no idea.” I digress.
Originally the questions I posed above are fundamental to any industry media. The world of winter sports breaches an entirely new challenge however, the increasing world of am media coverage. Such a volume of amateur film and photography is otherwise unseen in football, baseball, soccer or ..pause.. “Geeeet’r DONE! Nascar. With this volume and energy in coverage as soon as something is new its old today. What will never get old is the constant mixture of amateur athletes and amateur media with pro athletes and pro media. Lines between these categories are gray, determining where we stand is often approached from a position of support. I’m going to say it, “sponsorship” Many bar and industry arguments have been fought over “core” athletes, selling out or the lame/coolness of sponsorship. I won’t set off this 1000lb gorilla but I will ask that we all consider our role within the exposure process. Where do your values stand? If you don’t stand for something you fall for everything. Where do you fall? How are you providing for a community that is at once so singular while also so dependent on teamwork? Make no mistake we must all pay our dues to get where we want to go. The dues we choose to pay are more pivotal than the ones we have to pay though.
In a few short paragraphs I’ve raised the issues of exposure, community, earned experiential opportunities and media responsibility. Tying this entire post up into one tight little package would be poetically nauseating. Ultimately I request that we say to ourselves at the beginning of each day, “How am I exploring the world of another skier?” Answer this for yourself and run with the result. Am, pro, photog or filmer we’re all at the mercy of water, cold and air. Isn’t that enough of a common thread?

In closing I propose this for skiers and media alike:
Inform and foster Ams. Support the vision of seasoned pros. Hold everyone to a higher standard of personal depth.

Drop Cliffs Not Bombs.

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