After 20 minutes of back and forth and a few cigarettes, we not only had permission to hit the sidecountry booter into its perfect powder landing, but we had snowmobile shuttles from the police—I mean ski patrol—for the afternoon. JP took us back to the 90s with some huge mute backflips, and Torin teed off on his first backcountry kicker. He started with a rodeo five, then a switch five, a switch nine and a smooth cork seven to top it off. Torin even clocked another first: his first tomahawk. Most of the time when someone rag dolls on a landing like Torin did, it puts a damper on the situation. This high speed end-over-end, after landing slightly forward on a cork seven, sent him all the way to the bottom of the landing, completing at least three, maybe four, tomahawks in the process. Afterwards, a stoked Torin skied up to me smiling and exclaimed, “That was my first tommy.” I guess that’s the benefit of being 16 and having the pliable body parts of a child.
Torin Yater-Wallace only hits backcountry kickers in Turkey with huge cornices in the background. No place else.
Torin Yater-Wallace could be JP Auclair’s son. I don’t mean he may actually be JP’s son, but that the age math would work out if, hypothetically, JP had doinked someone at the start of his pro ski career, the year after finishing high school.
“You are the guy from the 90s,” a random Turkish skier said to JP on the lift. “Yes,” JP smiled and acknowledged, not sure if the guy was throwing a subtle pro-hating jab, even at a resort in Turkey. JP is one of the forefathers of freeskiing. He helped pioneer skiing in the park and the cork 720. He slid the first urban handrail that I know of, at McGill University in Quebec, around 1998. Now 34, he spends a good part of his winter trekking around the Chamonix valley, skiing runs off the Aguille Du Midi with some of skiing’s best mountaineers. And in Turkey, he shredded park laps, hit backcountry kickers, hiked for powder turns and threw handplants on the mini QP. There isn’t much that JP can’t do on skis, and his easygoing personality makes him a go-to for trips like this.
JP Auclair’s career is really tailing off.
Planning on sliding a notched rail with a big drop out, Ahmet was beginning to shovel out an inrun and clear away snow from the deck of a hotel when the owner of the hotel came out to inquire about the strange foreign crew invading his deck. Hitting a rail at a slopeside hotel during the middle of the day at any ski resort in the world is going to be a problem. But following an amicable conversation, our guide told us the rail was good to go. A few minutes later a white-shirted, black-panted hotel employee came to the deck and helped us dig. He even brought us fresh Turkish tea. The rail wasn’t just a go, it was a welcome event. When the rail, painted the same blood red as the Turkish flag, was all set up, Ahmet went to town—straight up owning it. And Torin, the pipe jock, showed his versatility by crushing numerous tricks, most impressively a 270 on to 450 out. “I gotta say, I’m impressed with Torin,” admitted Ahmet. “He’s not what I thought at all.” Ahmet is hypercritical of all competition skiers, so coming from his mouth, any sort of endorsement towards a shredder like Torin is legit.
The gnarliest jib of the trip goes to Ahmet’s backcountry gap-to-wallride on an old military bunker. It was insane, and he was the only one who could figure out what to make of the tranny-finding mission. We all knew we could shoot something on it, but it took Ahmet’s never-cease-to-amaze creativity to really turn it into a photo-worthy ski feature.
Ahmet Dadali letting ‘er fly.
“That’s the most random crew of athletes that I have ever heard of,” Josh Berman of Level 1 Productions commented when I proposed the trip. But the group, on their first trip together, produced a perfect collision of varied ski genres in a place that matched the diverse crew. The group was assembled to mess with everyone involved, to get them out of their normal scene and see what happened. Remove Torin from the pipe, get JP out of the Chamonix backcountry and make Ahmet ditch his hardcore crew of urban shreds. Because—with almost two decades of age difference—they still all wake up in the morning, put skis on their feet and go to work. These athletes who banded together got an experience that they will never forget. And they put on a stunt show that confused but also elated the throngs of tourists who watched and cheered in their ridiculous, comedic, backwards and epic way.
*This article originally appeared in the Volume 15 November issue of FREESKIER. Subscribe to the magazine, or get it on the iTunes Newsstand.
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