“Our crews spent 6-months during the winter of 2016 following the most creative, talented, and hard working skiers in the business around the world in search of what makes them feel good, and the official for our 17th annual feature film will give you a taste of just that. Pleasure. World Premiere takes place in Denver, CO on September 10th with release on iTunes, Vimeo, DVD/BluRay, and all your other favorite platforms in October.” – Level 1’s Josh Berman
Featured athletes: Will Wesson, Sämi Ortlieb, Tanner Rainville, Wiley Miller, Laurent DeMartin, McRae Williams, KC Deane, Khai Krepela, Sandy Boville, Magnus Granér, Mitchell Brower, LJ Strenio, Josh Bibby, Rob Heule, Ben Smith, Ethan Swadburg, Shay Lee, Jonah Williams, Pär Peyben Hägglund, Arkadiy Kazakov, Thayne Rich, Keegan Kilbride, Garrett Russel, Tsubasa Tanimura, Tatum Monod and friends.
Featured locations: Eagle Pass, British Columbia; Gulmarg, India; Kirovsk, Russia; Secret Valley, Switzerland; Washington D.C.; Snowbird, Utah; Haines, Alaska; Salt Lake City, Utah.
The stir crazy soul dreams of leaving the hum of office space behind in exchange for the whir of passing asphalt. Some actually make the move to a mobile lifestyle, packing anything & everything needed to log adventures in between the click of the odometer and now, #Vanlife seems to be all the rage nowadays. But before it was in vogue to criss cross the country in an #adventuremobile, curated Instagram account in tow, some were already out & ahead of the curve.
One such wanderer is FT’s Rob Heule. No stranger to living in a van (Examples here, here, & there), we check in with him about his own comfort cruiser & favorite mode of transportation to & from the mountain, “Terry.”
Why a van?
My Van is my home on wheels, with room for all my gear for all the activities I love to do. It’s just convenient, enjoyable, and affordable.
What is it like living mobile?
The best. I find myself being more spontaneous, living in the moment, and going with the flow. If something comes up that you really want to do, it’s pretty easy just to pack up camp, and go do it right then and there, not just talk about it.
How many pairs of skis can you fit in the van?
I try and keep my skis and wet gear in my roof box, out of the way, so the inside of my van doesn’t get wet. I’d say at any given time there’s 4 pairs, but you could probably squeeze 8 pairs in there.
Did you name your van?
Terry. Still don’t know whether it’s a girl Terry, or a boy Terry.
What mountain and/or resort has Terry been parked at the longest?
I spend a lot of time parked in Whistler during the Summer, skiing up on the glacier during the day, and rock climbing in the evenings.
How many miles are racked up on the odometer?
260,000 and runnin’. We use Kilometres in Canada.
What are some challenges of living out of a van for an extended period of time?
Finding mellow places to park for the night. Drying gear when the weather’s shitty. I don’t have a pop top, or fibreglass roof, so my neck gets a little sore.
What are five things you can’t live without on the road?
3.Coffee making kit (Aeropress, Jet Boil, hand grinder, thermal cup, and good beans).
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever witnessed while traveling in the van?
A Bald Eagle fighting an Osprey for a fish. Guess who won? You wouldn’t think it, but the Osprey stole the fish from the Eagle. It was unreal.
What advice would you give to other skibums looking to make their own lodge on wheels?
It’s a lot of trail and error. The roof box is pretty key. Elevate your bed, so that you have storage underneath. If you know how to operate a sewing machine, you should be able to make your self some curtains. Invest in a good cooler, and camping stove. Having a little kitchen box or setup will save you lots of money on eating meals out. You need to be efficient and organized because you’ve got a small space to work with, so everything needs a home, and to have a purpose.
How long have you and Terry been together?
I bought my van when I was 18 years old. I’m 24 now, and it’s the only vehicle I’ve ever owned. Before Terry came into my life, he/she belonged to my friends parents, and was their family ski van, for weekend trips to the mountains. Now full time adventure mobile.
What is your favorite van addition (built-ins or anything custom you added to the van that you’re proud of)?
My front plate is an XL park feature sign. You know the orange ones? I have a lift kit especially for safari/astro vans, that lets you put larger tires on to give you more clearance on back roads, and in the snow, thus the XL sign.
FT athletes Will Wesson, Rob Heule & Sämi Ortlieb have been spending the dog days of summer on the ice fields of Zermatt putting together a banger new series – Glacier Days.
The four part video series will be released online every other week throughout the months of August and September. Sämi, Will and Rob are working closely with Zermatt’s Snowpark crew to bring you the most creative park set-ups, and tricks of the Summer. The “Glacier Days“ series aims to keep skiers entertained with video content throughout the late Summer months, that is sure to get you hyped to shred when the snow starts to fall.”
Filming: Sämi Ortlieb, Will Wesson, Rob Heule
Postproduction: Sämi Ortlieb, Rob Heule
So by now we hope you’ve caught the latest release, Ski The North, featuring FT’s Rob Heule. No? THEN LOOK UP!
Done? Great. Wasn’t that good? We agree.
Now you’re wondering, well…how do I do that?
Good news is we spoke with Rob and he’s compiled of all the gear you’d need to go on your own Northern adventure next season.
Read up and get out there!
Scoop shovels: Cover up the concrete you’ll be skiing over faster and more efficiently!
Yoga Mat & Foam Roller: Stay loose and limber after you fall down concrete stairs everyday for a month straight.
Work lights & extension cords: For skiing at night, where you’re not supposed to during the day.
Sleeping Bags: Because sleeping in an R.V. in February is not the warmest thing to do.
Safety Mack Jones: Need someone to direct traffic when you’re landing off a handrail into a busy street? Mack is your guy, and he’ll do it as politely as possible with a smile on his face!
Winter boots: Keep your toes warm! If you sweat, you die… Our Full tilt boots get pretty sweaty after a day of skiing, so it’s nice to have a change of footwear.
Propane Torch: Ever tried building a jump out of snow that fell over a month ago, and has frozen and thawed countless times? So have we, and the heat from a propane torch makes the process a whole lot easier.
Helmets: Safety first kids!
Video & Photo Cameras: From digital to analog we shot it all. HD, Super 8, JPEG, & 35mm film. Documenting ski stunts with different forms of media.
Water & Gasoline: Keep yourself, and your R.V. hydrated!
Collapsable lawn chair: Press record from the comfort of your chair (when it’s -30 degrees)
Assortment of Line Skis: Blends, Bacons, and Chronics. Skis for all conditions you might encounter on the road to the Yukon.
First Aid Kit: Never know when you’ll get an unexpected BooBoo and need a Band-Aid.
Bungee: Speed maker for smaller spaces where the winch is not a feasible option
Winch: How do you generate speed on flat ground, and ski entirely too fast into street features? You guessed it: A gas powered winch.
Steel Shovels: Essential for breaking up, and shoveling snow that may not exactly classify as fresh pow.
“Mack Jones, Rob Heule, and filmmaker Graeme Meiklejohn got back on the bus this year. Apparently they didn’t get enough of RV life after driving from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean last year for the making of Meanwhile in Canada. After Mother Nature threw the team a knuckleball, the boys had to scrap their original plans for the winter and booked some quality time with Harvey the RV 2.0 via Canada Dreams “Going South” package to get the wheels rolling on Ski the North. Like last year, the project is based around urban, but will feature some resort riding. For Intersection, they made a separate cut of the project with the full project being released in its entirety after [World Ski & Snowboard Festival].”
Your original plan was to go to the Kootenays to film this project? How did that come about?
Rob: There’s so much potential there. Both Nelson and Trail are built on hills.
Mack: The JP Segment [in Sherpas Cinema’s All I Can].
Rob: Yeah, definitely the JP segment comes to mind when you think of that area. I think it’s a bit of an unexplored area that still has a lot of potential, and there’s usually snow. Just with the warm winter, it was obviously not feasible.
How did Whitehorse become the contingency plan?
Mack: It was kind of a joke at first—like, “Let’s go straight north because no one else has snow.” And then Nelson actually didn’t have snow. We were thinking about going to Alaska, but we wanted to keep on with our Canadian theme.
Rob: It was such a last minute decision.
Mack: We were going to leave Vancouver for Nelson on the second [of February]. And then we were gone in an RV by the fifth.
Rob: It was within two or three days that we organized the same RV trip that we put three or four months of planning into last year.
Mack: We told ourselves that we weren’t going to do an RV trip this year, then we were like, “We have to.”