Words and photos: Jeff Hawe
The movies and glamorous photos/stories in the magazine are highlights of a winter spent dedicated to such pursuit. They rarely show the trials and tribulations behind getting to that point of culmination where everything is going right. Some days/trips are a breeze, others are warfare in the trenches against all odds. This and the next installment of the Absinthe crew’s mid-winter update are a glimpse into the whole picture of production. The “almost” moments, the down and out days and the times when it seems nothing is going to work out.
As mid-January turned the corner the Pacific Northwest was locked into a long term high pressure drought. It was time to hit the road. A handful of phone calls, a bit of logistics and bags were packed. Austen Sweetin scooped me up and we motored toward the interior regions of British Columbia to meet Jason Robinson, Mike Basich, and Justin Hostynek for an Absinthe pow-wow. Justin had a few zones up his sleeve which he was keen to explore. The interior had received a strong start to the winter for snowfall. Even though it had been a few weeks since any significant fresh, heads that know instilled high hopes.
Absinthe is a crew that has perfected “the search” over the years. “The search” pertaining to an impeccable ability or know-how of where to be for good snow; more often than not it’s away from the masses, or at least well ahead of the curve and out by the time others catch on. So whilst the majority of the shred world was aborting dried up North America and descending on Japan. Absinthe was sneaking in a back-door and getting the goods in the least likely of all places.
Not to paint the picture too pretty. I’ve seen BC in much more prime condition, nonetheless when you mix up a crew of explosive youth and creative natural ability with the experience and mountain wisdom of guys like Basich. It’s bound to pay off. Yet, sometimes that payoff comes with a serious price tag. Long days, 25 mile whooped trail ride outs in the dark, dodging moose, spooking ourselves in some of the gnarliest avalanche terrain I’ve ever seen, and spending whole days digging out stuck trucks. All in the first week and we had three more ahead of us. So with heads up we kept at it, and in the end it did pay off. It just took some serious dedication. Follow this dispatch and the next to come for the full story.