Set to premiere in the fall of 2018, Connections Film is currently documenting places like Hokkaido, British Columbia, Patagonia, Talas Ala-Too Range, Andes Range, the Yukon Territory, and many others for a three year documentary detailing the rugged and refined land and people amongst the mountains. Just finishing up some time in Kyrgyzstan, check out the teaser above and then learn a bit more about the project below. We briefly sat down with Rafael Pease, the owner and founder, to pick his brain on snowboarding, Kyrgyzstan, and those golden eagles!
Rafael getting after it. PHOTO: Jesse Levine
How many days do you get into the mountains a year?
I’d say I spend over 250 days a year in the mountains. But not all of those are snowboarding.
What kind of board are you riding?
95% of the time I ride only splitboards, more specifically Arbor Iguchi Splitboard 159cm and Arbor Coda Splitboard 162cm. But the other 5% of the time you can find me surfing on some swallow tail short boards.
Can you give us a brief history of how you got into splitboarding? Is there a snowboard scene in your hometown?
I was introduced into the mountains later in life, around 17 years old (22 now). I instantly became addicted to the exploration, cultural history & mysteries of them. Not sure where my hometown really is, I’m too nomadic to pin-point a certain spot and call it home.
Golden Eagle hunters in complimentary light. PHOTO: Jesse Levine
What is up with the golden eagles?! A little backstory, please. Have you ever ridden with one?
Oh, haha the golden eagle hunters, man that was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of. There is nothing more majestic than riding a horse with a large golden eagle on your arm. There are only a handful of eagle hunters left in Kyrgyzstan and we had the pleasure of spending the day with 7 of them, the best part was they were all around my age and it gave me a deep sense of respect for them to continue such a traditional culture that is slowly disappearing.
Describe the snow in Kyrgyzstan.
The snow in Kyrgyzstan is quite continental. When we were there it was interesting because we were in the middle of the shed cycle. Too late to ride safe pow and too early to climb the 24,000ft giants. So we were stuck in “the in-between”, and we got worked. But accomplished a decent amount of objectives. As the days went by the snow became more rotten, the slides became bigger and the temperatures became warmer. In 10 days alone we toured and hiked over 107 miles with heavy packs and climbed over 47,800 vertical feet.
A common down day activity. PHOTO: Jesse Levine
Why did you want to make this movie?
Truthfully, there are many reasons. The main one being to create something that can not only inspire people to get out there but also educate them through first hand experiences via the people we meet in these locations.
Anything else you would like to touch on?
I would like everyone to go out there into the wilderness and appreciate it with someone who doesn’t see it the same way as us outdoorsy people do. Get them to feel what you feel, and if we can accomplish that we can make this world a bit greener. We have 4 more expeditions to film in South America.