Canadian Mike Douglas is one of the most influential skiers of all time. When skiing was lost in the end of the nineties he dropped the idea of a ski with bent-up tail and the twin-tip ski was born. The following years he spent discovering what was possible with the newly invented tools and turned himself into one of the rock-stars of the freeride scene.
Nowadays, at 42, Douglas is seen as the godfather of freeskiing and is still one of the strongest freeskiers out there. Living in Whistler on the Canadian west coast with wife and two kids in a wonderful house two minutes from the slopes, Mike has taken the epithet of being a professional skier to where it belongs.
Mike Douglas has always been at the forefront of invention in the ski industry and probably that is the reason why he have stayed on the top of the business for so long. He have invented and refined skis (like the Salomon Teneighty and the Pocket Rocket), tricks (d-spin) and style (combing new school tricks with freeriding) but now he has also reinvented himself.
Moving from being a star in front of the camera, Douglas is now one of the ski industry’s most celebrated filmers and has created everything from award-winning documentaries to making Salomon FreeskiTV the most popular ski webisodes on the planet.
Meeting up with Mike at his home I felt like I didn’t want to ask too much about his ski career, as he has been answering those questions for years, and instead see what he thinks about the ski film world at this moment and ask him if he has any grains of gold from the last year’s jungle of ski films and documentaries to share.
So Mike, even though you won something like 15 awards in the last year from your latest project, The Freedom Chair, you still say you are only half as good as you want to be as a filmer. What does a really good filmer have as you see it?
I think the most important thing is attention to detail. Pretty much everyone who’s been successful in this business is a bit of a perfectionist. Secondly, the ability to tell stories and bring out emotion. Third, is a good eye – you need to be able to compose a good shot.
Well then, what does a good ski movie contain?
A good ski movie should do the same thing to an audience that any other good movie does: move them emotionally and make them think. Historically, a lot of ski movies would simply numb their audiences after 15 minutes, but lately producers have been telling some more interesting stories. Keeping the audience engaged from start to finish is key.
Where do you see that the world of ski filming is going?
Hopefully, in the direction we’re headed (haha!)
Do you have any extra talented filmers you think we should keep our eyes upon?
There are a lot of talented filmmakers in skiing – more than in any other sport I think. Lately, I’ve been impressed with the work done by Sherpas Cinema, Sweetgrass Productions, and Flatlight Films. Pretty much everything those guys put out is worth watching. Michael Clarke also does some great stuff, but not so much skiing anymore. I’m just finishing up a collaboration project with Bjarne Sahlen. Bjarne is young and super-keen. He’s also a great skier and climber who can get into a lot of places most people can’t. I think we’ll see some good stuff from him in the future.
And finally, give us a few really good adventure sport films we should check out on the net!
You may have already seen these, but here are some of the best ski edits from the past year:
And my all-time favorite sport webisode…
Want to see more? You can watch Sweetgrass’s award-winning film, Solitaire, in its entirety on EpicTV.com. And if you sign up usig Facebook you get the next six months absolutely free.