Senior Editor
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The Inertia

There’s absolutely nothing easy about following up a classic. Especially when re-making video segments of the viral type, created by legends of the freeskiing world. But The North Face teamed up with Tom Wallisch, who is an iconic freeskier in his own right, and that was the mission when they set out to re-make JP Auclair’s glorious All.I.Can, an extremely influential street skiing segment filmed in 2011 with director Dave Mossop in Trail, Nelson and Rossland, towns in the Kootenay region of British Columbia.

The people of Nelson, B.C. were key to filming Imagination.  Photos: Sherpas Cinema

“JP was an innovative and creative skier, and a talented visual artist as well, and before his passing, he shared his idea for the sequel to the Kootenay street segment with Mossop,” wrote Mitchell Scott for Mountain Culture magazine. Scott was tasked with re-making the memorable segment with Wallisch and Mossop last spring. “’What if you shot the whole segment from the perspective of a little kid in the back seat of a car?’ Auclair said. ‘What if the kid is pretending to ski with his fingers, like all of us did when we were younger—over cars, and in and out of ditches—and all of a sudden, a skier appears out of nowhere?’”

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The concept for Imagination was already born: mind skiing natural terrain (like every one of us has done before), all from the perspective of a nine-year-old boy stuck in the back seat of his parent’s station wagon. But this time the stakes were higher. Web video production has changed. Auclair and Mossop filmed the scene by themselves, editing each evening and filling in the shots as they went, essentially leaving the Kootenays with a finished edit by the time they were done.

But these days companies now put larger and larger budgets into building segments that can make or break a marketing plan for an entire year.  Scott and Mossop set out with a 12-person crew of backup skiers and stunt coordinators and set designers (not to mention, actors). And after canceling the late-March shoot that was scheduled in the Eastern Canadian town of St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador because of poor snow, the crew took the filming project home to Nelson. And it was the right call: many of the townspeople remembered or had seen All.I.Can and actually knew what the crew was doing. From locals to fire and policeman, the village did everything it could to make the shoot successful. And that’s easily seen in the finished product, above. 

“There’s no way we could have pulled this off anywhere else in the world,” Wallisch told Scott for his story in Mountain Culture. “That place is special. It’s beautiful, for sure, you couldn’t find a more idyllic mountain town setting, but the people, man. Wow, they’re special.”

Editor’s Note: Check out The North Face for more on this project.


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