Born and raised into a family where seasonal employment and a place to live revolved around skiing and snow conditions, Swix big mountain specialist Eric Hjorleifson can't actually recall his first day on skis. Raised in the shadowy spine of the Rocky Mountains which rise dramatically from his Canmore, AB, home, "Hoji"s early days were spent on the rope tow at Mount Norquay in Banff National Park. Eric and his brother Steve honed their skills for eight years in the Nancy Greene and provincial ski racing program. "We competed as a fairly high level," Eric recalls, "I was technically solid and trying my best, but racing was really hard."
"There was a whole crew of us in and around Banff who loved to ski but didn't necessarily like racing. Our coach Guy Mowbray started what was maybe the very first free skiing program in North America built around big mountain riding. We had a game called "Shred or Die" where we had to keep up with the coaches all over the mountain and if we fell off the back, we had to wait the rest of the day out in the lodge."
Hjorleifson's talent soon led to an association with a Canmore-area filmmaker named Dustin Lindgren, who contributed footage to Colorado-based Match Stick Productions. Their first shoots in Las Lenas, Argentina, and Haines, AK, were bedeviled by poor weather. Almost broke and hardly able to afford heli-time, Hoji and Lindgren wound up at Mica Heli Guides, a wild backcountry lodge north of Golden, BC. They got enough useful footage for Hjorleifson to produce a 'highlight reel' that eventually led to an Oakley sponsorship.
Being sponsored was no guarantee of getting good weather, as Hoji and Lindgren found out when they went to Tulsequah Heli Skiing on Eric's first Oakley trip. "We only had two hours of flying/skiing in 8 days and blew virtually our entire budget." The duo was able to salvage the season with a return trip to Mica Heli, where some jaw-dropping pillow line and spine riding footage scored Eric the opening segment in the following year's MSP movie.
"I've been ski touring since I was 17, and it's really the best way to access "pillow lines" which have become the most popular form of adventure skiing," he says. Often found in avalanche runouts or steep creek gulches, pillow lines are massively covered 'rock mushrooms' and the idea is to jump from one 'pillow' (massive, snow covered rocks) to the next.
Hoji says, "Pillow lines require a lot of thought to ski well because you have to try and estimate how fast you need to go, how to safely stomp the landing, where to land on the next pillow, and ski the whole line smoothly. The beauty of ski touring is that you can skin up and study micro features in the terrain." Whether viewed through a helmet cam or filmed from below, these drops make for dramatic footage. In the future, Hjorleifson sees himself pushing farther into the backcountry. Last May, he was part of a large crew that camped on the Freshfield Icefield in Banff National Park; skiing deep winter powder and exploring a massive, never skied before range of mountains.
|Date of birth||14.03.83|
|Sponsors||Swix, 4FRNT Skis, Smith Optics, Arc'teryx, Dynafit, Gordini, Discrete Headwear, Fresh Sports, Surefoot (footbeds), Dissent Labs (compression socks), Exped|
Eric Hjorleifson @EricHjorleifson@HamillHimself Hey Mark! Stoked for the new movie! Also excited you're going to be the joker again as well!
Eric Hjorleifson @EricHjorleifson@darrenford77 sounds like a party over there!