Ski Season Begins at Higher Ground with Dean Cummings and Crew

On Sunday, October 20th, Freeze Magazine’s East Coast Movie Tour stops at Winooski’s Higher Ground where there will be a screening of Matchstick Production’s newest release Ski Movie III: The Front Line. Live music from Hot Action Cop and Razing Suns will follow. Professional skiers such as; Dean Cummings, Seth Morrison, Brad Holmes and many others will be at the show signing posters and giving away free gear and stickers. One of the world’s premier big mountain skiers, 1995 World Extreme Skiing Champion, Dean Cummings was kind enough to give me a little bit of his time for some Q and A. he talks about his traveling the world skiing the sickest terrain, running a company, Dean Cummings’ H2O Heli-Guides, and everything else that goes with the territory of an elite skier.NR: How was touring with the prior Ski Movies? Is there a rock star feel among the skiers?DC: Yeah, in a way it is. Seth (Morrison) and I signed 3,000 posters last year in nine days. It’s amazing what people want you to sign, I mean some girls want you to sign things that you wouldn’t consider. NR: Where did you ski for your segment of the film?DC: Argentina, it was awesome. We got stormed out so we only filmed a little bit but it was incredible; the mountains there are amazing. We spent ten days in a storm and got two days of skiing in, so it was short days of skiing, but we got a little bit of (film). It was more about being in the Andes, it’s a really impressive mountain range and the people down there are really awesome, really sincere friendly people.NR: Where’s your favorite place to ski in the world?DC: Valdes, Alaska, it’s the best skiing in the world. Of the all the places I’ve been so far nothing compares.NR: How did your company, Dean Cummings’ H2O Heli-guides, get started?DC: We fly in the Chugach mountain range in Valdes, Alaska, which is bigger than the state of Rhode Island and is made up of unnamed peaks, we get about 45 to 85 feet of snow.NR: You really try to be an inspiration to the youth, and to further that you started a non-profit organization called “Experience the Mountains”; what does that involve?DC: I started that program to teach the younger kids how to recognize avalanche hazard. We raise money by doing events like the Ski Movies, Ski Swap, and donations. The kids go to an evening class on snow safety, then the next day they have a full day of heli-skiing. There’s hands on learning with the kids digging snow pits, looking at route selection, knowing where to be and where not to be, as well as glacier travel. NR: In last year’s Ski Movie 2: High Society, Seth Morrison, Shane McConkey, and yourself constructed a house boat and went on quite the adventure, how was that? DC: We went out of Vancouver, (British Columbia, Canada) up the coast to go heli-skiing in an area I had never skied before on the ocean side of Belacula. It was incredible, it wasn’t the best skiing but it was the best trip of my life.NR: Given the fact that VT’s pow’ is so much better than the pow’ in Valdes, AK, you must love to come out East and ski.DC: Yeah I do, I come out a lot for product development and testing, and also for different events, product launches and stuff, and also for shop appearances. You know I do love it, I love setting an edge at high speed, I guess that’s what I like the most about skiing there (East Coast), and every once in a while you get a surprise storm and its fun to ski the trees. What impresses me most about the East Coast is the motivation and the ambition people have for skiing there. I go to all these movie premiers on the West Coast, and it doesn’t compare to the East Coast. People drive six hours to go to a Ski Movie on the East Coast. They’re ten times more ambitious about skiing than people are on the West Coast. And you guys don’t take it for granted at all, that’s what I notice. That says a lot for the east coast, the respect people have for the sport. NR: Do you like coming to Burlington? DC: Burlington is a lot of fun. On last year’s tour it was the stop we had the most fun at, and it might have been the biggest. It was awesome; we had a great time there.