Powdersmoke Ghosts: The Shadow Campaign, Episode 1

Somewhere, in some hallowed snowy hollow, a powder-obsessed shadow is ripping first tracks before the rest of us have even rolled out of bed. For the shadow, powder is a fixation driving him on the never-ending hunt for deeper, lighter, fresher, better; driving him to drop everything and cross the country on the tail of a promising storm sweeping across the satellite map; driving him to wake in the cold, dark hours long before dawn and push that extra mile for just a few more turns in new, untracked snow.

The shadow stays light, stays nimble, always one step ahead. By the time the masses arrive, he has slipped away, leaving only tracks, already on the trail of the next big weather system, no matter where it falls.

Having lived for several winters out of his mobile, self-constructed tiny house, Outdoor Research Skiing Ambassador Zack Giffin is a big-mountain skier poised to seek and destroy fresh powder before it even touches the ground.

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Photo by Michael Dyrland. Courtesy www.tinyhouseliving.com
Giffin’s tiny, mobile house. Photo by Michael Dyrland. Courtesy www.tinyhouseliving.com

From the weightless freshies of the Canadian Rockies, to the cold smoke of Colorado and Utah, to the legendary dumps of the Pacific Northwest’s Cascades, Zack’s chased winter storms across the Mountain West, his obsession with deep, untracked snow inspiring his relentless pursuit.

And he’s not alone. There are legions of shadows out there, operating in zealot splinter cells far beyond the fringe, their lives given over completely to something few outsiders will ever truly see or understand: An overpowering passion for the perfect turn.

They are powdersmoke ghosts. They are invisible inspirations. They are The Shadow Campaign.

In Sanctuary, the first episode in The Shadow Campaign (see above) Giffin and big-mountain skiers Piers Solomon, Olof Larsson, and Santiago Guzman find themselves at Chile’s Valle Nevado ski area as a massive, three-week winter storm rolls through, dropping three feet of snow in the Andes. The high desert becomes an ethereal sanctuary, dissolving into the sky, and the skiers head out to take advantage of more than a metre of fresh-fallen snow.

Frame grab courtesy Outdoorresearch.com
Frame grab courtesy Outdoorresearch.com

Heavy sun and low snow had left the Valle Nevado ski area reduced to bare rock, a lost season. Lifts shut down and skiers fled towards Santiago. Hot tubs and pisco prevailed for the DPS crew. But one morning they awoke to find condors filling the sky – scavenging to prepare for an oncoming storm.

Text reblogged from Outdoor Research Verticulture.

The Shadow Campaign: 4 Short Films
Valle Nevado – Mt. Baker – Refugio Frey – Baldface
Presented by DPS Cinematic, in association with Outdoor Research and Gore-Tex
Featuring: Piers Solomon, Olof Larsson, Zack Giffin, and Santiago Guzman
Directed and edited by Ben Sturgulewski // Sturgefilm
Shot by Ben Sturgulewski and Dan Pizza
Music by Washed Out
Sound Mix by Leonardo Barragan.