MOUNTAIN LIFE - Coast Mountains | Fall Winter 2018

46 MLCM FALL/WINTER 2018 But every revolution comes to an end. Freeskiing went Hollywood and with the rise of digital photography, Rowles found the on-mountain shooting scene a little more frantic than he preferred, and the marketplace for photos a lot more saturated. “Someone, a local, accused me of being a ‘money hungry Whistler photographer’ and it really hurt. Like this dude thinks I am doing this for the money? That was one of the times I really got discouraged.” Around this time, Rowles father passed away and he began to withdraw from ski photography to focus on other artistic endeavours. In 2009 he sold his house, for substantially more than he bought it, and rented a suite down the road so he could refocus on drawing, painting and spending time with his teenage son. “Selling the house gave me a chance to get back to what matters without the financial weight,” he says. “I still shoot photos, I draw. I know I am here on this earth to be an artist, and now I can do it just for me.” Rowles’ son grew up and moved to Vancouver Island, but Rowles is still here—skiing, biking, paddling, and creating. He’s making one-off ski graphics for Foon Skis, run by his old buddy Johnny Foon. If the weather is no good he’s happy to stay home with a sketchbook. “I love drawing,” Rowles explains, “because you can see the time and effort. The patience. Too many people like immediate satisfaction these days. I think kids these days need to find ways to use their minds, because a lot of these mindless jobs aren’t gonna be around in a few years. The only jobs left will be ones where you have to think or imagine.” While he admits he’s thought about moving along, he says “All the things that brought me here are still right outside the door. There are good people here, bike trails two minutes away, and I can see the ski conditions on Crystal Ridge right from my window. After the life I’ve had in these mountains… it’s hard to find somewhere else to go.” By 1998, with more magazines and companies catching on to the new hot thing in skiing, Rowles found himself entrenched in a revolution, and shooting every minute of it. TOP LEFT Self-portrait. BOTTOM LEFT Jack Hannan in the good old days. BRUCE ROWLES ABOVE Rowlesy in his element. JOHN JERVIS