Dreaming with K.C. Deane
We live in a world where “ski porn” is now becoming what we expect as spectators. We want athletes to go bigger, harder, and faster (take for example the Winter X Games in Aspen this past weekend). What gets lost in translation through these expectations is the purity of the sport. When you demand to see skiing from a daredevil’s perspective you miss it for what it truly is. Fun.
I was lucky enough to speak with K.C. Deane who from day one has had fun skiing. He by no means is cautious, but he has continued to chase this passion over the years because he loves to ski. He found his niche and has been skiing powder ever since. Below is a highlight of our conversation.
Where does your story begin and how did you end up becoming a professional skier?
K.C. Deane: I was taught how to ski by my mom and dad when I was three years old. Into my teenage years I started to pay attention to the ski industry and become obsessed with movies like “License of Thrill” from the legendary Warren Miller. My passion was ignited and I decided there and then that I wanted to be able to and go and ski all these incredible mountains throughout the world. To legitimize this decision I made the move to Lake Tahoe in high school in order to get my foot in the door to the ski industry.
Were you traditionally a park skier or racer?
K.D.: My passion for skiing was actually reunited with the introduction of twin tips. With this revolutionary design so many doors opened up for not only myself, but the entire ski industry. It was at this time when I started to take skiing seriously and I got involved with park skiing.
In the photo: K.C. Deane in Davos while shooting the “Legs of Steel” movie.
You are clearly bringing a unique style to the table, how would you describe it?
K.D.: My roots come from both backcountry and slopestyle. I began skiing in the backcountry at a very young age and soon after started to compete in park skiing. As I was competing in park skiing, and strangely enough when I was starting to become quite successful at it, I was slowly losing my interest in the sport. Everything became monotonous and the skiing was strictly about the competition and rankings; it lost its purity.
I decided to take a different path after watching my fellow teammate, Andy Mayer from Eddie Bauer, give an interview. He opened the doors for big mountain skiing and helped shine a light on something I never had thought about before.
For two years my friend and manager Joe Briggs and I scouted different lines and features. It took a lot of work and more than anything a lot of skiing. We worked really hard to be innovative with our approach. This and the combination of having a great photographer and finding the right terrain helped us get published after some hard work in the mountains. From there my career snowballed and I was lucky enough to work with some awesome production companies and be featured in some great films.
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Can you talk a little bit about what presence social media has had on skiing?
K.D.: The majority of the time people focus on “ski porn.” You look at photos or videos of crazy lines, but don’t get insight into the athlete behind the line or the production of it.
That being said, social media has made the process of getting published much easier. You are able to brand yourself and get attention for your sponsors. This has helped up and coming athletes get a presence in skiing and make a name for themselves much more quickly than compared to when Joe Briggs and I were trying to get published.
Can you talk about some of the differences you see as an athlete in the ski industry versus more traditional sports?
K.D.: The biggest difference is the community. In action sports, especially skiing, it is incredibly tight knit; people are invested in one another. People know what is going on with one another and care about one another where as in traditional sports I think you get the “next man up” mentality.
In the photo: Eddie Bauer Team at Eagle Pass Heli Skiing.
Can you tell us about your plans for the future and what your goals are?
K.D.: Filming, directing, and producing “Blank. The Movie.” It is a new film with a great crew of people including Alexi Godbout, Vinnie Gagnier, Josh Daiek, Mike Henitiuk, and Max Morello, which takes place in Japan, Alaska, and Europe. We really had to work hard last winter to find the snow, but we were able to get an incredible film made and we think our fans are going to love it; check it out on iTunes .
Outside of skiing, what are some of your other aspirations?
K.D.: I am a big mountain biker. I was an avid cross-country biker when I was younger, but soon got burned out on it. I didn’t touch a bike for seven years and then found this passion of mine again and I have been taking the summers and doing a lot of downhill biking.
In the photo: KC Deane in the Gobi desert – Credits: Eddie Baure & Fastfokus crew
As a skier how involved are you in the issue of climate change and sustainability?
K.D.: The industry itself is completely involved in climate change and practicing sustainability. I am not as vocal with it on a public stage, but I believe that one of the best ways to promote change is to talk with people. I preach the idea of conversation and hope that by engaging people they will begin to do their part. If everyone takes care of himself or herself we will be able to bring light to this issue and solve it.