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Chase Jarvis Photo

Photos: Chase Jarvis

Dan Gilchrist Interview Page 2

D: How did you start working with Warren Miller?

DG:I did some work with Chris Patterson when he started filming some seven or eight years ago. The film was called "Minds To Blow." We continued to work together, and a few years later we filmed a powder segment in Steamboat for Steve Winter's "The Hedonist". Talk about the good life, that was filmed on two lunch breaks in the Steamboat backcountry. A few years after Chris started working for Warren Miller, he approached me about doing some telemark skiing for "Freeriders." It turned out great, so I was asked back. As long as I can keep elevating my performance on telemarks, I think I ll be included in other projects.

D: What's it like working on a Warren Miller production? Is he funnier in real life?!

DG: I've only met Warren Miller once, and he was handing out books at the base of the ski area. He did retort with a bit of sarcasm, so mabye he is funnier in real life. He isn't very involved in the day to day operations of making the movie. Filming a ski segment is a great time, but the work is intense. Getting to the right spot with camera gear, rushing to get ready and then waiting for conditions to be just right, and sometimes hiking back up to do the same shot over and over. It's all part of the game.

D: Nice work in Ecuador and in Warren Miller's Fifty! When did the Cotopaxi expedition take place?

DG: We went to Ecuador in December last year. It sits on the Equator so there are only wet and dry seasons. December and July are usually the best times for climbing.

Photos: Chase Jarvis

Photos: Chase Jarvis

D: How do you train for long ascents/descents?

DG: I try to stay fit. Before the trip, I worked out hard for a couple of months in the gym on my legs, abs, and cardio. I did several long skin climbs, and skied hard 5 to 6 days a week before the journey. It's best to keep your fitness level high, and slowly build endurance. Last spring I climbed and skied Mount Shasta in a day. That was 7,200 vertical, and the most I've ever done in one day.

D: Among active volcanoes, the summit of Cotopaxi (19,347 ft), is one of highest on the planet. What challenges did this present while climbing? skiing?

DG: Altitude effects people differently. Acclimating is the key to success. The first couple of days at high camp put my system in high gear. I had to go to the bathroom more frequently than usual, so drinking a lot of water was key. When climbing and skiing, I think glacier travel is one of the biggest challenges. Avoiding crevasses and route finding is crucial to safe mountaineering.

D: It appears that the snow was somewhat sketchy on your decent of Cotopaxi.

DG: The snow from the summit was anything but ideal. We climbed the North-West side so the sun didn t soften the snow at all. Wind had developed chicken heads on the surface of the snow. It was rough and unforgiving. The views, and the feeling of being so high, made for a trade off on the conditions. Lower down on the mountain conditions were much better. Hiking and skiing the 1000 feet above high camp in the evenings was great. Much softer and easier to carve than the summit.

Word has it you are attempting to climb all of the 14,000 ft. peaks in Colorado. Who else is working with you on this goal? What challenges has this endeavor presented?

D: I have skied over 30 of Colorado's 54 Fourteeners. I try to set a goal of doing 7 to 10 each spring. I have been skiing them with a couple of friends, but most have been done with Aryeh Copa. We both have the drive to pack up and go skiing when it's 70 degrees, and other people are thinking about biking or boating. We have skied almost all of the Northern peaks, so more travel time is needed to get to new peaks. We have done some tough ones like the Maroon Bells, and picked some hard lines on some peaks that don't seem that tough, but there are still some very hard ones to go. If I have skied 52, and Capital peak, or Pyramid peak is still left, I will wait for conditions to be just right, and be happy if I make it to the summit and only ski the lower aspects of the mountain.

D: What's more challenging to you? Teleskiing or Mountaineering? More fun?

DG: What is most challenging is combining the two. I have telemarked most of these peaks. Telemarking steep exposed lines miles from anyone takes confidence, and the skills to back it up. Skiing with a group of friends on a resort day, or high on a peak is what it is all about. Telemarkers just make it better.

Thanks Dan!

Special thanks to Chase Jarvis.

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Photo: Chase Jarvis

Photo: Chase Jarvis