Skiing At Its Best | Watch Piers Solomon in 'Solitary'
This is guaranteed to get you frothing for winter
One of the coolest things about skiing is how varied it is. Racing between icy gates and tearing down open powder fields are both technically the same sport, but in terms of the types of people who do them and the approach they take, the two couldn't be more different. Lycra-clad slalom racers have about as much in common with freeskiers as road bike riders do with BMXers.
Despite this, however, it's interesting how many skiers cross over from one to another. Patagonia ambassador Piers Solomon certainly isn't the first freeskier to have started off as a racer. But there aren’t many who have made the transition with such style. Have a look a his latest video part 'Solitary' below and you'll see what we mean.
Born in Switzerland to an American mother and a British father, Piers started racing at a young age. His UK citizenship meant he was eligible to race in the British national championships, and his Swiss upbringing ("kids are just taught how to ski at a young age," he tells us) meant he stood out from the crowd. He soon found himself picked for the British National Children's team, and a potential career in ski racing beckoned.
As he got older however, racing constantly started to lose its appeal. Piers explains: “As a kid you don't question whether it is right or not and I guess I was having fun racing so I started to do more and more skiing every year.
“Sooner than later I was skiing 100+ days every year until the age of 15. But [then] I quit racing and started free skiing just for fun."
"Free skiing and just looking for having the best possible time by got me more hooked"
While it might have sounded like taking a step back, if anything the switch got Piers even more hooked on the sport. “When I quit racing I knew I would still want to keep skiing," he says. And “free skiing with friends back then, and just looking for having the best possible time by skiing got me more hooked."
He was quickly sponsored by his local shop, but it was when Piers started shooting with professional snapper Oskar Enander that his career really took off. Now sponsored by DPS skis and Patagonia, he spends his winters criss crossing the planet and shooting for his sponsors.
Solitary is his first video part for Patagonia, made up of footage shot over the course of the past three seasons in “Japan, Switzerland, Alaska, British Columbia and Mt. Baker".
“Patagonia Europe approached my Ski sponsor DPS Skis, who I have been filming this web series Cinematic for. [They wanted to make] a video edit with only me in it. So that's the idea that led to this video. The main idea is to show more of who I am and more of my skiing."
The result is a film which shows all that’s best about freeskiing: Skinning up remote hills far from any lifts, skiing virgin lines (in some seriously epic light) and hitting natural features for the sheer hell of it. Solitary shows where Piers is at these days with his career. And although it’s still skiing, it’s about as far from where he started as it possibly could be.