It was hard not to notice the Red Bull girls staring at Karl. Even though two helicopters buzz about, a herd of snowmobiles come and go, they were looking at him. “Why can’t you take your eyes off of him?” I have to ask, catching them in the act. “We don’t know,” they say. Karl could be seen as beautiful in the mid afternoon light. Even though they do call him “Karl the Gnarl.” Behind the glare of the snowcat’s cab, with mirrored sunglasses piercing back at them, thick hair flowing—him, still smiling—them, with glorious mountains framing it all, I couldn’t help but make a mental note. That this moment, right now, is very special.
We’re 15 minutes out from the first run of Cold Rush, the 4th incarnate. The big mountain day, on Texas, a 1,200-foot face in the heart of the Selkirks, at the edge of the 10,000-acre catskiing tenure of Retallack Lodge, BC, is so perfect it’s hard to fathom. Just like hot Red Bull girls looking at hairy woodsman poet snowcat drivers in the alpine. Sidelit flutes, huge diving boards, and perfect snow. 11 men and 3 girls, an international amalgamation of some of the world’s best all around skiers are about to begin\ competing in a rider and online judging format at the forefront of action sports marketing machines.
Red Bull has a knack for coming up with super logistically challenging events that entertain no physical spectators, but are instead captured by a full court press of cinematographers. Armed with a mega budget, Nelson’s Freeride Entertainment has every angle covered: a Cine-Flex camera mounted to an A-star helicopter, with another 7 angles of HD state-of-the-art cameras positioned and choreographed. Supporting them is a ping pong room transformed into an editing epicenter. “The room where we sit and everyone parties,” describes Scott Carlson of Juicy Studios, in charge of daily graphic treatments of blog edits.
Throw on top of the multimedia team, then there’s a small handful of photographers and writers, organized and moved about by a crew of mountain guides, cat drivers and helicopter pilots, not to mention the Red Bull girls, and deep in the middle of nowhere, with skiers like Sean Petit throwing huge 60-foot 360s into soft, sunny snow, and it all seems to be going to plan. Especially for Karl.
With the likes of TJ Schiller, Grete Eliasson, Dash Long and Sven Kueenle, Red Bull’s Cold Rush is off to a banging start. But the beauty of large groups of talented people, machines that go anywhere, and epic mountain terrain, you can see day one right here, right now, less than 24 hours after it actually happened. Photos courtesy of Red Bull.