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In Whistler, he adds, the pursuit of happiness often supersedes the pursuit of financial riches. "As a society, we too often seek material wealth in the hope of finding happiness..." He stops. Shrugs. "But it's usually the other way around. If you're happy, acquiring money turns out to be not all that important."
Mike grew up on Vancouver Island, Campbell River to be precise. "My dad was a member of the RCMP," he explains. "So we moved around a fair bit. I was actually born in Saskatchewan — in 1969. But we moved to Nanaimo when I was three." His family even got to live in Tofino for a few years... but before there was a surf scene there.
He says he's always been a bit of a dreamer. "I'd sit in my classroom in Campbell River and daydream of skiing." He smiles. "I thought I'd grow out of it. But I didn't."
As a youngster Mike enjoyed the competitive environment of freestyle skiing. But "winning," he says, wasn't the be-all and end-all. "For me," he explains, "it was always about developing new tricks. I guess I was more artist than athlete..."
Alas, in those days there were few other avenues to hone his skills. "I tried to fit myself into that mould," he adds of his stint with the Canadian Freestyle Team, "because that was the only way to make your mark back then." He sighs. "You know, conceptually I was only half a step behind guys like Glen Plake and Scott Schmidt."
Indeed. For Mike and his New School buddies were, as he puts it, "fundamentally passionate skiers. We watched snowboarding come on the scene with all this new energy. Meanwhile, our sport — freestyle skiing — was getting all bogged down with rules and stuff." But that quickly changed when the twin-tipped phenomenon kicked in. "I remember talking about it with friends: 'Wow,' we said, 'this is changing everything! Skiing is coming back to life...' And we were right."
His filmmaking career was launched under the same kind of impetus. "We started Salomon Freeski TV in 2006," he recounts. "I'd recently noted that I'd changed the way I consumed media. Instead of putting in a DVD, I was going to Youtube to watch videos. So I took the idea to Bruno Bertrand at Salomon and we launched the show four months later."
Now six seasons in, and nearly 100 episodes deep, Salomon Freeski TV is an online success story averaging more than 100,000 views per week." We cover everything from the history of skiing to exotic travel destinations; from kite flying in Chile to Josh Dueck's first sitski backflip," says Director Mike, the energy building in his voice as he lists his favourite episodes. "I love that it's always changing," he adds. "I never get bored with it..."
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