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Hmm. Still keen on the subject, eh? "Heck yeah," he says. "That's why I became a filmmaker. There are so many ideas spinning in my head. I'd just like to make some of these ideas come true."
But it's not like Mike is "just" a filmmaker now. "I'm still hanging on to the other things — still skiing for a living, still giving talks, still involved in ski design." He tries to find just the right words. "But I guess filmmaking is where I'm putting my best efforts."
When I bring up his approachability — his easy-going friendliness — and how fame has brushed over him so lightly, he laughs. "Looking back on it now," he says, "I realize I was a late bloomer. I worked every crap job imaginable — bus boy, waiter, construction worker, retail assistant... even laundromat attendant! — to make my ski dreams come true. I was 27 years old before I could live off my skiing income. And I think that helped keep me humble."
And his search for life balance? "It's very easy for me," he says, "to work too much. Typically, I have way more stuff coming at me than I can handle." He pauses. "But I'm finally learning how to say 'no.'" He sighs deeply. "And I'm wishing I'd learned that skill sooner."
Particularly, he adds, since his children are growing up so quickly. "My wife Susie and I have two wonderful kids — Devon, nine and Kirra, five — and my most favourite thing in the world is sharing my passions with them, you know, surfing, skiing, hiking... that kind of stuff." He takes a quick breath. "I get such a sense of joy watching them fall in love with what makes me happy..."
As for Whistler itself, he says he's still as much in love with the place — maybe more! — as he was when he first arrived here as a ready-for-anything 19 year old. "I've had the great good fortune of travelling to most of the world's top-rated ski resorts. And I've yet to encounter a place that can match Whistler. At the very top of my list is the community here. There are so many great, passionate, outgoing people who still call Whistler home. As I said before — it's very inspiring."
And then he leaves me with one last thought. "Whistler has always been on the leading edge when it comes to sporting innovation," he starts. "But in the adventure filmmaking domain, I don't know how many people in town realize that some of the best work in the world is now being produced in this valley — much of it right here in Creekside." He pauses. Laughs some more. "I don't like to toot my own horn — but between us (Switchback Entertainment), the Sherpas crew and Jordon Manley, there's some mighty good work coming out of Whistler right now. And that's inspiring too."
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