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Three months of free lift tickets at all of the resorts in British Columbia’s Kootenay Range, paid hotels, a rental SUV, plus heli and cat skiing on the Powder Highway’s bill; as the winner of the Powder Highway Ultimate Ski Bum Contest (click here to see the winning video and others), this is Chris Tatsuno’s life for the next two months. With one month behind him and two more to go, Tatsuno talks about the slow pace of Canada, not paying rent, and showing up in Denver after a month of powder in British Columbia.
So, tell us where you have skied so far?
My life as the Ultimate Ski Bum started on January 1, 2010. Since then I have skied Revelstoke (where I competed in the Canadian Freeskiing event), Kicking Horse, Red Mountain, and one day of heli-skiing at Purcell, just outside of Golden. It was my first time in a helicopter and we ended up skiing a lot of low angle powder, but I finally saw the demographics of people buying these trips. The dichotomy between the freeskiing competitions and the skiers paying for heli-skiing became obvious. We all love the same sport, but live in different worlds.
What would your world be like without winning this contest?
Before entering [the contest] I bought an RV with a friend and planned to travel around following the freeskiing competitions. Then a friend from the TGR forums clued me into the Ultimate Ski Bum contest. At first, I was considering not submitting a video because I have been living the ski bum life on my own. Then I realized there was heli-skiing involved and that sealed the deal.
Besides the heli-skiing, what else is different than your average season ski bumming?
I received a small SUV for the three months on the Powder Highway and at one point had two people with me, so there were three of us crammed in with our skis and camera gear. I am used to having my van or an RV, which is where I live during the winter. It’s funny; I haven’t paid rent since graduating from college.
Did you retire the Tats Van (Tatsuno’s van that he has been traveling in for the past couple of seasons)?
I actually decided to drive the van into British Columbia before I started my three months on the Powder Highway. Recently I met up with a few Kiwi girls whose van had broken down on their way back to Fernie, so I loaned them the Tats Van. Consequently, it is somewhere in Canada; hopefully in Fernie. I figured this was a good way to pay it forward as a ski bum. I am sure my van will break down someday.
What are your plans for the rest of your stint in BC?
At some point I will be meeting with Tom Day from Warren Miller to film a segment. My girlfriend’s birthday is in March so she will be coming to visit. Other than that, skiing powder, heli-skiing, and creating webisodes documenting my adventures. The Powder Highway and this trip have already exceeded my expectations.
Check out Tatsuno’s blog here: http://christatsuno.com/