Sculpting the Mountain

The Architect

Now in its seventh season, the Salomon Freeski TV channel has covered the sport exhaustively, with high-production episodes about heliskiing, forest fires, first descent master Andreas Fransson, wave skiing, and touring in the Selkirk Mountains of BC. In “The Architect”, Vice President of Resort Design at Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners Ryley Thiessen explains how resort development has changed from the 1960s to today, bringing us from mom-and-pop mountains (now all but extinct) to four-season resorts in China. One such project, Changbaishan in Jilin Province, was supposed to take 20-25 years to build. “They basically looked us square in the eye and said they’d do it in two”, Thiessen says. “I’ve been there. I’ve skied it. And they accomplished what they said they would and they did it in less than three years…. There’s no doubt in my mind action sport culture has arrived in China.” Of course, it wouldn’t be an episode of Salomon Freeski unless the academic study of resorts were accompanied by extracurricular activities: tune in for plenty of deep powder and huge kickers, too.