G.N.A.R., “if you are getting rad and no one is around to see it… are you really getting rad?”  Andy Hays spoke these words in the typical Shane McConkey-esque satirical fashion you see all around Squaw Valley.  Years later, the crew at Hemlock Creative has set out to put Andy’s theory to the test.  Led by Director Ross Reid, ‘Tamashii’ follows the adventures of skiers (Crazy) Karl Fostvedt, Andy Mahre, and Anna Segal, as they send a six week soul-shred mission in oh-so-snowy Japan.  If you haven’t seen their trailer yet, check it out below…

This post might come off as a bit of a rant, but here it goes.  I’ll start by saying that I myself am very frustrated with our dependence on technology in the sense of personal use.  I’ll never forget sitting back in my chair after a dinner out in Vail Village with friends and family, and watching the table pull out their phones simultaneously to feast their eyes and stay entertained as they digested their food.  My personal rule is that at group dinners, everyone puts their phone in the middle of the table.  First one to crack and check their device loses and has to pay the bill.  Even worse is on the chairlift.  Sure, it’s fun to capture the moment with a picture or video and throw it up on your Snapchat story for everyone to see, but technology and social media dependence truly becomes an issue when you disengage yourself from the environment you’re in and give priority to the people you’re communicating with via your device, rather than the people you’re riding the chairlift and in the moment with.

It comes as no surprise that there’s been some controversy over ‘Tamashii’.  The documentary challenges our overuse of technology and reliance on social media, but is being crowdfunded on a platform that thrives off of online marketing (Kickstarter).  Critics complain and troll Facebook’s comment sections on posts about ‘Tamashii’, saying “ooh the irony”, and “well they should’ve advertised only through magazines”.  Problem is you need money to shell out in the first place to buy yourself a blank page in Freeskier

This too frustrates me as people are missing the point of this project.  It’s completely normal for business ventures and media projects like these to use social media as a means to raise awareness and market a new project or service.  Tamashii’s aim is not to have everyone delete their Facebook and Instagram accounts, rather to challenge our dependence and need to be connected with those not around us while we partake in the sport we love.  When it comes to the ski community, our journeys take us to all corners of the globe, and we’re often cradled by unique surroundings with the people we trust and care about most.  Without the distraction of smartphones alerting us on our newest Tinder matches, we naturally become that more invested in the experience, and in turn, feel a greater sense of fulfillment and reward at the end of the day.

So given my views on the world of social media and skiing, I personally am in favor of this cause.  The Japanese word, ‘Tamashii’ translates to soul or spirit, and I’m excited to see how the essence of skiing is portrayed by this crew upon the flick’s release.  If you feel inclined, head over to their Kickstarter Page and throw them a few bucks.  Hemlock is more than halfway towards their goal and have just 5 more days in the campaign.  If you were drooling over Crazy Karl’s mega pow turn at the 1:52 mark of the trailer, check out our Japan Sessions page for more info on our winter trips, and if you can’t wait until January to ski powder, Click Here to inquire about shredding Argentina this summer, we’ve only got a few spots left.