Eric ‘Hoji’ Hjorleifson
Born and raised into a family where life revolved around skiing and snow conditions, Eric 'Hoji' Hjorleifson can't actually recall his first day on skis.
Raised in Canmore in Canada's Rocky Mountains Hoji honed his skills in the provincial ski racing program. "We competed as a fairly high level," Eric recalls, "I was technically solid and trying my best, but racing was really hard. However, there was a whole crew of us in and around Banff who loved to ski but didn't necessarily like racing."
Hjorleifson's talent soon led to film work, where some jaw-dropping pillow line and spine riding footage scored major segments in Matchstick Productions' award-winning movies and has developed an incredibly fast, fluid style that makes moving down massive mountain faces look effortless.
Films are moving away from pure descents, though. "I've been ski touring since I was 17, and it's really the best way to access "pillow lines" which have become the most popular form of adventure skiing," he says. Often found in avalanche runouts or steep creek gulches, pillow lines are massively covered 'rock mushrooms' and the idea is to jump from one 'pillow' (massive, snow covered rocks) to the next.
Hoji says, "Pillow lines require a lot of thought to ski well because you have to try and estimate how fast you need to go, how to safely stomp the landing, where to land on the next pillow, and ski the whole line smoothly. The beauty of ski touring is that you can skin up and study micro features in the terrain." Whether viewed through a helmet cam or filmed from below, these drops make for dramatic footage. In the future, Hjorleifson sees himself pushing farther into the backcountry. Last May, he was part of a large crew that camped on the Freshfield Icefield in Banff National Park; skiing deep winter powder and exploring a massive, never skied before range of mountains.