1. Hola Rafael! Please, tell us about your progression as a snowboarder, from your first days until today.
My progression as a snowboarder was fueled by exploration of going beyond what my eyes can see. My last year of high-school when I was 18 I decided to give it a go while I was visiting my family in Chile. Ever since I immediately fell in love with the mountains and the fulfillment they gave me. Climbing them is an adventure of its own kind, not so much conquering a peak but achieving a mental and physical goal. In the last 4 years I have been doing double season between Chile, the USA and other parts of the world. I have been focusing more and more on expedition snowboarding in remote ranges around the world.
2. Who is behind the Connections Movement?
I created Connections Movement near the end of 2015, where I decided to combine all my passions. I am the producer, director and do it all for right now, I do plan on building it to become a sort of interactive platform where people can get together and share their passions directly around the environment of some sorts.
“My inspiration comes from nature. It has always been the driving force behind everything I do. There’s not much I want to show the world but more so show what the world has to offer and how we should conserve it.”
While at the same time creating mountain driven, culturally infused and environmentally educating documentaries around the entire globe. A no borders ideology as the mountains, cultures and environments don’t follow political boundaries.
3. What is the main reason that drove you to dive into this project?
Well there are many reasons but the main one being to give something back to the community and hopefully inspire/motivate people to get out there and experience a beautiful adventure of their own. As well as bringing more environmental and cultural topics into the action sports industry however I can.
“From the filming side of things, it has been tough getting snowboarding shots when you spend days just getting to basecamp and then riding big lines in extremely exposed terrain and location.”
4. Where does your inspiration come from? What do you want to show the world?
My inspiration comes from nature. It has always been the driving force behind everything I do. There’s not much I want to show the world but more so show what the world has to offer and how we should conserve it.
5. We’re sure there’s a lot of hard work behind all this. What are the most significant obstacles you have found on your way?
From the production side of things it has been a nightmare for me, since I’ve been doing it all while finishing my degrees at the university. But raising capital for production, legal issues, not knowing what the hell I am doing on the business side and completion. It’s crucial to complete a project, I am aiming to go for a high quality post-production level. It’s the small touches that make everything come together. Creating this documentary has been like putting a white puzzle without edges together haha…
From the filming side of things, it has been tough getting snowboarding shots when you spend days just getting to basecamp and then riding big lines in extremely exposed terrain and location. You end up spending an average of a couple days to get a 30 second shot, on average. Especially since it’s all human powered. But at the end of the day or in this case 3+ years I will be happy to share the documentary with anyone interested in watching.
“The logistical work for me isn’t an issue when it comes to expeditions, my thought process is just go for it and adapt to the situation. Obviously within reason of survival. Weather and horrible avalanche cycles have been tough.”
6. How did the industry react to a project like yours? Did you feel backed?
We all know that this industry is a tough one, you don’t do these kinds of projects on a grassroots level to become famous or become rich. If anything, it sort of sucks the passion out of you during the process but repays you heavily once you get to share it with your friends, family and strangers. I’m not sure how it is supposed to feel being backed by the industry but I do appreciate all the support I have received from companies, magazines and especially the people who love the mountains.
“Remoteness in all these locations makes you feel like you are truly alone, even for a rescue the chances of survival depend fully on your skills and the skills of your crew.”
7. A project like this requires a great deal of logistic work. In which country has it been more difficult?
The logistical work for me isn’t an issue when it comes to expeditions, my thought process is just go for it and adapt to the situation. Obviously within reason of survival. Weather and horrible avalanche cycles have been tough. We didn’t have stable snow in Hokkaido, British Columbia, Kyrgyzstan, or the Yukon Territory. I witnessed many storms of winds up to 220 kmph, avalanches with crowns going deep as 4-5m, seracs the size of buildings falling and more natural shifts. In the Andes and Patagonia the snow is much more stable yet you have extreme weather. Winds up to 240 kmph and pushing in the 300kmph with gusts in the Andes where we are going. Patagonia the weather flips in hours where you must always be on your toes.
Remoteness in all these locations makes you feel like you are truly alone, even for a rescue the chances of survival depend fully on your skills and the skills of your crew.
8. How have local people reacted to your work?
Most locals have no idea why we are there with our sliding on snow gear. Between seasons, during the shed cycle of the mountains. Yet once we make it out of our expedition we show our action and mountain shots and they try to understand or think we are crazy. Yet they appreciate that they have an opportunity to have a voice through the film and that there is interest in their culture and environment.
9. What have you produced up to now? What will we be seeing in the near future?
Once this opening documentary is out “Connections Film”, I plan on creating much more and with a shorter time period. Short documentaries with similar concepts just in different locations. Currently planning on creating a short series of 5 minute videos in ranges all around the world, hopefully six of them will be produced this coming June-August of 2018… right before the documentary is premiered.
At the end of the day I’m just going with the flow, trying to explore as much as possible and contribute as much as I can in my ways.
10. When will we be able to see the final result?
September 2018 will commence the premiers. I am still trying to figure out an online way of showing it to everyone around the world for their enjoyment.
For now you can stay tuned on Instagram and facebook
11. Who would you like to thank?
I’d personally like to thank everyone who has taken interest in this project. My crew which consists of friends who are talented filmers, photographers, editors, musicians and athletes. My personal sponsors and project sponsors for trusting the vision; Spark R&D, Xdubai, Osprey Packs, Gordini Gloves, JayBird Sport and many more.
Words: David Pérez
Photo & Video: Alvaro Zurita | Jasper Gibson | Rafael Pease | Aerial Media | Connections Movement | Eric Parker | Nathan Starzynski | Peter Wojnar | ReelMotion / Jesse Levine | Seth Gillis | Nelson
Translation: Elena G. de Murillo