The backyard project

Moonlight Backyard Project

[small]The backyard project, by Justin Lamoureux.[/small]

Our society deems whatever we have is never good enough. Marketing is essentially built on this concept. Action sports offer this is in droves. Magazines and videos are filled with far off and exotic destinations.

You surf in California? You should head to Hawaii. You’re from Hawaii? You need to head to Indonesia. You skateboard in Vancouver, head to California, then Barcelona, then Australia. Deeper and further, something is better over there. Biking, climbing, kayaking, kiteboarding, skiing, snowboarding… We’re all fed by the industry that somewhere else is better. We’re fed a dream that is unrealistic to the masses. Helicopters filming helicopters? Multi-month long travelling trips? The industry has glorified the unattainable.

I’ve lived in both Squamish and Whistler for 12 years, and while it could be called the hub of the winter sports industry, even here “you need to head to Alaska. Or maybe Europe”. We have all forgotten what can lie in the backyard.

The backyard project splitboardEvery year, nearly the whole snow industry drives up the sea to sky highway en-route to ride the Whistler backcountry. Snowmobiles are the primary mode of transportation and they make short work of travelling the backcountry. Having lived here for a long while, we now go out with a plan of what cliffs to hit and what lines we want to ride again. It’s like the backcountry is an extension of the ski hill. Every mountain has been ridden, every cliff has been shot, and every jump filmed. Or have they?

I step out of my house in Squamish and every day I’m greeted by mountains. Mountains in every direction. About 30 of them can be seen right from my backyard. I’ve never met anyone who’s ridden them all. You can’t snowmobile to the top. Some are just below treeline and don’t seem like “plumb” lines. You have to find your way through the maze of logging roads, learn the local conditions and slog and climb your way to the top. But the payoff is the unknown. It’s being skunked for days then finally unlocking a mountain and scoring. It’s about finding ‘Little Alaska’ or the “Chuting Gallery” which are hiding in plain sight. It’s the dream that everyone can pursue, but very few do as it’s only the backyard and obviously it’s better somewhere else.

This is a project to find what really does lie around the corner. Hopefully inspire others to follow suite. Obviously, my locale has some pretty amazing mountains but this concept could even be done (albeit on a smaller scale), for example, at my parent’s house in Quebec. This can be done anywhere. Walk out the door, pick mountain, hill (whatever) and ride a line you’ve never ridden. You might say it sucks but until you go, you won’t know.

Video Teaser #1:

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