Duncan's been known in the ski scene before he could talk, well at least it seemed like that. I met him when he was around 11. He was a shy, quiet, and absolutely murderous on skis. Since then he's put together countless Level 1 segments, and has been working alongside "The Bigger Picture" boys to capture some of the smoothest backcountry skiing to date. His style is something unique in pow making it that much more special.
Duncan definitely talks more than he used to, but not as much as most us loudmouth skiers, it seems as though he lets his skiing talk for him instead. The silent assassin is the most dangerous of all.
AD: That edit was fly man, Everything was as clean as can be, and the features you find to ski seem to always be so doppppe! Tell us what a typical day looks like when you are going out to a new spot to find these type of lines.
DA: Thanks man! Typically we're waking before dawn, eating a quick breakfast and getting on the sleds as early as possible. From there it varies depending on how well we know the zone and what the snow/avalanche conditions will allow. Some days are pure exploration and the skis never come off the rack. Some days we have a set plan and know what we’re going to hit, if we can double to the top or have to hike, what the risks are, etc. It takes a lot of scouting to figure out most zones, so there tends to be a healthy mix of route-finding, digging out sleds, and skiing.
AD: I feel like everyones always got their own favorite trick/Line in a ski edit they put out. What would you say is yours in this and can we get a little story about that particular one?
DA: I guess the stand out moment for me was the natural take off 7 blunt. I was with the brothers Logan (Chris and Sean) and Mike King. We had built a jump the day before on a different part of the glacier but it didn’t get light till the afternoon. For the morning we scoped out a playful-looking zone with a lot of rollers and wind-lips and half-buried cliffs. The feature I picked out looked fairly benign from afar but had a nice flat takeoff with a short but steep landing. It’s hard to beat those highly trick-able natural features, where nothing has to be shaped. Just eye it up and send it.
AD: The sw dub 9 is one of the more unique ways of throwing that trick that I’ve seen. Was that a hold my beer and watch this, some premeditation, or something you’ve thrown before?
DA: I’d done switch 9s on park jumps that had some funky wobbles to them, but never so pronounced or belly down. I tried quite a few sw 9s on that jump, starting with a switch bio, but something about the double grab and being on a step-down morphed it into that axis. Wish I could’ve landed er a bit cleaner though. Next year!
AD: Who was it that you were skiing around for a lot of the 2017 season?
DA: I split my time filming with Faction and the Big Picture, two very different entities. The Big Pic crew was small: the Logan brothers, P-White, Mike King and Rainville. Faction’s team is large and diverse, spearheaded by filmer/director Etienne Merel. I was in Montana with Delorme, Tim McChesney, Arnaud Rougier, and Jeff Cricco snapping photos. Utah with Johnny Collinson and Sam Anthamatten. And Verbier with almost the entire Faction crew.
AD: If that was 2017, what the hell do you have in store for us for 2018?
DA: Last season was mellower for me filming wise. The snow was so good where I was living in Montana that it was hard to find a reason to leave. I did a couple trips that were pure soul-shredding excursions, no cameras but iPhones and GoPros and a way bigger crew than you’d normally go out and film with. Which was a blast. But I did film with Faction for a project that will drop this fall, and got on with a Level 1 crew in BC late in the season.
AD: You have been, basically, strictly powder skiing for a few years now, but you were a nasty competitive pipe skier as well, do you see how any of that pipe skiing may have helped you adapt to the Powder side of things?
DA: I think every type of skiing informs every other, so yes. Being a good pipe skier demands a crazy amount of edge control. Skiing powder does as well, in a more subtle way. You need to be very balanced and restrained in the way you pressure the ski so you don’t just hook up and tomahawk. Another factor is the mental game. Skiing an icy halfpipe is so gnarly and dangerous that it makes jumping off a cliff into powder seem mellow. Of course the backcountry is in many ways more inherently dangerous than a halfpipe could ever be, but it’s a different kind of risk.
AD: So, I feel like you’ve always been one of those guys that doesn’t necessarily showcase themselves and just let the skiing do the talking for ya. Is it possible that we can see a Duncan Adams movie anytime, or do you have any projects you’d like to do in the future?
DA: Yeah, I’ve never been much of a self promoter so it’s sort of, by default, that my skiing speaks for itself. That has its downside when there are so many good skiers out there, many of whom are more willing to seek the spotlight. But it’s great—I love the variety of personalities that skiing attracts. We need our Tanner Halls of the industry as well as our Candide Thovexes.
I’d love to do a movie if there was ever the budget. Something that would include as many skiers I’ve been influenced by as possible, whether they’re still skiing professionally or not. Get all the buddies involved and have total creative control. Would be a dream! For now though, I’m more than stoked to keep filming with Faction and Level 1. It’s a blessing to have such rad crews to go into the mountains with.