I first saw Pollard on skis in Propaganda, I know he dates back further, but the segment in this movie, I believe, paved the way for his unique style in the ski world. Flow, solid low rotational flow. He would do every trick slowly as if he had cheated gravity and all the time the world to float out that spin. I think about his 180 safety’s and Rodeos, wide legged and grabbed solidly. When most people seemed concerned putting their mark in on competition wins, I always sensed that he was in his own ski world, with his own buddies, skiing where he wanted to be skiing, and doing it the way he wanted to do it.
Pollard has been in Freeskiing, truly, since the beginning of it all. Remarkably, he’s still here and still contributing heavy to the future of it all. Whether you talk about his design work on skis (which he’s been on Line probably longer than any other athlete has been on a brand in the ski world), his help in creating Nimbus Independent, or the long standing segments he’s put out, he truly is a full blown legend in the sport.
AD: So, speaking of being with Line for a long time, I remember seeing you on ski boards along with skis both of them being line in some of the first Freeski movies. How long has it been? Do you have any stake in the company?
EP: It’s been a very long time. I got my first pair, and actually, one of THE first pairs of Line twin tip skis in the winter of 1998. I was 14 or 15 years old. I don’t have any stake in the company. It’s been a hell of a time.
AD: Over the years, you have helped to create one ski design after another with line. Is there one ski that sticks out in your mind that was more revolutionary to its time, that you think marked a changed in the Freeski world?
EP: The 130mm waist ski that we called the Prophet 130 was a ski I feel had a major impact. It was totally different. So much so, that I remember most people saying that it was too wide to land off cliffs, and that sort of thing. However, after a couple of years, almost every company in the ski world had an equivalent design in their own line of skis. I think that ski helped break skiing free from it’s obsession with a particular shape, flex, and mounting point that had been employed for aeons.
AD: You were one of the first people skiing without poles, and you definitely were one of the first in the back country. Can you give us an idea of your feeling towards poles at the time?
EP: When I grew up, nobody made twin tip skis. There was nothing to be professional at, no Olympic event. So, I was just skiing around, translating maneuvers from snowboards to skis. Butters, rodeos, nose presses. Skiing backwards, trying stuff out. Nothing had been done yet, every day was something new. A nollie, a half cab off a cat track, ground up creation. I was crazy influenced by snowboarding. Most of my crew were snowboarders, and I had been brought up in that world. As a result, I felt that I didn’t really need poles. The only two skiers that I looked up to were Josh Frazier and Griffin Cummings, and neither of them used poles.
AD: And you use them now, Whats the reasoning for that?
EP: Yes, I use poles now. I was skiing without poles prior to 98, on directional skis, doing 180s and 5s on tables. It was such a different time. However, things changed in 98. When I began to compete in events like the US Open, I was forced to use poles. In fact, I had to borrow poles from a friend for the US Open, and the poles were crazy long. For the first few years that I was skiing, I competed a lot, and to do that, I had to use poles. When I was done competing, low and behold, and had taken a liking to the pointy things.
AD: What was the Idea of “Idea”. It was such a different movie for the times, I want to know the background to creating it, the thoughts that all of you had going into it
EP: I just wanted more creative control. I had bought a 16mm camera when I was about 17 or so, and had been creating segments and parts for the likes of MSP and PBP with my own filmer for the seasons leading up to Idea. It was a cool program, I got to do my thing, and be part of their thing at the same time. The problem was, I didn't really identify with the films I was part of. It was so much about hucking, and landing flat. It wasn’t the right fit for me. I thought the two most like minded skiers of that time were Andy and Pep, and I wanted to work exclusively with them on a project. Eric Iberg produced the film, and dealt with a lot of the aspects of making a movie that are not very fun. That left me with a bunch of 16mm film, and a vision to bring to life. The film was just a snapshot of our collective approach to skiing. Andy and Pep are two of the strongest and most influential skiers of their time. To be able to ski with them for an entire winter was amazing. My ambitions extended a bit beyond skiing in front of the lens. "Idea" was the first film I was given the license to actually shoot, direct, and edit the entire movie.
AD: Is there a ski movie, in particular, that you believe all the youth in the sport should see at least once? With all the segments you’ve put out, which one would you say your most proud of?
EP: Man, that is a good question. I always liked working with other skiers, to create a segment in a movie together. Instead of a solo part. I think our film En Route Nomads was a good example of Pep, Andy, Chris and myself working together to capture out style of skiing.
AD: It seems that you’ve always had a very tightly knit crew, Nimbus Independent. How did you guys all come together to form this film production and why?
EP: We formed Nimbus based on the friendships that were forged in the making of the Idea. We just wanted to keep skiing together, and collaborating to capture a different brand of skiing. Personally, I wanted to continue to explore different ways of making ski films. At the same time, the way of distributing films was beginning to change. Crazy to think back to it now, but we had the very first online ski movies, even before Youtube was a thing. For a decade, we were like a band. From one adventure to the next. Some of the best years of my life. We had some help from my good friend Gary Winberg. He really sorted us out, and was able to help get Nimbus off the ground.
AD: Whats life look like right now, I understand you have a daughter, maybe two? Hows the transition into fatherhood from a life on the road skiing?
EP: Life is amazing. I’m a lucky bastard Ahmet, that much I can tell you. This is my 20th year as a professional skier. I’m so fortunate. There have been some really difficult times, bad injuries, friends who passed, but I have kept the love for a sport that has treated me well. It’s a wild transition from traveling non stop, to being a daddy. I have two young daughters. Every cliche about being a dad comes to mind when I think of how to articulate my feelings. Just know, life is good.
AD: How do you see that skiing has changed over your long lasting career? Is there anything in particular you wish you could change back to make it more like the past?
EP: Is there anything I would change? Yes, no, yes, no, maybe, I don’t know. Skiing has changed. Largely for the better. Trends come and go. The next generation will shape skiing into something different, and the generation after that into something else. For that I’m thankful. Innovation is key.
AD: I dont see you leaving the ski world anytime soon, unless I’m mistaken. What do you have in mind for the future.
EP: Films, art, design work. Those are the mediums I’ve been working in. I wanted twin tips for years and years before they were “invented". Being a 10 year old kid with a vision of what I needed, but that no ski company made, is something that shaped my psyche. During all my years of skiing, I put equal effort into making better tools. Be that skis, outerwear, goggles, accessories, whatever. There is always a way to improve your equipment. I’ve dedicated a large amount of my effort towards designing better ski gear. I plan to do more.
AD: Some wise words for the kids growing up in Freeskiing?
Be true to yourself. Ride the way you want to. Don’t go full tunnel vision on becoming a professional skier. There are so many paths to take, and skiing can be a massive part of your life no matter your line of work. I’ve met so many people who carved out ski centric lives. Dream
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