From the beginning of the Freeskiing world that I know, Eric Pollard was there. From that beginning he was skiing in a completely unique way from those around him. He stood out amongst a crowd of guys that already, uniquely, stood out from one another. The way he approached skiing was his best tool to stick out. He grabbed his skis differently than the rest. That iconic, wide legged safety. Then, when he started skiing powder switch, wow. Smooth and carefree, made it look easy in a time that this was not an easy thing to do. A persons style Is a projection of themselves, and Pollards personality is heavily shown through his skiing. "Drawn From Here" does a great job to show the connection between it all!
Read some wise words from the man himself below, and Enjoy the hell out of his new movie Now!
AD: When you initially came up with the idea of creating this multi year project I’m sure the idea changed throughout the span of time with the injury you had. Over that span of time, how did you see the direction change from the original concept to what it became, Or, did you guys stick to your grounds from beginning to end??
EP: I began working on this project in 2016/17. Throughout this project, I worked on a lot of other projects at the same time, so I was balancing what was essentially a passion project in the form of this film and book with other work. The idea of the project was to document how interrelated the media I work in is to one another. Design. Product development. Skiing. Art. Film. I just began capturing elements of what I typically work on in a given winter. So instead of just filming skiing, I was focusing on shooting the design work I was doing with the Dakine outerwear design team, and the skis I was making with the engineers at Line, and the graphics I was making, and pretty much just showing my process and where I was pulling from. I worked on it for 3 winter seasons in earnest, and throughout the period the film direction stayed consistent, however there were lot of other aspects that evolved over the time we worked on the film. Most of all, it was a huge amount of exploration in the form of editing. Basically just trying to find a way to tie together the concepts we had captured into a cohesive story arc.
AD: I have to ask about the Russian injury, So so gnarly man. You were in that hospital for so long. couple questions about it. How did they care for you in that hospital? What was the food like? What kept you from going insane while laying in that bed? Lastly, I know you have a wife, but for all of us single thirsty guys, were there some James Bondesque beautiful Nurses that would make it, well, not so bad to be layed up in Russia?
EP: Ha, good questions. My care was pretty much institutional from Russia to Germany to the USA. Russia was pretty buck wild as you could likely imagine. The food was straight up gross. Funny enough, the majority of my nurses had quite a few laps around the sun to their names, what I mean to say is that they were older. Honestly, I think that made it a bit easier. It’s crazy how fast modesty and dignity are the first things to go out the window when you are in the hospital. Straight up no undies and a open backed “gown" for a couple months. I was the recipient of some sponge baths from a fräulein or two.
AD: In the extreme sport world we live in, most of us pull some inspiration from across the spectrum in a different sport. Is there a certain guy from another sport that you pay attention to every time they drop something new, due to their ideals and style of content?
EP: No. There is not one individual that I think of. There are certainly many many people who have been huge for me. When I was young Deven Walsh and Peter Line were the two snowboarders who I looked to. Their style, the features they chose to ride were huge for me. On the ski side of things, Griffin and Frazier were the two kids who were challenging the status quo in a way that I was just blown away by. But as you can imagine, there are a grip of surfers, film makers, artists, musicians, designers, writers and skiers that I pull from on the regular.
AD: You’ve been on Line for an incredibly long time. That kind of Loyalty (Coming from both sides, sponsor and rider) is a rare instance nowadays. I think people can learn a lot by how you work with the companies. What do you see as the importance of sticking with a company, and some advice for skiers on how to best make yourself an asset to a company
EP: Another good question. It’s not easy. Like any relationship, you have to work at it. My advice would be to make sure you are doing something you are passionate about. You have to have to believe in something. Then find a way to communicate your vision to the decision makers at the company you are working with. If they are down, then you know you can work together. It wasn’t always easy at Line Skis. It took a lot of convincing to get people behind my approach and my ideas.
My journey in skiing has evolved a lot over time with Line and Dakine. It’s been paramount for me to continue to ski a way that I enjoy, as opposed to a way that I once enjoyed. I started as a park, pipe, and rail guy who skied without poles. I still love that world, but it’s not who I am now. It certainly shaped who I am now, but I’m no longer that guy. I got interested in other aspects of skiing. For example, at 18 I went on a trip to the Lyngen Alps in Norway, that changed my whole perspective on shit. I just got way into natural terrain, fresh snow, and trying to push myself in that arena. If you are the guy who still just wants to ride pipe day in and day out, then do that. Skiing is one of those things that you can truly say “to each their own”. Just make sure you can own your own way. If you make money as a skier, you are at risk of trapping yourself. I see a lot of pros who find that they are stuck perpetuating an image they were known for once upon a time, but that they no longer identify with. It’s a bad scene if they are still doing it years past when it has expired as their actual preferred mode. That’s tricky to navigate. I’ve certainly taken it head on a few times over the years, and it usually means you have to give up some of the things that you have built in order to rebuild. It’s worth it though.
AD: I’ve always recognized you as a visionary, I’d love to hear your opinion on how the media aspect of skiing has changed over your career. Are we doomed in the Low attention span, 5 second actions of like, swipe, forget. Or is there some light at the end of the tunnel. Where do you see media going to in the future for us.
EP: I don’t think we are doomed. I could be wrong, but my take is that we are just reacting to what is newly available to us. These phones are nuts, addictive as hell. I’m not sure how to integrate it into my life with the appropriate amount of constraint necessary yet. The pendulum typically swings from one extreme to the next. From hour long ski films to 5 second clips.
Think about the music, color and clothing of the 70s to that of the 80s. At some point, I think we will acclimate, and find a balance of sorts. Then something else will likely come along, disrupt and change the equation again. The beauty is that if you are feeling that attention spans are too short, then for sure others are feeling it too. That doesn’t mean you can just start a revolution, but it does mean that you are recognizing something in the content of today, and that you can offer up something different instead of more of the same.
AD: What do we get to look forward to from you in the near future?
EP: Skiing is the basis, the reason, the inspiration for everything I do. My interest in design, art and film demand a great deal of my focus, time and energy. To a large degree that means that I’m less focused on being a professional skier in the traditional sense. That’s actually nothing new. For the last decade plus, I’ve basically been working a desk job for 8 months of the year. Since 2006, from May through December I work at a desk designing skis, outerwear, gloves, goggles, helmets, cutting films, and that sort of thing. The other 4 months of the year I go skiing, and capture it. The 4 months is what gives me the inspiration I need to go back to the office to iterate forward, and continue to offer up something new. It’s a nice cycle, and I hope I can continue to live in that way.