Filmmaker Eric Iberg has dreamed about a particular ski trip since he began making ski movies years ago. This year, circumstances aligned, and Iberg packed up his camera gear, enlisted skiers Henrik Harlaut -- who just won a gold medal in Big Air and a silver in Slopestyle at X Games Aspen -- as well as Phil Casabon and Paul Bergeron and hit the road to Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, and beyond.
Named the Inspired Demo Tour, Iberg's hit-list is the opposite of the usual far-flung destinations where pro skiers often congregate. The goal is to highlight small ski communities and share the motivation and success of pro skiers with these local areas.
The tour, which began on Dec. 18 at Sugarloaf, Maine, will visit 50 small ski hills in 66 days, and wrap up on Feb. 20 at South Dakota's Terry Peak.
"The demo tour concept has been something that I have wanted to do since the twin tip revolution started, and I got into ski filmmaking," said Iberg, who hails from Minnesota. "I can only imagine how excited I would have been if big name pro skiers came to my hill growing up. So, I figured kids nowadays would be stoked as well if these guys just showed up at their little hills and skied."
"There are a lot of people skiing with us at every stop, the kids are so stoked we are coming by," said Phil Casabon, speaking from the road in Ohio. "That's the goal: None of them would have expected us to show up. These places don't get the love from pro skiers, but we wanted to come back to the roots -- a lot of us got our start at ski hills like these -- and show the kids what dedication can get you."
Henrik Harlaut, who left the tour for six days to compete in the X Games in Aspen, concurs. "The stoke and smiles on the kids faces are something I've never seen before; it's even more than at a contest or film premiere. I think it's one of the coolest experiences that a skier can have," Harlaut said.
Such a jam-packed tour means that the crew often only gets to spend about a day at each area before hitting the road in their van for the next ski hill. Still, despite the short visits, the tour is making an impression on more than just local kids in the park.
"It's great to see interest in our resort from professional freeskiers, and in any small resort really," said Tiffany Cook, marketing manager of New York's Peek'n Peak Resort, where the tour stopped on Jan. 18. "We have a lot to offer here, and we really focus on our terrain parks and designing unique features that sometimes aren't seen at larger resorts. Kids were really excited to come out and gain inspiration from these athletes they see as role models."
In addition to the athlete blogs, Iberg's company, Inspired Media, will be releasing multiple edits from the trip, as well as 11 short Inspired TV episodes over the next year, with one from each state.