Dean Bercovitch | Q&A
11.05.2017 Whistler, BC
Big thanks to Vince Emond and the people at Ski Addiction in Whistler for sharing this footage of Dean with Slvsh! We recently introduced filmer & location tagging on Slapp, and this is our first collaboration celebrating it. #CreateAndEnjoy
Hey Dean! How’s it going? Where are you at these days and what did you get up to this summer?
Hey man. Things are great! I’m always in Whistler for the shoulder seasons if I can be!
Summer... Feels so long away already! I was lucky enough to get a couple of weeks in coaching with Momentum. Always sick to be riding the Whistler glacier in the summer with the kids and get some skiing in. Before and after that I mainly chilled with friends and caught up after a super deep winter. Working with athletes on tramps has always been something I enjoy doing, so I have a part time job coaching freestyle tramp pretty much year round, summer included!
Tell us about Ski Addiction in Whistler.
Ski Addiction is a company based on helping people ski better. They make tramp training skis and also are producing tutorials on how to use them. Moving into this winter, they will be making on snow tutorials as well. Since about August I’ve been helping them by coaching in most of the tutorials. I think the videos will be useful for tons of kids who can’t afford coaching but want to keep progressing. If nothing else they can get a good idea for what the different tricks are without all the hoops of the coaching world. We all know how expensive the whole ski contest thing can be. I’ve been about trying to keep it possible for the upcoming kids to make it happen without coaching, when i can.
How old were you when you began skiing? How did you manage to overcome some of those financial obstacles throughout the years?
I was about three years old when I first started skiing. At about five I switched to a snowboard, until around 12 years old when I followed my twin brothers footsteps. He was a mogul skier, but I started with two years of racing before switching to moguls with him at, 14 years old. All those years my father was a ski patrol and my mother was a ski instructor. So our family got free passes to the mountain we rode at, Belle Neige and Mont Tremblant, leaving financial space to join a team. From 14 to 19 years old I skied moguls, that was when my family helped me the most to get travelling. Moguls did not show a path that would pay for itself, so I skipped town and moved to Whistler to free ride on my own.
Between working and help from friends and sponsors, the freestyle world has been tough financially, but at least it can just barely support itself! A few people along the road have really helped by giving me their time for free, helping me find sponsors, lending me money, and getting me work to support myself. Some examples: Bauston Camilleri has helped in so many ways, including getting me close to free rent so I could spend on travels, riding/filming with me, and bought a car and took Emma Whitman, Ian Hamilton, and myself on our first contest tour through the states. Rex Thomas put me on the Calgary Winsport team to train with him for a season. Jeff Fairbarn literally lent me money after barely knowing me so I could go to a contest. John Dunbar and Benji Johnstone from Bounce have become like family to me. I could keep going on with all the people that have helped in one way or another, It’s all about help!
Do you think the cost of skiing is a major deterrent for future generations of skiers? What do you think resorts, brands, and the community can do to fix that?
As long as contest skiing is what will make or break skiers, yes I think the cost will deter the future generations. Even today, I know for myself, I have to make decisions between things like owning a car and competing. It’s a financial battle, and who knows if it’ll pay itself off…
It’s probably easier said than done, but I think resorts, brands, and communities could put together travel budgets for kids. Kinda sorta like what SLVSH is doing with SLAPP, giving them a platform to perform on, that actually gives opportunities to get to events like SLVSH Cup. The way some teachers are subsidized by the government, coaches could be too! There are for sure some resorts and communities that help, but that’s just a few of the big wealthy ones from what i see...
What are your plans for the rest of the season?
I have a few things lining up. I’ll stay based in Whistler working a few shifts at Bounce and Ski Addiction. Then I also want to keep competing Big Air as much as possible. So I’m going to hit as many events as I can get budget for. Besides that I want continue pursuing the Budhies project with Ian Hamilton. So we have planned to go hit some of the classic backcountry gaps from Utah to BC. I’m really excited to shred pow with Ian all over again. We missed some trips last year, but we’re going to get it this year!
Do you see yourself competing more in the next few years? What about at the 2020 Olympics?
As long as the budget is there, yes I do see myself competing more. If Big Air makes it into the Olympics then i’ll most likely head that direction. Like I said, I need more budget. When a discipline makes it into the Olympics there tends to be more budget allocated that direction from sponsors and national teams. So if I can, I would like to go! The opportunity to travel the world more, while doing what I love to do would be so sick!
What are some personal goals you want to accomplish with your skiing?
Really I would love to be skiing hard until I die. I think that’s a big enough goal aha. But, I also have a few tricks on my mind I want to put to my feet. Getting the opportunities to put down in contest would be even better, but i’m all for just nailing the tricks at any point in time too. My most precise goal is to have a jump built to any spec’s I desire. Wouldn’t that be something!
Talk to us about the importance of the filmer / skier relationship.
Well, nowadays if you want to get seen, without making your parents broke, your best bet is social media. I think we can all agree on that. To get on social media you need to be captured by a camera. Today, a fancy camera doesn’t cut it either. Interesting and creative shots captures peoples attention just as well or better. It’s pretty easy to see why you want someone holding the camera for you right? For the gram... Duh haha.
Jokes aside, the entire industry is on social media now. And there are tons of people who want to see clean, smooth shots. Surprisingly, that’s actually super hard to get when it counts. So, having someone behind the lens that is easy going and clear about what they are going for is key. The best shoots I’ve been apart of have been good because the filmer/filmers guide the vibe. If I don’t land a trick, they’re pushing me telling me I got it. Down to keep trying with a smile on their face. Both the filmer and rider can gain from working with each other in skill, and in reputation. Vince Emond and I filmed our “Trippin in Black Park” edit about four years ago. Both of us not known at all. Pretty much after that we took our separate paths. Him in film, me in skiing. It was a great start!
What was it like being a part of the Whistler project, Magnetic?
Legendary! The Origin Designs crew set up four different evenings for the park/jump stuff, that i was apart of. Black park sunset shoot, the disaster box shoot, 7th Heaven two jump line, and the 7th Heaven hip setup. I had two main highlights. First was sessioning with Teal Harle and Evan Mceachran on the massive disaster box, it was something else. Ty Weed and the park crew made it massive! Just lining it up to land on the damn thing was so technical, let alone hucking tricks. A few firsts went down there, including some double action. Second was the 7th Heaven hip setup, it got sendy for sure, but that was my first heli shoot. That’s probably why it’s so memorable. Especially for a movie completely shot on one resort, the boys at Origin Design killed it.