Chasing 300 Project
For the majority of skiers, 100 days a year seems like an incredible season. For those with a few screws loose, 200 seems like a good amount of sliding for the year. Well Kevin and Kevin (K2) hope to set out for an insane season and are chasing 300 days on snow from November to November. While some question their snow addiction - saying they will "get burnt out" - the Kevins just smile, laugh and say bring it on. Freezing cold, snowing, blowing, flat light, the end of the day is usually a smile, a beer and a "hell year, we got to ski today!"
Skiing 300 (or more) days in a season has been done before - so what makes this different, or special, or worthy of being filmed? Part of it is the joy of skiing - and the telling of the story of an endless winter. 2 guys who's first love is sliding on snow and the story of chasing the high that comes along with an epic day amongst the best of friends (whom they just met on the lift). Some of it is showing what it takes to get to a 300 day season. not all days will be pure joy on the hill - skiing through sickness (cough - hung over) and possibly injury and the events in life that just happen that can easily prevent achieving this goal.
It's also a story in progress. The K2 crew is fairly new to the ski scene. Join them on the journey of pushing their limits and becoming better skiers. Day 300 will be totally different than day 1. They will be pushed by their coaches, teammates and competitors on course - and pushed by all their ski brothers and sisters to send it on big pow days - it's an adventure that the modern ski film has lacked. Sure, they might not be sending the sickest lines in AK (this season) but the love and culture of skiing is ingrained in them and they hope to share the love and get people fired up to shred.
To state the obvious - a paralyzed skier and a blind skier have some extra obstacles to overcome. Skiing is a little different, traveling is a little different, and partying is a little different. But, while the differences will be shown - it's the similarities and the sharing of the love of skiing that they hope to show the most. There is no pity party here, just 2 guys who love to slide on snow, push themselves to be better skiers tomorrow than they were today.
Meet the Boys
Kevin Burton was an Arabic linguist in the United States Navy, including tours to Iraq and Kuwait, when in 2008 he was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease - retinitis pigmentosa and was medically retired in February of 2011. Shortly after retirement, Burton attended the US Blind Athletes winter ski clinic in Breckenridge, Colorado and was introduced to skiing for the first time. As soon as his skis touched the snow, he knew that skiing was something he was meant to do. In March of 2012 he was recruited to start training with the US Paralympic Nordic Program with the aim of making the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.
Burton was able to secure multiple US national championships in visually impaired cross country skiing and biathlon as well as multiple World Cup medals. He competed at the 2014 Paralympic Games with finishes ranging from 9th to 16th place.
Following the Games, Burton made the switch to Alpine racing, moved to Aspen, CO and joined the AVSC Adaptive Team. Since that time, his love for skiing has only grown. Burton skis every day with very few exceptions, he mainly uses his racing guide, Chris Tatsuno, or his teammate Kevin Mather (yes a monoskier) as his guides but has been known to use anyone who is on the hill and willing, even if he has never met them before, just so he can get on the snow.
Kevin Mather worked in the real estate world and was a competitive triathlete. In 2009 while on a training ride for an ironman he was hit by a truck traveling at over 60 mph. This left Mather paralyzed from the waist down. The first year was an intense struggle, and some days the struggle is still present - but in 2012 he competed and earned 2nd place in the Ironman world championship in Kona, Hawaii.
Mather grew up going to the local resorts around Southern California skiing and snowboarding. After his injury he didn't think dealing with the snow and challenges of mountain towns would be worth it. This changed when he went to an adaptive camp at Mammoth Mountain - sliding on snow felt like home - and the inconveniences faded to the background. He now feels more at home in his monoski than his wheelchair and loves the challenge of getting in a bar down 2 flights of stairs.
For Mather skiing is all about fun. There are so many awesome things about skiing - but what keeps it fresh for him is knowing that every day he goes out, he's going to laugh, smile and have a great time. It can be heli-skiing in Chile, or ripping the flattest bunny hill on the mountain, sliding on snow breeds smiles and friendships - and he's always in for that.