By Zack Giffin, 19 November 2012

  • DATE

    19 November 2012


    Zack Giffin


    Skiing & Snowboarding

Festivus – a non religious celebration during the Christmas/Winter Solstice time.

Every year around Christmas, everyone in my family makes time for skiing with each other. It is partly because it’s the time of year and partly because most of us already spend any spare time we have in the winter on snow, but mostly because on the mountain is the one place we can all connect without making it feel like they're sacrificing something to be there. This is the one time of the year that I forget my never-ending quest to get gnarly, chill on my game plan, and make the purpose of the day to meet my mom at the bottom.

The time I spend riding the lifts with my mother is sacred to me. She has a style that is all her own. With her early 90’s former-rental equipment (that she still thinks of as brand new), LL Bean book bag with broken zippers and lunch for 12, and fogged prescription sunglasses, and a boeri helmet with one ear flap broken so the padding sticks out like a hound dog's ear.

She’ll ride next to me and when I point out my lines from previous runs she will groan and make disbelieving noises while looking at the wrong line. When I point out the real one, she will say something like “I wish you could just let me think you were doing reasonable things”. After she has decided that I must want to ski on my own, she will relocate herself to the tap room to participate in her next favorite ski hill activity: talking to young people at the bar so she can later tell me that she met my friends. 

Skiing together is as much of a tradition for my family as seeing the Nutcracker or singing carols is to other families. And that's why I feel bad; this year the snow happened to be so good, and then the sun came out, and it was stable. What I’m really trying to say is, I’m really sorry mom. I know you understand that I just needed to ski with my friends and make this movie but I promise we can rip together soon.

Zack Giffin

Gold Hill, CO

Zack Giffin grew up skiing and playing soccer with two brothers in the small mining town of Gold Hill, Colorado. Years of ski trips and movie projects with brothers Jeff and Sam lead to involvement and eventual leadership of Right On Brother Productions, a film company now headed by Sam.

In 2003, Zack and Sam moved to Mt. Baker Washington to work in the terrain park and pursue film making in the Pacific North West, where they both still live. A close relationship with friend and photographer Grant Gunderson created many travel opportunities and photos published. Called one of Washington’s “Alpine Icons” by Ski Washington Magazine, Zack has been featured in every major ski magazine, and he has done video projects for ESPN, Skiing and Powder magazine.

These days you can find Zack traveling the winters in a 112 square foot Tiny House he built in the fall of 2011, or in a remote part of British Columbia filming for the upcoming Sweetgrass Productions release “Valhalla.”​

Skiing & Snowboarding